Celebrating a century of inspiring St. Augustine’s art culture

Art association names main gallery, looks to future


The St. Augustine Art Association has been a mainstay in the local arts community for a century as the organization celebrated its creation 100 years to the day with a ceremony on Jan. 18.

The event took place in its newly renovated main art gallery and part of the ceremony included announcing that the gallery will be named after longtime members Diane Bradley and Bill Mayer.

Bradley is the president of the association and has held that role since 2008, while Mayer has been heavily involved for years behind the scenes helping to get the organization’s financials in order.

“It will be a lasting testimony for all that they have given to this association,” association member Phil Tutschek said.

Bradley had taught art for 30 years prior to joining the board of directors in 2004 after moving to the area.

“The two things that come to mind from the early days when Diane took over, is that they had a vision and almost everything has come to fruition,” Mayer said. “Lots of people have vision, but a lot of people don’t have action, but she had that action.”

Some of the recent developments that have taken place in the past several years include many renovations to the building’s interior and exterior.

“I’ve got tears in my eyes, because this has been such a labor of love for me,” Bradley said. “Art has been my whole life.”

Bradley thanked Kay Burtin, who served as executive director for the St. Augustine Art Association for 13 years and continues to be a valuable member of the organization’s board of directors.

“She instilled in me the love for this art association and the importance that it has to the community,” Bradley said. “Without that, I would have never understood how valuable this place is to the local artists.”

The St. Augustine Art Association is the 13th oldest continuous-operated art association in the country, but Bradley stated that they are unique in their approach.

“I know of no other art association who does what we do,” Bradley said. “We don’t jury our members in, allowing everyone to be a member of the art association and that’s what makes it a unique and wonderful place.”

According to Bradley, the majority of art associations will allow people to be members but will not allow them to show their work because they have to be chosen for that through a process. However, at the St. Augustine Art Association, a love of art is the primary criteria needed.

Bradley and Mayer had friends and family on hand at the ceremony, some of which made lengthy trips to make sure they were there for the memorable night.

A champagne toast was made, and cupcakes were enjoyed at the end of the event as those in attendance wished for another 100 years of success and inspiring the local art culture.

“Success is not created by one individual, but instead it takes a lot of willing hands,” Bradley said. “This celebration of the 100th anniversary is a tribute to all of those who came before us.”