Our Mission

The mission of the Artists Association of Nantucket is to foster the visual arts on Nantucket. We create a vibrant arts community by promoting, supporting and encouraging the work of Nantucket artists, providing educational programs in the arts, and preserving the legacy of Nantucket artists.

AAN HISTORY

AAN was born of necessity. The art colony on island bloomed throughout the 1920s, grew into a staple of the 1930s, and faced a crisis in 1943 when the lone exhibition gallery closed. A visionary patron spearheaded the transformation of an abandoned whaling-era warehouse on Straight Wharf into a new gallery space by the summer of 1945. The core of the art scene, both artists and dedicated patrons, formed the association that year, and our dynamic mission of promoting island artists, providing art education, and collecting Nantucket’s art history insured the art colony’s future.

During the decades that followed, AAN has showcased fine art in a range from projects by school-aged students to exceptional works by professionals. The association has developed a museum-quality collection of historical island art, built and expanded its educational reach with the construction of the Visual Arts Center, and provided a kick start for many generations of artists.

As we approach our 75th year, AAN remains dedicated to supporting and promoting the visual arts and the artists of Nantucket.

1920

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1920 – The art colony’s roots can be traced to the arrival of Frank Swift Chase (center), who is supremely influential as a plein air art instructor well into the 1950s.

1930

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1930 – Illustrator Maud Stumm (left) begins the tradition of the Sidewalk Art Show, the first such event in the U.S., where artists from all walks of life gather in an annual fair.

1945

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1945 – The Kenneth Taylor Galleries open in the disused Macy Warehouse on Straight Wharf. In the fall of 1945, a core group of Chase students, Sidewalk Show regulars, and serious patrons form the association.

1950

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1950 – Within five years of the inception of AAN, the modernist 45 Group consolidates with the association’s traditionalists, and AAN assumes the entire exhibition schedule for the Kenneth Taylor Galleries, including The Little Gallery.

1960

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1960 – After many incarnations since its first trial run in 1947, the Artist-Patron plan evolves into the association’s main fundraising auction and social event, as seen in the Artist-Patron photo from the 1960’s.

1970

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1970 – A new wave of artists establish themselves during the 1960s and early 1970s, including the colorful Bushong siblings and Nantucket’s next influential art instructor, Philip Burnham Hicken, seen here in his studio.

1977

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1977 – AAN opens its first educational workshop attached to The Little Gallery building, with adult and children’s classes in ceramics, painting, and printmaking.

1988

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1988 – When the Macy Warehouse is no longer available, AAN renovates and reopens for business in The Little Gallery space on Straight Wharf.

1997

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1997 – Serious fundraising by patrons and artists results in the building of our own gallery at 19 Washington Street (shown), and by 2002, the expansion of our workshop and offices at 1 Gardner Perry Lane.

2005

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2005 – AAN celebrates its 60th anniversary with the first major exhibition from its Permanent Collection of historical island art. Members (above) gather at Gardner Perry Lane.

2015

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2015 – With the growth of classes and workshops serving the island community, AAN renovates 24 Amelia Drive as the Visual Arts Center, opening the doors to a new era of art education on Nantucket.

Contact Us

Contact our Staff:

Board of Directors 2017 - 2018:

  • Nellie O'Gara, President
  • Bruce Beni, Vice President
  • Lynn Nicholas, Vice President
  • Dan Dunlap, Treasurer
  • Susan Coyne, Clerk
  • Barbara Beinecke Spitler, Director Emeritus
  • George Thomas, Director Emeritus
  • John Lochtefeld, Director Emeritus
  • Bill Birch
  • Anne Marie Bratton
  • Elle Foley
  • Michael Gaillard
  • Nan Geschke
  • Barbara Gewirtz
  • Kathleen Hay
  • Patty Keneally
  • Jan Purdy Metcalf
  • Peter Steingraber
  • John Sylvia
  • Edward Toole
  • Don Van Dyke
  • Kathleen Van Lieu
  • Jill Vieth
  • Nancy Wheatley
  • Robin Wolpow
  • Linda Wisnewski

Board Advisors

  • Vince Calarco
  • Mary Heller
  • Illya Kagan
  • Reggie E. Levine
  • Sue Lingeman
  • Valerie Norton
  • Christine Sanford
  • Penny Scheerer
  • Daniel Sutherland
  • Eva–Maria Tausig
  • Donna Tillotson
  • William Welch

Visual Arts Center

24 Amelia Drive, Nantucket MA 02554
Telephone: 508 228 0722

All classes and workshops meet at the Visual Arts Center. Please feel free to
stop by and pick up the latest brochure or membership information.
The organization’s administrative offices are located within the Visual
Arts Center as well.

Office hours:
Monday - Friday, 9AM to 5PM

Google Map of 24 Amelia Drive, Nantucket MA 02554