Brief History of Mid-Missouri Fine Arts Society

Mid-Missouri Fine Arts Society has its first meeting on December 4, 1974, at the Bank of Washington Meeting Room in Washington, MO. with 17 persons in attendance. Fr. Anthony Bukauskas was elected President, Judy Pecka Vice-President, Loretta Grinker, Historian/Secretary and Bill Ziegler, Treasurer.

Father Anthony Bukauskas, Founder of the Mid-Missouri Fine Arts Society – December, 1973
Father Anthony Bukauskas, Founder of the Mid-Missouri Fine Arts Society – December, 1973

Fr. Anthony Bukauskas, a priest at Neier, MO. taught evening oil painting classes at East Central College in Union, MO. He organized the art club that consisted of 43 Charter Members. In 1977, Fr. Anthony was made a “Life-Time Member of the Club. Fr. Anthony opened an art gallery next to his church at Neier and MMFAS members exhibited their art work there for several years. Governor Bond proclaimed August 4, 1975, as “Fr. Anthony Bukauskas Day” in Missouri.

MMFAS has had its annual November Art Show at the ECC Art Gallery for many years. In 1977 MMFAS started exhibiting art work at St. John’s Mercy Hospital in Washington, MO. which continued for many years. MMFAS members also displayed art in several banks and many other places in the area.

In 1979 MMFAS began co-sponsoring the Downtown Washington Art Fair with a total of 29 artists exhibiting. A total of between $400 and $500 in purchase pledges were raised for that art fair. The art fair was held in the old Mattingly’s Store Building on Main & Elm Streets in Washington. The second art fair saw a total of over $2000 in purchase pledges and 45 artists exhibiting in the old J.C. Penny Building and across the street in the old Gehlert Shoe Store building. The next two years the art show was held on the parking lot of Main & Elm Streets.

In 1983 the art show moved to the new Rennick Riverfornt Park on the banks of the Missouri River. In 1984 the first Fine Art and Wine Fest was held, co-sponsored with Downtown Washington, Inc. and still continues to be held each year. The art fair featured original fine art only, possibly being the largest show of its kind in the mid-west. For several years the show featured 65 artists from over 10 states and offered over $10,000 in purchase pledges from local merchants and art patrons. For many years, an excess of $30,000.00 of art work was sold and purchased at the art fair. The Art Fair and Wine Fest drew several thousand people from many states in the US and some foreign nations for many years. The alliance with Downtown Washington, Inc. greatly benefited the community.

MMFAS hold monthly meetings on the second Monday each month with the exception of the months of June, July and August, in the Scenic Regional Library Meeting Room in Union, MO. Meetings consist of a business meeting and an art demonstration or educational program and are open to the public. Membership consists of regular memberships and associate memberships.

MMFAS members currently exhibit their work at their Depot Gallery in the Train Station in Washington, MO., St. Peters UCC Church’s Gallery in Washington, MO., and also sponsor the annual MMFAS Membership Show at East Central College in the fall for which cash prizes are presented. Silent Auctions are held to raise funds for the Art Scholarship that is presented to an art student each year.

MMFAS is a non-profit organization.