The Wilmington Art Association is an all-volunteer organization founded over 50 years ago and dedicated to supporting arts and artists in the area through outreach efforts and scholarships. The WAA is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Corporation as defined in the IRS Code.

The WAA provides opportunities for area visual artists to gain community recognition through shows and exhibitions. It offers a forum wherein artists, local craftsmen, and people interested in the visual arts can exchange ideas, learn from each other, and contribute to the community. It provides educational programs, demonstrations, and lectures, which will lead to better public understanding and appreciation of visual arts.

A little about the WAA History

The Wilmington Art Association (WAA) was organized in 1971. Its early monthly meetings were held at Wilmington’s New Hanover County Museum. This group is the second organization to use the name “Wilmington Art Association.” The first was formed in 1953 and eventually became absorbed in the membership of St. John’s Museum of Art — which is now the Cameron Art Museum.

A new Wilmington Art Association — with 30 members — arranged its first “Annual Labor Day Arts and Crafts Show” in 1971 at Greenfield Park and organized the “First Annual Christmas Show and Sale” at the Community Art Center located at 120 South Second Street. In 1972, the Arts Council of the Lower Cape Fear held its first “Arts Ball” at the Wilmington Hilton, in downtown Wilmington and included an exhibition of paintings by members of the Wilmington Art Association. The organization received its charter from the State of North Carolina in 1974 and is certified by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a non-profit organization.

The first Wilmington Art Association gallery opened in the Spring of 1999 at Chandler’s Wharf on Water Street in downtown Wilmington. In November 2006, the Gallery was relocated to 616-B Castle Street, where it operated through April 2011.

A list of associated members mentioned throughout the collection include: Penny Vereen Braswell, Elsa Brooks, Betty Beane, John P. Christensen, Ann E. Chadwick, John Edward Clayton, Robert R. Clark, Faye Coley, Anne T. Cree, Diane English, Nancy Fidler, Mary Ellen Golden, Douglas Grant, Jeanna Selby Gowdy, Emily Ware Griffith, Kathlee Hewett, Elizabeth Storm Harris, Ruth Hodges, Florence Hoffman, Louise Shelley Johnson, Ellen Sherburne Jones, William Lloyd, Mary Mears, Shirley Leveque Mitchell, Jack Morgan, Georgia Newton, Charlotte Payne, Brooks Pearce, Lillian S. Paso, Carmen Reavis, Ann Respess, Hope S. Schroth, Henry Stone, Sibyl O. Thearling, Carlton D. Trainum, Suda Fee Tuggle, Ortund M. Tyler, Tina F. White, Wendy D. Ward, Larry Williams, and J. Hilary Worthington.

A little information about the WAA and the annual Spring Art Show at the Hannah Block Community Arts Center

In 2021, Coastal Living Magazine covered the Wilmington Arts Association and the annual Azalea Festival Spring Art Show and Sale. Click on the picture to read the entire article: