In 1970, the Somerset Art Association (SAA) was founded in Bernardsville, NJ by a small group of dedicated artists who envisioned a place where they could gather, work and share ideas. Finding a dearth in the community for such a place, membership grew steadily. Art instruction was initially the sole focus. Exhibits were organized soon thereafter to provide artists with exhibit opportunities and exposure to new ideas and concepts. Other programming including lectures and bus tours to tri-state area museums were added as membership grew and a support structure developed to fund and manage each new program. In 1990, SAA was outgrowing its cramped, rented facility and launched a capitol campaign to renovate an historic c. 1912 schoolhouse in the nearby town of Bedminster, NJ. The location became the art center’s official home in 1995 and participation in the art center’s multi-faceted educational visual arts programming soared. Today, the once local art association has grown into a year-round vibrant art center enjoyed by artists and art appreciators of all ages who cross geographic boundaries to participate in the center’s award-winning educational visual arts programming.
In 2010, to mark the art center’s 40th anniversary and in celebration of what has been accomplished and looking toward an even brighter future, the Board of Trustees announced the next evolution in the art center’s life cycle. On October 9, 2010, the Somerset Art Association officially became The Center for Contemporary Art.
The Center for Contemporary Art (The Center) is driven by the desire to broaden, deepen and diversify participation among audiences; challenge and inspire students, teachers, artists, enthusiasts and members of the community through opportunity to study, experience and create the multiple languages of the visual arts; and create a culture of the highest standards and expectations for artistic exploration, interpretation and perception.
By harnessing the power of the visual arts, The Center will greatly enhance our community culture by weaving the benefits of artistic activity into the fabric of our daily lives. The Center is meant to be experienced and enjoyed by everyone and as such we welcome your participation as we embark on this exciting journey.