St. Augustine Art Association to celebrate centennial


Nearly 100 years ago on Jan. 18, 1924, artists and writers gathered in St. Augustine 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 (STAAA) — 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.

The Beaux Arts Ball is a nod to how the association would fundraise 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 it is known as today.

“Celebrating such a significant and historic milestone feels surreal,” said Jennifer Flynt, executive director of the association. “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.”

The St. Augustine Art Association, located at 22 Marine St. in downtown St. Augustine, is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting excellence in the arts since 1924. It supports the vibrant arts community in St. Augustine and preserves its rich artistic heritage and culture.

Through exhibitions, lectures, workshops, educational programs and outreach, the association fosters a creative and accessible environment for artists of all backgrounds and skill levels. Their Permanent Collection includes works by the founding members, known as the “Lost Colony” artists.

The gallery is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 4 p.m., and admission is free.

Purchase tickets to the Beaux Arts Ball at

For more information, go to, and follow along on Facebook @StAugArtAssoc and Instagram @staugartassoc.