The OGUNQUIT ART ASSOCIATION

Founded 1928 The Ogunquit Art Association has played a central part in the vibrant cultural life of the southern Maine/New Hampshire seacoast for over seventy years. Founded to bring together professional artists to exhibit their work to the public and to provide an educational forum, the OAA affords artists the opportunity to display their finest work.

On September 16, 1928, a group of artists and friends met at the Perkins Cove Studio of painter Charles Woodbury to organize an art group that would exhibit fine art and provide educational programs in Ogunquit. Woodbury, a Charter/Board of Directors member of the Guild of Boston Artists, advised the new group to follow the format that had made the Guild a success. He suggested limiting the membership to painters and sculptors who worked in a limited geographic area. These members were to be selected by their peers on the basis of high professional standards. The group’s income would come from sales and annual dues from the artists and associate members. The latter were non-artists who were interested in fostering the fine arts. Woodbury, the first President, served for eleven years.

The first exhibition was held in 1929 at the Ogunquit Beach Pavilion in a room that had equal wall space for each artist. In 1936, the OAA moved its annual show to Edwin C. Perkins’ big yellow barn on Shore Road. The OAA exhibited at this “Barn Gallery of the Ogunquit Art Association” for twenty-two years. The artists also held lively auctions of their work as fund-raisers and provided programs for associate members.

 By 1958, rising rent and the general maturation of the organization prompted OAA artists and associate members to investigate building a gallery. OAA President J. “Jack” Scott Smart was the leading force in forming a non-profit organization, Barn Gallery Associates, to furnish a place for the public to see the work of local artists. John Lane and the Ogunquit Playhouse donated land at Shore Road and Bourne Lane. Artist Chris Ritter designed the structure and donated the plans. The Building Committee, chaired by painter Elyot Henderson, included OAA artists Winifred B. Baldwin, Chris Ritter, Jack Smart and David von Schlegell. The Ogunquit Art Association began to exhibit in this new Barn Gallery in 1959 and held its exhibitions and art auctions here for thirty years. BGA offered an extensive summer art education program at Barn Gallery for thirty-five years.

In 1988 the OAA, in addition to one summer exhibition at the Barn Gallery, held exhibitions in a variety of locations in southern Maine and New Hampshire. In 1993 the organization started a new Ogunquit Art Association Gallery for exhibitions and educational programs on Route 1 in the old PS Gallery space. In 1995 the OAA returned to the Barn Gallery building for the entire summer season. In 1997 the gallery became the Ogunquit Arts Collaborative Gallery. The  nonprofit OAC administers the Gallery. The OAA continues to organize and present exhibitions, programs and its famous OAA Art Auction in the Gallery at the corner of Shore Road and Bourne Lane.   ~Nancy  Davison

ABOUT THE ARTISTS 

The Ogunquit Art Association is a community of over seventy professional artists who live and work within 100 miles of Ogunquit. Some of us live in the area year round, enjoying the peace of our winter studios and drawing inspiration from the landscape and the seasons or traveling to find new places and possibilities. Others summer here bringing in new ideas and imagery from away. All have been selected by a jury of OAA artists to exhibit as painters, graphic artists, sculptors or photographers at Barn Gallery.

A few of us have been members for fifty years or more. Others joined last year. Some are at the end of long and illustrious careers. Others are just beginning.

One of the most important things about the OAA is that it is a long-lived association of professional artists that is run by the artists for themselves and for the delight of their friends and the art-loving public. Members take turns serving on the Board and on committees for the Auction, for Exhibitions and for the Open Juried Exhibition, to name a few. They plan exhibitions, hold workshops, speak at gallery talks and participate in policy decisions ranging from changing the wall color to helping to establish an independent, not-for-profit corporation the Ogunquit Arts Collaborative to own and administer the Barn Gallery itself.

Artists are generous with their time, talent and treasure supporting local charity auctions and other worthy causes, while serving on the Boards and staff of local arts organizations – visual, performing and educational.

Many have day jobs ranging from carpentry and advertising to museum directorships and teaching on every level. We work and have worked as animators, arts administrators, art historians, art directors in advertising, art conservators, art reviewers curators, illustrators, set designers and news photographers and reporters. We teach at every level from pre-school to graduate school. Our work appears in galleries worldwide, on websites and in various publications. Several of us are in Who’s Who in American Art. We are members of arts organizations ranging from the open Kittery Art Association to the National Academy of Design and the American Watercolor Society, Boston Printmakers, American Society of Media Photographers and the National Sculptors Society.   ~ Nancy Davison