St. Augustine is a melting pot of both local and national artists and their artwork. While a handful of artists are inspired by our Intracoastal ways and historical landmarks, others recognize the old city as the perfect place to showcase their art. Proof of this is evident in the dozens of art galleries scattered throughout the city as well as the many events hosted year-round where art is the focal point. In fact, when you stay with the St. Augustine Historic Inns you are just a few steps away from dozens of St. Augustine art galleries!
Whether you simply enjoy browsing art and speculating their denotation, are in search for a meaningful piece to complete your home décor or are simply looking for a gift for a friend, you will be both surprised and delighted by the eclectic pallet of talent in the Nation’s Oldest City.
A breakdown of St. Augustine art galleries.
St. Augustine art galleries can be found predominantly within the city limits of St. Augustine. In fact, there are dozens of art galleries located just steps away from most of the St. Augustine Historic Inns. It is likely that your innkeeper can tell you all about the city’s unique blend of galleries once you arrive, but for now, here is a short overview of what you’ll find behind the doors of St. Augustine art galleries.
The start of St. Augustine’s art culture.
The art culture in St. Augustine dates to the 1800s when Henry Flagler first sought out the Old City as a winter resort for his elite friends in New York City. After building the Ponce De Leon Hotel, now Flagler College, Flagler invited famous artists to lodge with him. He provided studios, equipment, and a steady stream of wealthy patrons who were delighted by the new art scene in Florida. Years later, the area succumbed to the Depression. It was then that the city’s savvy artists banded together creating the St. Augustine Art Association to promote the Old City’s European charm and architecture to tourists. This resulted in a vibrant and creative art colony to emerge.
St. Augustine’s art culture today.
From aesthetic paintings of the Lighthouse to handmade gold rings stamped with a Medici Lion (like the one at the base of the Bridge of Lions), to Vermeer-esque oil painted portraits, art in St. Augustine is full-spectrum. There is something to be found and enjoyed by everyone the list of findings is ongoing. These include contemporary stained glass, painterly realism, impressionism, bronze aluminum sculpting, acrylic painting, oil on wood, photography, handmade and designed jewelry, archival silver selenium print, handmade leather pieces, glass mosaic, metal and wood construction, metal photography, and even gourd sculpting!
Download the Member Galleries Map. Credit: Art Galleries of St. Augustine
Events where art is the focal point.
In addition to art galleries galore, St. Augustine boasts several events where art is the main attraction. When you leave the comfort of your historic bed and breakfast you are just steps away from fully indulging yourself in St. Augustine’s art culture. Below is a list of the areas most popular art events.
When: Various times and dates. Check our Farmers Market Blog for a comprehensive list of markets in St. Augustine.
About: Although you won’t find many wall pieces at farmers markets in St. Augustine, vendors are often selling handcrafted jewelry, sculptures and statues, and unique, handmade wooden pieces.
When: The festival is always the Saturday and Sunday following Thanksgiving Day, times vary.
About: Each year, the St. Augustine Art Association hosts the Festival of Art to celebrate and promote St. Augustine’s art culture. Vendors at the Festival of Art display and sell everything from fine art, handsewn handbags, artist demos, jewelry, woodworks, pottery, paintings, glass and more. Live music, food trucks, cultural displays, and a hands-on art zone can also be expected.
When: The First Friday of each month, from 5 pm to 9 pm.
About: During First Friday Art Walk, over 30 galleries in St. Augustine open their doors for exhibit viewing and art purchases.
When: This event normally takes place in the Spring between April and May, times and dates vary.
About: Artists from around the world and locally participate in an open-air painting exercise where St. Augustine’s architecture, coastal environment, small-town streets, and old-world charm are the inspiration.
When: This event typically takes place during Palm Sunday weekend, times and dates vary.
About: The Old Town Art Show is a juried art and fine craft event where artists are handpicked to participate. It features nearly 100 top-notch artists from around the world and the surrounding areas.
When: The last Saturday of each month, from 5 pm to 9 pm.
About: This event celebrates and takes place in the Uptown area of St. Augustine; along San Marco Avenue between Ripley’s Museum and the Mission of Nombre de Dios. Explore and enjoy the unique shops and galleries in this area. Music and light refreshments can be expected at some locations.
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