The Art League of Nassau County was founded in 1925 by a small group of 15 Long Islanders intent on exhibiting their work to the public and fostering interest in the visual arts. The board applied for New York State Incorporation that year as a 501 (c) not-for-profit association of artists. In 1926 the League mounted its first exhibition of 18 paintings at the Nassau County Court House.
In 1935 the League acquired a permanent gallery space in the Bohack Building, Hempstead, and established the Nassau Institute of Art. Aproximately 600 students passed through the school before classes were suspended at the outbreak of World War II.
League Exhibitions were held for many years in the Palm Lounge of the Garden City Hotel. Other exhibition sites have included Lever House, New York City; Adelphi University, Garden City; Chung Cheng Center, Saint John's University; Great Neck Public Library and many Long Island libraries; Lincoln Center, New York City; and Barnes Gallery, Garden City Park.
As with most organizations, the League has evolved and changed along the way. In 1997 a group of member artists began meeting in local parks to paint outdoors together and the Plein Air Painters was born. In 2010 we created our first website (www.artleagueofnassaucounty.org as of 2021) where we announced our meetings, events, and advertised our art league to the outside world. Soon we began distributing our e-newsletter online to members while still sending paper copies to those who requested them.
In 2020, the year of the CoVid pandemic, the league quickly turned to the online Zoom platform to hold board meetings, have virtual Members' Exhibitions, hold our monthly General Meetings with demonstrations, and held our twice-yearly workshops. Many members tuned in and participated keeping communication going both ways and allowing us to connect with our members.
Today the League's home is at the Town of North Hempstead's Clinton G. Martin Community Center where they hold monthly demonstrations given by the best artists in the New York Metropolitan area. The League holds at least 2 yearly members' exhibitions in local venues, enjoys camaraderie in Plein Air Painters group; holds 2 yearly workshops, hosts an annual Members' Dinner, and publishes a monthly newsletter.
The membership averages 130 artists.