Bringing art and people together
HOME >> About >> History & Mission >> History Timeline
History Timeline

• Prior to 1931 – Seven painters – Julia Sherman Green, Nina Petrie, Marguerite Trunslow, Mary Bugbird, Leslie Crawford, Francis White, and L.S. Goucher – rented a loft studio in the McClay Building on Springfield Avenue in Summit.

1931 – The group moves to an upper floor space at 95 Summit Avenue. There was one studio; in November 1931 Mary Bugbird was the first to host a one-person show in a small room off the studio.

1933 – The group grows to 20 active members and 11 associate members and officially forms an organization called the Summit Art Association.

1935 – The group moves to a carriage house at 79 New England Avenue. Here, the Association held regular programs open to the public; a class for children was also introduced.

1941 – The Summit Art Association moves to 497 Springfield Avenue. The high ceilings and well-lit space were ideal for a studio and provided exhibition space near the center of town.

1960 – The Summit Art Association is re-named the Summit Art Center.

1961 – The Summit Art Center moves to a loft at 17 Cedar Street above a woodworking shop in what had originally been a barn. Although the space was not adequate, the location was ideal.

1969 – The Summit Art Center moves to a house and lot at 68 Elm Street. The existing house was upgraded and rented while plans for a new building were prepared.

1973 – The Summit Art Center celebrates its 40th anniversary with the completion of its current home at 68 Elm Street. At its opening, the new building contained four studios.

1975 – A fifth studio is added to the existing building, allowing the Center to offer jewelry making courses. The photo lab is expanded to triple its original size.

1981 – The American Museum Association accredits the Summit Art Center.

1985 – The Summit Art Center changes its name to the New Jersey Center for Visual Arts and increases its reach to residents in thirteen counties within the state.

1996 – The Sculpture Garden is created to exhibit larger-scale and site-specific experiences; the parking lot is expanded.

2004 – The Art Center began a capital campaign to raise funds for its Access to Art expansion.

2005 – The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey assumes its new name and holds a grand re-opening after its expansion and renovation, increasing the number of studios from five to nine and total space from 13,000 to 24,000 square feet.

2009 – The New Jersey State Council on the Arts names the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey a “Major Impact Organization.”

2010 – The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey adds its first professional Curator to the staff.

2013 – The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey celebrates Eight Decades of Bringing Art and People Together.