A Bit of History
The Emerald Empire Art Association began in 1957 when a group of artists and art lovers took on the task of building an art league. The group bought their first building at 421 A Street in 1974 to exhibit fine art to the community and become a center for teaching and learning art.
In the late 1990’s the opportunity to purchase the building at 500 Main Street in downtown Springfield presented itself. Built in 1909, the building was known as the Sutton Block which later became the Gerlach Drug Store. The non-profit art association had outgrown its original home and it was time for a new gallery to house its growing collection, to have space for more community interaction, to sponsor more art exhibits, and to encourage childrens’ interest in the arts.
The Emerald Empire Art Association took on the responsibility of an extensive renovation of the building to create the Emerald Art Center. With the support of many community members, local artists, organizations, foundations, and city government, their long-held vision came to fruition.