History of the MVCVA


We were formed in 1991 as a non-profit, noncompetitive, unifying organization for visual artists on Martha’s Vineyard. There were two long-term goals of the organization. First to provide a place for visual artists to display their work and to interact and receive support and information from other artists. Second, to reach out to the community in order to enrich their understanding of and love for the arts.

Membership was free and open to any artist on the Vineyard. They could show their work at a MVCVA show. In 1992 the first venue for the MVCVA was a small gallery on Beach Road extension in Vineyard Haven. During the next few years the MVCVA held art exhibitions at the Field Gallery, The Vineyard Playhouse, island hotels and many other locations.

In 1996 the MVCVA was able to purchase the old #4 Firehouse on Dukes County Ave. in Oak Bluffs and opened the Firehouse Gallery which became the official home of the organization. Gallery shows were open to members, who were responsible for maintaining the gallery during their exhibition.


The MVCVA sponsored many programs, workshops and classes at the gallery. A wide variety of subjects and media were addressed ranging from “Photographing Your Art Work,” “Quick Fix Faux,” “Art Forms in Handmade Paper,” “Copyright Concerns,” to “Working With Pastels,” and “Jewelry Enameling.” Very popular were evenings which spotlighted talks with Vineyard artists such as Stanley Murphy and Della Hardman. A weekly drawing group, with model, was also established.


In 1993 the MVCVA printed the first Arts Directory of island galleries and artists. Directories were printed each successive year and were distributed without cost, to the Chamber of Commerce, island galleries, hotels, and B & B establishments throughout the island., In 1996, five thousand copies of the Directory were printed and distributed.

The MVCVA sold the Firehouse Gallery to Alison Shaw and Sue Dawson. Instead of disbanding, the MVCVA decided to create a program of grant-giving for Vineyard artists. This program ended in 2016 when the MVCVA returned to exhibiting the work of island artists. They established a new seasonal Galaxy Gallery at 99 Dukes County Avenue in Oak Bluffs, a short distance from their first gallery.





Holly Alaimo, President
Renee Balter, Secretary/Treasurer

Judy Hartford
Wendy Palmer
Alison Shaw