The Charlotte County Art Guild, Inc. dba Visual Arts Center
210 Maud St.
Punta Gorda FL 33950
It's our mission to inspire, explore, create and promote the visual arts in the Southwest Florida community through the development, knowledge and appreciation of the visual arts.
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Mary Ann Tipton
Board Chair Jane Patton
Board Chair Affiliation Artist/Retired Executive
General Info
Organization DBA
The Visual Arts Center
Charlotte County Art Guild
Supported Organization Charlotte County Art Guild, Inc.
Former Names
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1961
Awarded competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Dec 2015
State Registration Yes May 2016
IRS Letter of Determination
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $421,500.00
Projected Expenses $410,600.00
Other Documents
Impact Statement


1. Annual Peace River National Arts Festival most successful to date with over 8,000 attended from Charlotte Count and beyond - net proceeds of $18,000 for two day event.
2. Received $10,000 NEA/AEAC grant supporting art education and artists development for our Fine Arts Festival - annual fundraiser.
3. Established partnerships with Punta Gorda and Charlotte County Chambers of Commerce, Arts & Humanity Council, SWFL Arts Council, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte County Public Schools collaborating and integrating the visual arts into music, entertainment, classrooms and education.  Examples:
"Symphony at an Exhibition" - with the symphony
"Travelling Museum" - at our public schools
"Corks n Canvas'" - with the Punta Gorda Chamber
"Art with Art" - at builders/real estate model homes 
4. Doubled Corporate Partnerships and special events in our galleries after hours with Partners, individuals and businesses.
1.  Explore various art forms, history and appreciation of art classes and workshops.
2.  Create an environment and facility that encourages the creation and viewing of art.
3.  Promote the visual arts through education and events that are open to all.
Needs Statement
  1. Replace six (6) aging and malfunctioning air-conditioning units for the exhibit halls and classrooms.  Old systems are unreliable and often do not properly cool and dehumidify building. Estimate $35,000
  2. Interior building's aged lighting system is not reparable and presents safety concerns for our 12,000 SF facility. Most fixtures in the galleries do not work. We need to replace light's wiring system and replace all light fixtures with LED lighting system to provide exhibit lighting, be more economical and environmentally efficient. $25,000 
  3. Parking lot lighting needs to be brought up to current day standards. Estimate $29,000
  4. Volunteers for chairing Education and Exhibit committees, special events, docents and general facilities maintenance and repairs
  5. New easels, tables, chairs and display pedestals for our students and exhibiting artists. Estimate $9,000
Background Statement
   The organization was founded in 1961 by a group of artists in order to share resources, hold classes, and exhibit artwork. In the first years, all members were juried-in artists. Eventually, the group realized the need for community support and expanded membership to all. Today we have 953 members.
   In 1985, the City of Punta Gorda provided land for the center. The organization raised the funds, garnered some State of Florida capital grants, and opened in 1989. The building expanded as more capital was raised. As a result, the organization is mortgage and debt free. 
   The Center has offered year-round art exhibitions, classes for adults and children since inception. There are now over 300 classes and 20-24 exhibits every year, as well as workshops and special events. Through grants, the center added a state of the art computer lab, jewelry studio, and pottery studio. A summer arts camp for elementary through teens has operated since building inception.
   An Endowment Trust was created in the late 90's to ensure the Visual Art Center's future. A recent capital campaign raised another $256K for the Trust, now closing in on $800,000. The Trust has a separate board and is a 509(a)(3) supporting organization.
   Hurricane Charley ironically provided an opportunity to bring facilities up to current access codes in restrooms and entrance ways, plus adding storage area, pottery studio and a new roof.
   About 750 volunteer hours a month are needed to operate this 12,000 s.f. facility, including a 3,700 volume arts library and a gift shop featuring the work of member artists.
   The Goff Gallery features monthly shows of member artists: they may show a body of work, present an opening reception, and offer tours at no cost. Artists receive 70% of any art sold. 
   The Center offers an annual Fine Arts Festival; alternates a National Faces & Figures Exhibition with a (non-thematic) National Exhibition; Photo Arts Expo; Peace River National Art Show, a juried outdoor two-day festival; as well as monthly exhibitions in three major galleries. These special events are educational and revenue-producing.
   The Center offers several membership levels: individual, household, and student, as well as Patron levels of Friend, Supporter and Advocate with added benefits. 
    The Center provides space and support for several special interests affiliate groups: jewelry, photography, fiber/textile, sculpture, porcelain art, and art glass.
    Every year the Center provides gallery space for elementary and middle school/high school art exhibits.
   Every year three $500.00 scholarships are awarded to local high school students showing artistic achievement and an interest in pursuing a degree and career in art.
Areas Served
Areas Served
In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
FL- Charlotte
FL- DeSoto
FL- Lee
FL- Sarasota
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Tertiary Org Type
Visual Arts, Art Exhibits, Art Classes, Children's Art, Gallery, Gift Shop, Facility Rental
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

I am involved with the Charlotte County Art Guild's Visual Art Center because, as an artist, I enjoy the positive atmosphere, beautiful artwork, and happy members and friends who utilize the facility. I also volunteer because I see a need to support the Guild's mission and vision, its efforts to provide high-quality instruction, education and entertainment to everyone who walks through the doors of this outstanding facility.  

The Center successfully provides this wonderful atmosphere through the efforts of 6 dedicated staff and a 14-member board, as all as volunteers who work over 700 hours each month.
The Center's primary challenge is offering these quality programs, exhibits, classes and activities  (and keeping the lights on) while holding entry fees and membership dues at an affordable level. Support from sponsors, donors, corporate partners and grants are essential to maintaining a balanced budget and provide for capital improvements. The organization receives no ongoing funds from any government agencies. 
As president, my goal in 2015 is to help raise funds to immediately install upgraded lighting and repair other building inadequacies resulting from 25 years of robust activity.  
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
Our arts center is one of the finest in Southwest Florida. We make every effort to make the arts accessible, affordable, and enjoyable to the widest range of people. We are one of the few that is truly fully operational all year and the only facility of its kind in Charlotte County. Service to the community is at the heart of all our programs, events and projects.
We hold seven education sessions per year; plus after school programs; summer art camp for children. We offer over 300 classes in pottery, painting (all media), sculpture, computer arts (digital photography, website design, social media), stained glass, and jewelry. We also offer indepth workshops for special study, hold life drawing and portrait drawing sessions.
Students are able to sell their creations in our Gift Shop, where unique gifts can be purchased at extremely affordable prices. Sales commission of 70% goes directly back to the artist. 
The VAC's 3,700 volume Arts Lending Library, with 20 arts periodicals and video/dvds, is open to the general community. 
Budget $92,800
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other General Arts Education
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults K-12 (5-19 years) Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Short Term Success
Students of all ages continue to register in high numbers, providing income for local art instructors and raising the skill level of area artists.  New sessions have been created for elementary students, with intent to expand elementary school enrollment during 2015. 
Long Term Success
The program is successful as demonstrated by the registration rates and the percentage of returning students. The past three years have all had record-breaking sessions.
Program Success Monitoring
We continually evaluate through written and informal surveys, numbers of students registering and returning to particular instructor.
Program Success Examples
Number of students registering has increased year over year. With greater self confidence, art students enter exhibitions and sell their work. They become involved as volunteers to further support the organization and grow as individuals.   
The VAC holds 10-12 competitions each year, all have prize money and vary in media. At least two each year are juried shows. Our 9th Juried Biennial National Art Exhibition (2D traditional media) Faces & Figures Exhibit was held in March 2014 and attracted artist entries from across the country. Our volunteer committee is gearing up now to plan our 10th biennial National Art Exhibition to be held in February 2016.
   Our Goff Gallery offers members an opportunity to show a body of work at no fee (30% commission). Goff Gallery also is available at a low rental fee to other local art organizations or for individual shows. Past shows have included works by Swedish-American artist Arthur Linquist, Seminole painter Guy LaBree and Florida landscape artist Clyde Butcher.
   The VAC hosts an exhibit every few years for the SWFL Arts Council exhibits. 
   The VAC hosts annual elementary and middle/high school exhibits and awards receptions for a private academy, public schools and home-schooled children. 
    The Gift Shop offers everything from jewelry to pottery to art on canvas for sale by local artists. The gift shop setting displays more fine craft than can be seen in traditional exhibits. Member artists donate 30% of their gift shop sales income to the support the gift shop and VAC.
Budget $19,800
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Curatorial Work & Exhibitions
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Elderly and/or Disabled
Short Term Success
Short term success is determined by the number of entries compared to previous years.
Long Term Success
The exhibit program success is based on the number of entries for a given show and the quality of work entered. The shows are of a high quality with paid qualified judges. Artists come from Sarasota and Lakeland to Naples for most and from all 50 states for the biennial national exhibit.
Program Success Monitoring
We continually look at the mediums entered for each show. We examine the number of returning artists and new artists. We check other area art centers on entry fees and qualified judges.
Program Success Examples
We are reaching a wider groups of artists geographically for local shows and younger artists as well
The Peace River National Art Festival has three primary missions: offer a quality marketplace for national artists, draw visitors and tourists to the county, and be a major revenue-producer for the Visual Arts Center.
This juried art festival presents only high quality artists of 2-d and 3-d media.
The 2-day event held each spring draws approximately 100 artists and 10,000 people to beautiful Lashley Park in downtown Punta Gorda every year. The festival has become one of the season's highlights and is supported by the local chambers, businesses, and governments.
Budget $25,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Visual Arts Festivals
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens K-12 (5-19 years)
Short Term Success
Short term success may be determined by anecdotal comments by artists who continue to have sales even after the show is long over. Coverage in local newspapers indicates the importance to the community.
Long Term Success
The festival's longevity, plus a consistent return of quality artists signifies their success at our festival. The growth in attendees, determined by actual gate counts, is also a helpful tool in determining success.  The festival is one of the Visual Art Center's primary fundraising events, supporting other programs and providing community outreach.
Program Success Monitoring
We look at gate receipts, artist blogs and Facebook, food and beverage receipts and general comments from the public on site. The City of Punta Gorda has acted with alacrity to any problems with the site, indicating its desire to keep the festival in the City's downtown waterfront park.
Program Success Examples
We can offer anecdotal comments from snowbirds who plan their vacations around the festival dates every year. The fact that the attendance increases every year is our basic proof of its success. Also, the number of artists on a waiting list to be invited into the festival shows success.
   The month-long Fine Arts Festival, held every fall since 2003, celebrates the work of master artists in various events, workshops, lectures, and artwork.
   Artists or themes selected over the years:  Van Gogh, O'Keeffe and Stieglitz, Gauguin, Leonard da Vinci vs. Michelangelo, Spirit of the American West, Dali, Degas, Lautrec, Monet, Sergeant and Art Nouveau to Art Deco.
   Examples of events: during the Degas year, a local ballet schools performed. Original plays from two local authors were enacted by the local community theater. (The plays were both educational and entertaining). An actor from Tampa impersonated Dali; a local restaurant offered a class based on Lautrec's own published cookbook. A trip to Cayo Costa substituted for Gauguin's south seas life. Performers reenacted the love between Georgia O'keeffe and Stieglitz. A bus trip to Miami's Art Deco District showcased the extent of the movement's popularity.
   Local artists re-create these great artists' works or create their own interpretation of the artist's style in 2-d art or in other media like jewelry, weaving or pottery. This great educational opportunity provides artists a challenging learning experience in the time-honored way of the apprentice. 
   Artwork created here is toured through the school system. The "Last Supper" was re-created by 16 artists and was rotated throughout local churches. The piece now resides in a local church permanently. The major large paintings are shown in downtown Punta Gorda as part of the October gallery walk.
  As one of the Visual Art Center's major fundraising activities, the month long festival includes music, food, wine, theater, dance and art - different every year but fun, educational, and revenue-producing.
Budget $24,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Cultural Festivals
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults K-12 (5-19 years) Elderly and/or Disabled
Short Term Success
Immediate successful outcomes are ticket sales for special events, the attendees attracted to the exhibition, and the increase in donations and sponsorships. 
Long Term Success
This program's mission is to increase enjoyment and education of particular artists or themes. Children and local adults may see artwork not otherwise available to them (finances, school budget reductions). 
  The first year, about 8 artists participated. Every year, the number of artists has grown; recent shows have included 90 artists, who created 125 or more pieces of art, many of which sell during the exhibit. 
Program Success Monitoring
Many visitors will return to view the exhibit again, bring friends who may not have visited the Visual Arts Center before, thereby spreading the word about the Center's exhibits and programs. As the Festival is one of our primary fundraisers, positive revenue produced by ticket and art sales, sponsorships and good expense management is a strong determination of what worked each year.
Program Success Examples
In 2003, 8 artists participated. In 2014, 76 artists participated. People are coming to us with ideas:  1) book review; 2) lectures; 3) cooking classes; 4) wine tasting; 5) garden club arrangements;  6) poetry; 7) book readings; 8) bus trips!
Program Comments by Organization
Funding the Visual Arts Center's programs at a level high enough to ensure quality products and outstanding customer satisfaction requires assertive fundraising to supplement income from dues, class registrations and entry fees. Our small community generously supports hundreds of not-for-profit agencies, challenging each of us to find our niche and appeal to those benefactors and donors who believe in our cause.
To keep members and visitors excited and engaged, staff and board of directors reach out to new instructors, develop new classes and workshops, attend events in other communities and talk with visitors to learn why they came and what they liked. 
One challenge is to stay fresh, provide something new and unexpected in our small community. The monthly changing of exhibits, the new workshops and theme-related festivals all combine to provide a different experience each time a visitor returns.  
Program Comments by Foundation
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Mary Ann Tipton
CEO Term Start Dec 2013
CEO/Executive Director Email
Mary Ann Tipton was hired in December 2103 as the salaried executive director for the Visual Arts Center. Through a 25-year period she served in the nations' military, most recently as a Colonel in the United States Air Force and Air National Guard as the Director of Strategic Plans and Requirements for Homeland Defense. She also worked for four years  as the Director of Business Development for Port Operations and Security for L-3 Communications.
Mary Ann's goal is to refresh the building both inside and out while broadening the Center's appeal to a greater number of residents of all ages. She believes increased visitation and participation will come by creating new programs for all age groups and collaborating with other community art organizations.
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Michele Valencourt June 2001 - Dec 2013
Senior Staff
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 1
Part Time Staff 5
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 30
Volunteers 300
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
We have collaborated with the Arts & Humanities Council (local arts agency), Punta Gorda Chamber, Charlotte County Chamber and the Charlotte Symphony on events, committees, and space.
Since 2003, the VAC has supported and sponsored the Empty Bowls Project in collaboration with the Homeless Coalition, local food banks, and Charlotte County School District's hunger-awareness program.
For three years the VAC collaborated on fund-raising events for Relay for Life. The VAC offered space for the Punta Gorda Chamber's Wine and Jazz Festival's special event. 
Since spring 2012 we have collaborated with the Sea Grape Artists (Co-op) Gallery to offer art classes to disabled veterans. We worked with Charlotte County Health Department on purchasing and placement of public art.
The VAC partners with the Punta Gorda and the Charlotte County Chambers of Commerce to host business after hours and business before breakfast events. Community leaders, business owners and employers attending these events are sometimes introduced to the VAC for the first time. 
Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce2013
Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce2013
AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals)
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Outstanding Arts Organization of the YearArts & Humanities Council of Charlotte County1999
Outstanding Contribution to Charlotte County TourismCharlotte County Tourism and Visitor Bureau2009
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years 5
Strategic Plan Adopted Mar 2014
Management Succession Plan No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Management Comments by Organization
Our new executive director is moving the organization in a positive direction. Challenges include finding adequate funding to repair and improve the building's 25-year-old infrastructure, in addition to supporting increased program expenses.
Management stays abreast of deadlines and has not missed filing any IRS, state, local, federal taxes, reports, certificates, or licenses during my tenure.
Management Comments by Foundation
Board Chair
Board Chair Jane Patton
Company Affiliation Artist/Retired Executive
Board Term Oct 2014 to Oct 2016
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Patt Bacon Artist/Instructor
Bruce Bagge Community Volunteer
Jim Beech Artist/Instructor
Mary Cavanaugh Artist/Community Volunteer
Nanette Crist Community volunteer
Ellen Harvey Education
Jane Patton Artist/Retired Executive
Constance Robison Endowment Trust
Judi Roth Artist/Community Volunteer
Jolene Shong Isles Yacht Club, CPA
Jane Spencer Community Volunteer
Frank Sperry Community Volunteer
Sue Taylor Artist/Community Volunteer
Mary Ann Tipton Visual Arts Center
Bob Weitz Artist/Community Volunteer
Jared Yankwitt Merrill Lynch
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development? No
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 17
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 12
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 0
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Board Meeting Attendance % 83
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Standing Committees
Governance Comments by Organization
The Visual Arts Center's board members are dedicated volunteers from diverse backgrounds. Board members'  roles on committees, special event coordination and program management have been matched to their interests to encourage their involvement in planning, goal setting and implementation.
Board members will increase their efforts to identify volunteers possibly interested in further training to assist them to move into leadership roles. By getting volunteers involved on committees and exposing them to the organization's management strategies, some have elected to step into board positions.
Each year board members undergo training to help them understand their roles and become more effective within the organization. Many have valuable executive, management, and/or non-profit backgrounds and experience that, when identified and utilized, will become an asset to the organization.
Governance Comments by Foundation
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2015
Fiscal Year Ends 2016
Projected Revenue $421,500.00
Projected Expenses $410,600.00
Endowment Value $830,000.00
Endowment Spending Policy Income Only
Endowment Spending Policy %
Capital Campaign
In a Capital Campaign Yes
Campaign Purpose Capital campaign funds are needed to fund major roof repairs, gallery lighting and electrical upgrades, (6) air conditioning unit replacements, remodel of entry and gift shop, replacement of parking lot lighting, new outdoor digital signage, upgraded ADA ramps at front and rear doors, new flooring, hurricane code windows and doors
Campaign Goal $319,000.00
Campaign Dates May 2014 to Sept 2018
Amount Raised To Date 12000 as of Jan 2015
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
Audit/Financial Documents
Historical Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201420132012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$24,511$37,451$27,499
Investment Income, Net of Losses$58$89$162
Membership Dues$90,066$67,708$76,065
Special Events$38,041$40,652$6,738
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$294,493$299,966$335,077
Administration Expense$51,511$48,535$47,335
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.100.890.99
Program Expense/Total Expenses85%86%88%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$388,249$357,094$394,100
Current Assets$99,471$57,855$81,399
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$3,042$5,333$2,839
Total Net Assets$385,207$351,761$391,261
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountProgram Services $151,958Program service revenue $152,536Program service revenue $257,117
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountMembership Dues $90,066Membership Dues $67,708Membership Dues $76,065
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFoundation & Corporate Support $65,000Fundraising $40,652Contributions, gifts, grants $27,499
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $50,001 - $75,000
Co-CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities32.7010.8528.67
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization
  As mentioned before, strong community support exists for the hundreds of non-profits in our area. We are all challenged to set ourselves apart in a way that brings our mission and needs to the attention of the funding organizations, corporate partners and sponsor opportunities. Through community outreach and one-on-one meetings, we are working to spread the message that the Visual Arts Center needs financial support to implement its Capital Improvement Plan and repair its 25-year old building.  
   One of our biggest challenges is keeping dues and fees at an affordable level, while adequately funding the Center's multitude of programs, events and activities. To keep costs down, five of the six staff are part-time, with no benefits. Providing an enjoyable, pleasant work environment with flexible hours, free classes, and discounts offsets the low pay and no benefits.  The downside is each staff member works extremely hard and some important duties are relegated to possibly unqualified volunteers.
  Because funding does not exist to hire full-time staff, over 700 volunteer hours a month are needed to operate the center and all its programs. We appreciate the passionate volunteers who serve our organization, yet we it difficult to identify dedicated individuals willing to replace those volunteers who move on. Filling major board of director roles and committee leadership positions also continues to be challenging. To show our appreciation and thank the dedicated volunteers, we hold an annual Volunteer Luncheon. The event recognizes years of service, awards a volunteer for exceptional service, provides volunteer pins, gives prizes of discount coupons for VAC services or products and gift certificates.

   We strive to offer only the finest art classes with the best instructors, but balancing class fees with instructors salaries is an ongoing challenge. Classes are full during the busy winter months and new "clients" are eager to learn from newer instructors. We need to more fully attract our full-time residents to take summertime classes, when enrollment is historically low. Strong marketing with Facebook, YouTube and open houses are part of the strategy to market our offerings.
Financial Comments by Foundation
Organization only has audit for FY 2010. Foundations and corporations are included with individual contributions as they are not separated in the 990 or audit.  Financial figures were taken from IRS Form 990s.
Nonprofit The Charlotte County Art Guild, Inc. dba Visual Arts Center
Address 210 Maud St.
Punta Gorda, FL 33950
Primary Phone 941 639-8810