History of Our Building

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55 Noxon Street

For over 80 years, the Dutchess County Art Association has connected Dutchess County residents to the visual arts as a way to inspire the creativity and civic spirit of the community.   The founder of the DCAA, Poughkeepsie native Thomas Weeks Barrett. Jr. (1901-1947), was a regional painter and printmaker who worked as a muralist for the Treasury Relief Art Project and the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s.   Inspired by the WPA’s mission of artistic populism, he founded the DCAA in 1934, inviting local artists to meet in his family home at 55 Noxon Street.  After Barrett’s death in 1947, the DCAA continued to meet and host exhibitions at venues throughout Dutchess County.  Barrett’s sister bequeathed the family’s home to the DCAA in 1974.  In the years that followed, a dedicated group of artists and community supporters came together to renovate and refurbish the home as an art center with galleries and studios. 

 Known today as Barrett Art Center (BAC), the organization continues Thomas Barrett’s vision for an arts center serving artist and audience with programs that nurture the creative vitality of the community.  The Center provides the public with an opportunity to reflect on art and the creative process in a unique historic structure, the Barrett family’s 1830s Greek Revival townhouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.  The BAC achieves its mission to foster and perpetuate an appreciation of the visual arts in the Hudson Valley through exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and demonstrations.