History


In 1956, the same group of people who founded the nation’s first Arts Council here in Winston-Salem also formed Associated Artists with the idea that artists work must be exhibited to be truly appreciated. At that time, exhibits were held in churches and the lawn of the public library, hallways, parlors and city offices. Today, the same grass-roots approach to art defines Associated Artists and you’ll experience it from the moment you set foot in one of our exhibitions in the City of the Arts and Innovation.

In everything we do, Associated Artists strives to create an organization that not just serves the community but truly reflects it. All opening receptions and gallery exhibits are free and open to the public, in keeping with our inclusive approach to the arts. From mural projects to intimate individual portraits, from abstract to realism, from digital animation to photojournalism, Associated Artists believes that being a City of the Arts and Innovation means being open to all forms of visual art and the diverse perspectives that come with it.

For almost 60 years, Associated Artists has been the source of Winston-Salem’s most fertile talent. At Associated Artists, we give art a place to be seen by giving it a space to be shown. In our downtown gallery through events, exhibits, and programs new artists learn from more experienced¬†artists, progressive ideas bump up against classical approaches, and all are given opportunities to present artwork and share experiences as equals.

Michelangelo was once asked, “How do you create your beautiful sculptures?” He responded, “I do not create beauty, God creates beauty. I merely chip away the surrounding marble so as to reveal the beauty. The beauty is already within. It is already perfectly in place.”

At Associated Artists, we don’t see our purpose as being much different from Michelangelo’s. Where he believed he was releasing beauty from within marble, we believe we are releasing talent from within our city’s individuals. And, just as everyone shares in the beauty Michelangelo revealed, everyone in our community benefits from the artists, and the artwork, that Associated Artists helps cultivate.