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Visual Arts Center

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The Visual Arts Center serves Punta Gorda, Charlotte County and beyond, with three major galleries, an extensive arts library, and a gift shop of unique, hand crafted items.

Education for all ages ... here you can participate in classes and workshops instructed by accomplished artists in all media.

We sponsor events, gallery openings, competitions, and groups for community participation, with help from members and sponsors who support our not-for-profit organization.

Come often to explore, create, and to share art...

Bringing inspiration and creativity to our community!

About the Visual Arts Center

Our Beginnings

In 1961, a small group of artists organized an outdoor show for Punta Gorda. An astonishing 3,000 people came. These artists decided that maybe they had something, so they began to organize themselves into the Charlotte County Art Guild, Inc.

They began to have informal meetings, organize more art shows, and held art classes in various spots around town: banks, schools, and small storefronts. At first, members had to be "juried into" the Guild - that is, an artist had to have a certain amount of experience and skill to be a member of the Guild. Membership was opened to the general public sometime in the 1970s.

In the early 1980s, artist Henry Lohse led an energetic charge to get a Visual Arts Center built in Charlotte County. The Guild secured a long-term lease of Punta Gorda City property at Maud Street and West Marion Avenue. Fred Babcock was the first Patron of the Arts and contributed greatly to the building fund.

The first phase of the building included a large exhibition hall, gift shop, classrooms, and a photography darkroom. The second phase added a library, second gallery, and more classrooms in March 1992.

Our Exhibitions

The Guild began to offer classes in painting and drawing. Exhibits were organized. The first juried art exhibition, Harvest of Art 1988, was held at the First Federal Bank. Our largest gallery is named for First Federal, one of our early large donors. The second Harvest of Art was the first art show held in the new Visual Arts Center. It remains our longest running annual exhibit; in November 2013, we will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of this prestigious show.

Our exhibit schedule is now varied and on view all year-juried, judged, themed, member only and exhibits open to any artist. We have hosted a Biennial National Art Exhibition since 1998 which attracts hundreds of artists from all over. In 2013, we will hold our first National Faces & Figures (of the human form) Exhibit, which promises to become just as big.

The Wayne and Donna Goff Gallery was dedicated in November 1999. The Goff Gallery showcases a body of work by member artists. Typically, four artists participate in these group shows which change every month. Any member artist can get on the calendar to exhibit. In 2002, we added another large room that can be divided into two classrooms, if needed.

Art Classes and Workshops

Throughout the years, classes in more art media were added. The VAC has a staff of highly accomplished, award-winning instructors for its six-week courses. Weekly portrait, life drawing studios, and plein aire sessions are now mainstay activities. Fine crafts classes in pottery, stained glass and jewelry-making are also popular additions to the curriculum. Occasionally, specialty classes are offered in diverse media like basketry or silk-painting. We also provide classes, workshops and summer arts camps for children.

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation: Not Listed
Notes: None Listed
Gallery & Gift Shop Hours:September—May Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm Sat, 10am-2pm June—August Mon-Fri, 10am-2pm


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