Mission The Lighthouse ArtCenter, a member-supported nonprofit organization, provides visual and performing arts for the community through unique collections, engaging exhibitions and cultural programs, a dynamic School of Art and diverse outreach activities. We bring the joy of art to all!
History A dream, a vision, call it what you wish but the reality of the Lighthouse ArtCenter began in 1963 when 8 local women got together to form The Art Group of Tequesta. Their first organized event came in the early part of 1964 when the First Bank of Jupiter/Tequesta (now The Bank of America) offered up their wall space to the community’s local artists to show their work. During that first successful show, there were 83 entries organized by the group. The artists came from the surrounding communities south from Lake Worth and north to Stuart. The basic ambitions of the group to continue with art shows of local talent were the foundations for what would later become the Lighthouse ArtCenter; community shows with local artists, classes in different mediums for anyone who wanted to learn, gallery space of their own and classroom space.
Inspired by the achievement of the first show at the bank, a second art show was scheduled with the students of Jupiter Junior and Senior High School. The show was judged by Mr. and Mrs. Christopher D. Norton who became very interested in the newly formed group with its aims and ambitions. Mr. Norton said that if The Art Group of Tequestawould approve a location on Bridge Road and accept the job of operating and maintaining the building, he would guarantee the lease and remodel the building for their use. The former Tequesta Post Office building and the group would now be known as The Lighthouse Gallery.
A board of trustees was formed and papers were drawn up for a non-profit organization. A community effort dedicated The Lighthouse Gallery to” the cultural enhancement of our growing community”. In September of 1965 The Lighthouse Galleryoutgrew its space on bridge Road and obtained a lease for two lots in Tequesta. In 1967 a new building was constructed which enabled The Lighthouse Gallery to have more classroom space for teaching, new office space and an open gallery area to hold exhibits. Mr. Norton served as The Lighthouse Gallery’s first Director.
Growth continued with more classes being offered, additional staffing and a series of directors who helped shape and expand the Gallery over the next decade. Activity was increasing rapidly, class sizes were growing along with enrollment. Membership was now close to 300 and as the beam of The Lighthouse Gallery got brighter, there was once again a need for more space. In 1971, ground was broken for an addition on the west side. It included a beautiful foyer with a fountain and imported Mexican tile flooring and was designed by one of the instructors (Richard W. Frizzell). There were more rooms for exhibitions, a large master studio for teaching, gift shop, offices, a new kitchen, restrooms and storage.
In 1973, The Lighthouse Gallery was funded by the Village of Tequesta to offer a program called Summer Art Classes for Children. By the second year the summer school enrollment increased and additional instructors came on board to teach more art forms. The Lighthouse Gallery got another new name – Lighthouse Gallery and School of Art.
With continuing contributions and fundraisers including the annual Beaux Arts Ball, the Lighthouse Gallery and School of Art was able to uphold the original traditions of the organization while growing in a way that complimented its original intentions. By 1999 there was an expansion of the organization into more space in a separate building around the corner from the Gallery space. What had once been the North County Volunteer Ambulance Squad was now the new home of the school while the gallery, offices, gift shop and other functions remained in their present space.
The year 2000 brought yet another name change to the organization. Now known as the Lighthouse Center for the Arts, the new name reflected the Center’s scope of cultural offerings. Today the Center offers art education, the Visual Art Institution Program, the Art Bridge Outreach Program, Children’s Summer Art Program, Winter Workshop Art Series, art lectures and a host of other events throughout the year. In addition, there are exhibitions that are produced in cooperation with other arts organizations including traveling exhibits, international exchanges, loaned art program and a performing arts series.
Today we are now known as Lighthouse ArtCenter. We host private and public receptions and have a Museum Gift Shop and Art Supply Store.
Quoting Mr. Norton, “The growth of the Gallery into the area’s cultural center, was not even considered at the time of its founding. I now realize, at this time, how much the Gallery has grown in stature. It is indeed an integral part of our community”.