In The Beginning…
After the success of the first Wickford Art Festival put on by a group of local artists in 1962, it was evident a sponsoring agency was needed to make the festival an annual event and the Wickford Art Association was born!
In 1961, Robert MacMeehan and Pearl Marsh planned a sidewalk art show at MacMeehan's "Little Gallery" on Franklin Street in Wickford. The "Little Gallery" was already the meeting place of many Wickford and South County artists. The success of this show led to the establishment of the Wickford Art Festival in 1962.
The first festival was such a success that visitors and exhibitors encouraged local artists to form an association. That year, local and other artists founded the Wickford Art Association to promote Wickford as an art center by encouraging the production, exhibition and sale of works of art. Its charter members were Louise Cashman, John Huszer, Ronnie Loring, Olive MacIver, Robert MacMeehan, Gilbert Rodman and Irene Sulley.
Corporation papers were filed on June 20, 1969 and were signed by the following members who worked tirelessly to make the Wickford Art Association a success and to secure a meeting site: Louise Cashman, John Huszer, Olive MacIver, Pearl Marsh and Irene Sulley. Wickford Art Association is a federally recognized 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization.
Our gratitude for their foresight and dedication in making our wonderful association a reality continues to be strong. Since 1962, the Wickford Art Association has produced the annual Wickford Art Festival, in addition to monthly lectures and demonstrations that are open to the public, fine arts scholarships for high school seniors, classes and fine art exhibits shows throughout the year.
In May of 1989, the Association's dream became a reality with the dedication of its Gallery at 36 Beach Street located on the North Kingstown Town Beach. This new building was constructed with the dues and monies saved since WAA's founding and is home to all Wickford Art Association members. The Gallery is open to the public with free admission and parking.
In 2018, Sunshine Magazine ranked the Wickford Art Festival the #7 best fine art festival in the country. The festival takes place in Wickford Village on the weekend after the Fourth of July, rain or shine.