artist information

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Estelle Stair
“The association could really not exist without her,” is what is said about the late Estelle Stair who led the first Rockport Art Guild in 1967. Two years later the Rockport Art Association was born, and worked to restore downtown buildings with their own hands for the first studios and gallery. Stair said: “Blood, guts, and perseverance led to the Art Colony in Rockport.”

In June of 1969 the first Art Auction was held, raising $2700 for the association’s building fund. The first Art Festival took place in the June of 1970, where more than 100 artists displayed work up and down Austin Street. Later, as more commercial galleries were opening downtown, the Art Association struggled to stay on its feet. Stair assumed the financial debt and housed the Art Association in her gallery at 406 South Austin Street until 1984 when the Bruhl-O’Connor home was donated. The Art Center held a retrospective exhibition of her work in 2007.

Stair's gallery still stands in downtown Rockport and has been remodeled by her niece and 2009 Poster Artist Lisa Baer. Stair's legacy remains an essential part of Rockport's story, and her work in the community will be long-remembered.