Our Story

WAA's new entry, designed by Gray Organschi Architecture, 2018.

WAA's new entry, designed by Gray Organschi Architecture, 2018.

About WAA

Founded in 1952, the Washington Art Association is a non profit organization dedicated to enriching our community through art education, exhibitions and special events.

WAA is passionate about arts education. Whether you are an experienced artist or a novice, WAA offers a range of opportunities for creative exploration. We provide a nurturing place for people of all ages to develop their skills and explore new artistic directions with classes in painting, ceramics, sculpture, drawing, and more.

Zemma Mastin White, Rejuvenation

Zemma Mastin White, Rejuvenation

The WAA Gallery is proud to showcase a wide variety of art in all media. Conveniently located just 2 hours north of New York City in the Litchfield Hills of Northwest CT, the gallery has hosted over 600 exhibitions. These have included the work of notable artists such as Cleve Gray, Alexander Calder, Louisa Calder, Charles Cajori, Tim Prentice, Tom Zetterstrom, Missy Stevens, Tom Doyle, James Grashow, and Robert Andrew Parker. In addition to showcasing nationally and internationally known artists, the gallery also seeks to feature talented emerging artists and the art made by our gifted members and faculty.

WAA strives to bring art to the community. With special events such as lectures, field trips, workshops, parties, art sales, and diverse educational programs, we hope to enrich the lives of the people of Northwestern Connecticut through art.

The entrance to the gallery is free and open to the public.

Inquire about becoming a member.

A History of WAA

For more than five decades the Washington Art Association & Gallery has drawn the aesthetically curious to view, learn about, create, and exhibit art. Since its founding in 1952 by Margaret Train Samsonoff and a small group of local artists and patrons, the Association has attracted full-time residents, weekenders, and visitors from both near and far.

The Association began as a summer endeavor and staged its first exhibition in July of 1952 in the former R.J. Benham drugstore. In 1954, the Association established what must have seemed like a permanent home in the former Washington Depot post office. The following year, however, the flood of 1955 destroyed the structure prompting the Association to purchase a small brick building on the banks of the Shepaug River, move it to the newly reconstructed Bryan Memorial Plaza, and attach it to a group of milk sheds.

Following two years of construction and renovations the Association’s current quarters opened in 1957 when year-round exhibitions and classes were added. The Association’s space in Bryan Plaza quickly became an integral part of Litchfield County’s cultural life. Unusually innovative exhibitions were staged in the 1960s and 1970s, including shows of collected works by Matisse, Renoir, Michelangelo, Leger, and Miro.

In 1983 the gallery space was enlarged and a multipurpose studio space was added allowing for expanded art instruction activities. A rich offering of on-site classes and workshops was initiated and off-site instruction programs, including the provision of visiting arts instructors to local schools, were established. The Association’s larger space also allowed for more ambitious exhibitions and greater educational offerings.