The mission of the Barrett Art Center/Dutchess County Art Association is to foster and perpetuate an appreciation of the visual arts in the Hudson Valley. This includes exhibits, art classes, lectures, and demonstrations focused on the visual arts.
When American regionalist painter, muralist and printmaker Thomas Weeks Barrett, Jr. (1902-1947) returned home to Poughkeepsie after working as a muralist for the Treasury Relief Art Project and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Art Project in the early 1930s, he expressed his idealistic desire for a better society by creating a community art organization. Recognizing the positive impact of the arts on community life, Barrett founded the Dutchess County Art Association (DCAA) in 1934. Today, the DCAA is commonly known as the Barrett Art Center (BAC).
Throughout its history, BAC has provided a meeting place for artists and art enthusiasts alike to view, exhibit, discuss, create, and learn about art. A 30-year tradition of presenting prestigious national shows of contemporary art (New Directions) and photography (Photoworks) juried by museum professionals annually attracts hundreds of submissions from across the country. BAC offers opportunities for members, students, and instructors to showcase their work. A long-standing tradition since its inception is extensive outreach. Off-site events, exhibitions, workshops and demonstrations promote an awareness of art and artists on a county-wide level; this goal achieved through partnerships with libraries, civic organizations, art and educational institutions, historic sites, and local businesses.
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