St Augustine Art Association celebrates 90-years with Art Garden


300-50TH-ANIV-ST-AUG-ART-ASHistoric City News readers joined members of the the St. Augustine Art Association, many of North Florida’s foremost artists and patrons of the arts, as well as 10 past presidents of the organization on Friday, February 7, for a nautical-themed “Gala Galleón” to celebrate 90-years of promoting the arts in our local community.

Plans for a new Art Garden and exterior renovation of the Art Center were unveiled during the event. The garden project, designed by Marquis Halback, will become a focal point of the new citywide statuary Braille Trail. The most striking feature of the garden will be two “floating” sculptures flanking the 22 Marine Street entrance. Water gardens, a central coquina courtyard, enhanced ADA access ramps, Braille markers and other features designed to engage all of the senses will combine to create a welcoming outdoor gallery space.

“The concept for the Art Garden is based on the cycle of creativity: inspiration; exploration and creation,” said Jeremy Marquis, project manager. “Circular motifs, arches and historic materials, along with contemporary artwork, represent our Spanish heritage and a connection to the artisans of antiquity.”

Thanks to the generosity of her late parents, Bruce and Betty Bradley, Association President Diane Bradley and her husband Bill Mayer announced a $50,000 matching gift fundraising challenge for the project.

“My parents loved the Art Association and St. Augustine,” said Bradley, before an enthusiastic gala crowd. “They would be so proud to be part of a project that benefits not only the Association but the entire community. Since this will be enjoyed for generations, we hope individuals and the business community will be generous in their support.”

Following Bradley’s challenge, Nina Waters, President of the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida, announced the first donation of $10,000 from the JoAnn Crisp-Ellert Fund. “I’m sure JoAnn would have been pleased with this gift for an art garden. It’s the type of project that underscores the Community Foundation’s mission of giving back and giving forward, and we’re happy to celebrate our 50th Anniversary in this way,” said Waters.

The TOUCH St. Augustine Art Garden and exterior renovation matching gift campaign will be ongoing for 90 days. Contributions will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000. Donors will be honored in various ways through a Donor Wall and other naming opportunities. For details about the TOUCH St. Augustine Art Garden, call (904) 824-2310 or visit