St. Augustine Art Association marks 100 years


Artists and writers gathered in St. Augustine on Jan. 18, 1924, to form what they called the “The Galleon Club.” These cultural trailblazers sought to transform the historic town into a thriving arts community for wintering artists. Artist after artist started traveling south to experience what the club advertised was “like Painting in Europe.”

On Feb. 23, 2024, the St. Augustine Art Association — which became the official name in 1948 — will celebrate its 100th anniversary with the Beaux Arts Ball fundraising event at the Lightner Museum for an evening of dinner, dancing and fine art. Tickets are $150 each or $1,200 for a table of eight. Tickets can be purchased at

The Beaux Arts Ball is a nod to how the association would raise funds in the 1940s and beyond. With the help of affluent artistic families, the St. Augustine Art Association was able to form a more formal organization but needed its own space, so they put on the Beaux Arts Ball in what was then the Alcazar Hotel (now the Lightner Museum).

Otto Lightner himself hosted the event for years — the first of which is epitomized in a 1949 painting by artist Louise Shanks.

In 1954, the association opened what is now the main gallery building. With an official gathering space, the organization could finally exhibit work, host regular shows and sketch groups, and become the cultural epicenter for the vibrant and influential force for the arts that it is today.

“Celebrating such a significant and historic milestone feels surreal,” said Jennifer Flynt, executive director. “For 100 years, artists have transformed this city into a flourishing arts community and arts destination. And I believe the magic of St. Augustine has certainly inspired many artists for more than 100 years. These creative minds continue to bring such beauty and energy into our town, which adds so much to the history already here. It’s an honor to support them, and I know that for the next 100 years we’ll continue to do the same.”

Prior to the ball, the association will host a celebratory open house, 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, at 22 Marine St., St. Augustine. Meet and mingle with members and friends as the St. Augustine Art Association toasts to the next 100 years. Ticket includes one drink ticket (cash bar after ticket), sweet and savory hors d’oeuvres and complimentary champagne. Tickets are $19.24 each and can be purchased at

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