Mission and History
The American Academy of Equine Art, Inc. is a non-profit, tax exempt organization founded in 1980 at the suggestion of Alexander Mackay-Smith and Dr. Joseph Rogers, board members of the Westmoreland Davis Foundation at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia. The idea was to assemble the finest equine artists in the country to exhibit together, share creative ideas, and, eventually, to establish a teaching organization - modeled after the Royal Academy in England.
World-renowned equine artists Jean Bowman and Else Tuckerman were consulted, and they suggested a core group of ten distinguished painters and sculptors who formed the American Academy of Equine Art, Inc. based in Middleburg, Virginia. The founding members were an impressive list of who's who in equine art: Jean Bowman, June Harrah, Henry Koehler, William Wallace Nall, Marilyn Newmark, Eve Prime, Princess Marie Louise Moncada, Richard Stone Reeves, Sam Savitt and Else Tuckerman. The Academy's first exhibition was held at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting at Morven Park, in the spring of 1980. Throughout the years, as more of our country's best equine artists joined the Academy, the annual exhibition moved to a variety of locations, including Massachusetts, Michigan, Florida, Colorado, South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky.
In 1992, the Academy entered into an agreement with the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky to hang two exhibitions per year in the William G. Kenton Gallery at the Park's International Museum of the Horse - a juried show in the fall and an invitational show in the spring. Today, the academy exhibitions are looked upon by collectors and dealers as a source for the best in contemporary equine art, as they feature artists from all parts of the United States as well as other countries. Many of the Academy's full and associate members are among the finest and most recognized equine painters and sculptors working today.
In 1991 the Academy also realized its original goal of becoming a teaching organization. Throughout the year the academy offers a series of drawing, painting and sculpting workshops primarily in Kentucky and South Carolina.
Mission of the American Academy of Equine Art
The AAEA is an educational group which serves to educate and encourage a broad awareness and appreciation of equine art as a specific and distinctively worthy segment of contemporary fine art in America.
Full membership in the academy is accorded only to artists of professional maturity and achievement, who are committed to the mission of the AAEA and are willing to contribute in a teaching capacity through workshops, seminars, lectures, demonstrations and critiques. In addition to a proven knowledge of equine anatomy and an ability to depict the horse, Full members must demonstrate a consistent ability in dealing with the human figure, landscape, background, etc. Qualified artists of all nationalities are eligible for membership.
In fulfillment of its mission, the AAEA organizes and presents exhibitions throughout the United States. An annual exhibition features works of Founders, Full members and invited artists. A yearly, open, juried exhibition spotlights the works of aspiring or emerging equine artists. Each year, the academy sponsors workshops in equine drawing, painting and sculpture in the USA. An AAEA Artist in Residence program has been initiated in Kentucky to further the organization's goals.
The AAEA is a non-profit, 501©3 organization. It does not discriminate on the basis of national or ethnic origin, race, color, creed, gender, age or disability in any of its programs or policies.
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The American Academy is located in the Horse Capital of the world. The AAEA offers a number of activities and programs for young people—both natives and visitors to our region. Keeneland's "Breakfast with the Works" offers a taste of Equine Art Activities.
Families can explore the racetrack together and enjoy some free art lessons every Saturday morning in October and April from some of the region's finest Equine artists. Unless otherwise noted, all programs take place in the in the Grandstand area or the Equestrian room on the first floor between 7 am and 9 am each Saturday during racing seasons in October and April. For more information about both children's and adult workshops or exhibits offered by the AAEA, contact Karen Mitchell LaBach (email@example.com) or Frances Clay Conner ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).