History & Mission
The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster, NJ, is a popular destination for world-class contemporary art exhibitions and community-based arts education and programming.
Our mission is to provide a vibrant, contemporary cultural center through arts education, exhibitions and community partnerships that will inspire creativity and enhance people’s lives.
The Center for Contemporary Art: A Timeline
The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster, NJ, is a lively and welcoming hub of creativity and artistic expression, dating back to our early days as the Somerset Art Association (SAA). Over the years, we have continued to grow and evolve and are now widely recognized as one of the premier contemporary art centers in the region.
The Somerset Art Association (SAA) was founded in Somerset, NJ, by a small group of dedicated artists who envisioned a place where they could gather, work, and share ideas. Art instruction was initially the sole focus. Yet, it wasn’t long before exhibitions were organized to provide artists with greater exposure and the opportunity to explore new ideas and concepts. Other programming, including lectures and bus tours to tri-state area museums, was added as membership began to grow steadily. A support structure developed to fund and manage each new program.
SAA was outgrowing its cramped, rented facility and launched a capital campaign to renovate a historic, circa 1912 schoolhouse in the nearby town of Bedminster, NJ. The location became the art center’s official home in 1995, and participation in our visual arts programming soared. Today, that once hyper-local art association has grown into a year-round vibrant center enjoyed by artists and art enthusiasts of all ages.
In recognition of our 40th anniversary, the Board of Trustees announced the next evolution in the organization’s life cycle. On October 9, 2010, the Somerset Art Association officially became The Center for Contemporary Art. Our mission is driven by a desire to broaden, deepen, and diversify participation among audiences; challenge and inspire students, teachers, artists, enthusiasts, and members of the community through opportunities 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.
The Center celebrated its 50th anniversary with a virtual event on October 23, 2020. Even during a global pandemic, we continued to connect with our community through the arts. We gained the technical skills and tools needed to reach audiences across town and around the world.