Our History


In 1961 a small group of artists organized an outdoor show for Punta Gorda, and an astonishing 3,000 people came. These artists realized they were on to something and began to organize themselves into the Charlotte County Art Guild, Inc. They started with informal meetings, organized more art shows and held art classes in various locations around town including banks, schools and small storefronts. At first members had to be juried into the Guild (an artist had to have a certain amount of experience and skill to be a member). Membership was opened to the general public in the 1970’s.

The Visual Arts Center opened it's doors in 1989

"The Visual Arts Center galleries, at the Corner of Maud Street and Marion Avenue, across from Fishermen's Village in Downtown Punta Gorda, are always free and open to the public. We invite you to come see for yourself why the Visual Art Center is truly a community gathering place."

Early in the 1980’s artist Henry Lohse led an energetic charge to get a brick-and-mortar Visual Arts Center built in Charlotte County. The Guild secured a long-term lease of Punta Gorda City property at the corner of Maud Street and Marion Avenue. Fred Babcock was the first Patron of the Arts and contributed greatly to the building fund.

The Center was built in phases as money was raised by the community. The Guild received two matching capital grants from the State of Florida’s Division of Cultural Affairs in 1985 and 1987. The ground-breaking ceremony occurred in February 1988 and doors oficially opened in 1989.

Today we provide the finest art classes, instructors and exhibit opportunities for our members and visitors alike. Courses are designed for all ages and skill levels and we offer a variety of classes and workshops throughout the year in all media.