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It was in November of 1956 that through their passion for the arts and their community, George R. Cox, Sigrid B. Rice, Dorothy H. Maggio, and Juanita S. Elder came together to organize the South Bay Art Association.

The first official meeting was held on January 30, 1957 in what at the time called the Community House, now known as the Community Center in Bellport Village where the slate of officers was sworn in.

Mr. George Cox – President
Mrs. Juanita Elder – Vice President
Miss Jeanne Fiala – Recording Secretary
Mr. Paul Rochford – Treasurer
Mrs. Dorothy Maggio – Corresponding Secretary


Mrs. Sigrid Rice
Mr. Thurston Gwynne
Mrs. Vernon O’Rourke
Mr. Ernest Doudiet


The group quickly gained members and worked hard to develop programs and opportunities for the artists including workshops, lectures, committees and they held their first fundraising event dubbed the Bal Masque which was to be the organizations “outstanding social event of the year” held at The Pine Grove Inn in East Patchogue. The theme of the costumed evening…Moulin Rouge.

The event boasted sketches by Miles White, the costume designer for shows such as Jamaica and Oklahoma, and paintings by artist John Ferdinand. Slides and commentary provided by the Metropolitan Museum of Art was also shown. The location of the event had been changed last minute and was originally to be held at the Wyandotte Hotel, once located at the end of Brewster Lane in Bellport, a one-time speakeasy during prohibition with a number of notable guests.

The group had the support of many, including Mrs. Henry McAllister, the former Public Relations Director of the Brooklyn Museum. She provided priceless strategies and program initiatives. This first year of dedication and the hard work of many helped paved the way for over six decades of art along the Great South Bay, enriching the lives of many.

We strive to continue to provide art and art education to the Great South Bay communities for many decades to come!

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