The National Arts Club

15 Gramercy Park South

The National Arts Club is a private club whose membership is dedicated to furthering art and artists in America. They accomplish this by fostering educational programs and awards, while creating opportunities for artists to connect. The Club was f... more

The National Arts Club is a private club whose membership is dedicated to furthering art and artists in America. They accomplish this by fostering educational programs and awards, while creating opportunities for artists to connect. The Club was founded in 1898 by Charles de Kay. Charles de Kay was the literary and art critic for The New York Times for 18 years. He and a group of distinguished artists and patrons conceived of agathering place for artists, patrons and audiences in all the arts. American art at the turn of the century had begun to look inward for inspiration, rather than to Europe, and the American art world was alive with energy. The National Arts Club is located in the historic Tilden Mansion. 15 Gramercy Park was built in the 1840's and its original flat-front, iron-grilled appearance matched the style of the houses still maintained on the west side of Gramercy Park. Samuel Tilden acquired 15 Gramercy Park in the 1860's, and in the 1870's gave the house a massive overhaul. Tilden hired Calvert Vaux, a famed architect and one of the designers of Central Park to "victorianize" the facade with sandstone, bay windows and Gothic Ornamentation. John LaFarge cre... more

The National Arts Club is a private club whose membership is dedicated to furthering art and artists in America. They accomplish this by fostering educational programs and awards, while creating opportunities for artists to connect.

The Club was founded in 1898 by Charles de Kay. Charles de Kay was the literary and art critic for The New York Times for 18 years. He and a group of distinguished artists and patrons conceived of agathering place for artists, patrons and audiences in all the arts. American art at the turn of the century had begun to look inward for inspiration, rather than to Europe, and the American art world was alive with energy.

The National Arts Club is located in the historic Tilden Mansion. 15 Gramercy Park was built in the 1840's and its original flat-front, iron-grilled appearance matched the style of the houses still maintained on the west side of Gramercy Park. Samuel Tilden acquired 15 Gramercy Park in the 1860's, and in the 1870's gave the house a massive overhaul. Tilden hired Calvert Vaux, a famed architect and one of the designers of Central Park to "victorianize" the facade with sandstone, bay windows and Gothic Ornamentation. John LaFarge created stained glass ceilings for the inside of the mansion, and Italian wood carvers made the fireplaces. Glass master Donald MacDonald wrought a unique stained glass dome for the building. All of this prompted architect Philip Johnson to call the mansion, "among the most beautiful in New York." Spencer Trask and the Board of Governors acquired the Tilden Mansion in 1906 as the new home for the National Arts Club.

The Tilden Mansion is both a designated New York Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. In the 1960's, New York declared 15 Gramercy Park South a New York Landmark, and in 1976, the Federal government declared it a National Historic Landmark. The Tilden Mansion continues to inspire artists from around the world. NAC member Albinus Elskus undertook a restoration of the MacDonald dome in the 1970's, and recently, in 2000, Danish sculptor Tycho Flore created a piece inspired by and from the same material as the Calvert Vaux facade.

The National Arts Club admitted women on a full and equal basis from its inception. The National Arts Club has a long history of exclusivity through inclusivity. Charles Spencer Trask, Charles Rollison Lamb, Charles de Kay and the other co-founders recognized the importance of many female artists and saw no reason to treat them differently from male artists. The National Arts Club continues its tradition of inclusivity by welcoming minority artists and fighting for the rights of minority students.

The Club's Membership has included three presidents, and some of the most important artists and arts patrons in America. Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Dwight D. Eisenhower were all Members of the National Arts Club. Among the distinguished painters who have been Members are Robert Henri, Frederic Remington, William Merritt Chase and Cecilia Beaux. Sculptors have included Saint-Gaudens, Daniel Chester French, Anna Hyatt Huntington and Paul Manship. Many renowned literary figures have also been members. The National Arts Club is proud of its early recognition of new media artforms, like photography, film and digital media, and counts Alfred Stieglitz as one of its early Members. Musicians Victor Herbert and Walter Damrosch were Members, as were architects Stanford White and George B. Post. The Dramatic Arts are currently represented by Members Martin Scorcese, Ethan Hawke, Dennis Hopper, Robert Redford and Uma Thurman.

The National Arts Club fosters young artists with a number of awards and scholarships. Many of the committees award scholarships to young artists, writers and singers. The Joseph Kesselring Award supports promising playwrights, some of whom have gone on to win Pulitzer Prizes. The National Arts Club Opera Competition attracts international applications. The Club is as committed to nurturing young talent as it is to recognizing established artists.

The National Arts Club is run by volunteers. The National Arts Club hosts some of the most exciting events in New York—art unveilings, award dinners, film screenings, lectures, dances and anything else you can think of. All of these programs, as well as the scholarship competitions, exhibitions and other activities are coordinated by the Membership as volunteers who act out of their love for the arts and the Club, and thus broaden the public's understanding of our broad cultural community. Click on the schedule tab above to see what's currently on.


Drag the street view to look around 360°.
Use the arrow buttons to navigate down the street and around the neighborhood!

East Village Description

The National Arts Club is located in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan. Long before the musical "Rent" brought in legions of pierced, tattooed teenagers from every corner of America (and drove up the rents), the East Village was an eclectic mix of elderly Ukranians and Poles, Dominican and Puerto Rican families, and assorted artists, wanna-be bohemians, punks, their followers, lovers and friends. (Did we leave anyone out?) Largely gone are the heroin dealers, all night parties, punk music extravaganzas and infamous Bagel Tree of the 1980s and early 1990s, but the real landmarks remain, including the Joseph Papp Public Theater, Tompkins Square Park, and Cooper Union. The Public offers some of New York’s finest Off-Broadway Theater as well as Joe’s Pub, with a diverse variety of live shows. Beautiful Tompkins Square Park offers something for everyone, including dog runs, basketball courts, a weekly market, outdoor music events, and occasionally local characters chatting late into the night to infrequent riots. To be fair, few other parks in America have played such an important role in radical or anarchist history.

Many long-time residents complain of the neighborhood’s recent gentrification, and skyrocketing rents forced even legendary punk club CBGB's to exit the neighborhood, replaced by a John Varvatos boutique. And while there are truly many new restaurants and boutiques dotting Avenues A, B and C, lots of the famous watering holes, dives, and other unclassifiably scrappy bars remain. Some of our favorites include Mars on lower First Avenue, Zum Schneider on Avenue C, 2A on the corner of Second Street and Avenue A, and Lit Lounge, with its adjoining Fuse Gallery. Make sure to check out the Polish butcher stores on First Avenue and the nearby Italian pastry shops, walk along the Ukranian strip of Second Avenue, try one of the Japanese restaurants on East Ninth Street, and also walk along St. Marks Place, one of New York’s most eclectic streets.

East 4th Street's Theater Row boasts cultural buildings which house eight theaters and twelve dance companies as well as a couple of community development groups. Among its members are New York Theater Workshop, La MaMa Experimental Theatre, Rod Rodgers Dance Co., WOW Cafe Theatre, Millennium Film Workshop, Duo Multicultural Arts Center, Teatro Circulo, Downtown Art, Alpha Omega Dance Co., Choices Theater, Teatro IATI, Cooper Square Committee and Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association.

The Nuyorican Poets Café is still going strong on East Third Street between Avenues B and C. Since 1973 its mission has been to create a multi-cultural venue that provides a stage for artists traditionally underrepresented in the mainstream media and culture. Poetry slams, theater performances, open jam sessions for hip-hop, poetry and jazz, as well as unique screenplay readings all take place on a weekly basis in this intimate cultural setting.

For film buffs, we would be remiss not to mention the Anthology Film Archives on East 2nd Street, a local theater best known for consistently showing the finest in avant-garde and experimental cinema. We also recommend the Landmark Sunshine Cinema on East Houston Street, home away from home for those who enjoy great acoustics and the company of die hard independent film fans.

The East Village is also home to the trendy Cooper Square Hotel as well as the charming Gem Hotel, making it a great neighborhood to enjoy your stay in New York.

There are no events taking place on this date.

Info

15 Gramercy Park South
New York, NY 10003
(212) 475-3424
Website

Editorial Rating

Nearby Subway

  • to 23rd Street

@NACArchitecture

8:00pm, nac presents it's third annual program on the Grand Projects of Paris and the architectural ramifications, Mary Campbell Gallagher March 21, 2012

@NY_Places Paul Whelan is tuesday night 8:00 pm #architecture February 28, 2012

RT @NY_Places: More buzz for National Arts Club:
http://t.co/U8tRzMnd - RT @NACArchitecture 8:00 pm National Arts club, Paul Whelan of R ... February 28, 2012

8:00 pm National Arts club, Paul Whelan of Robert A.M Stern Architects talking about high rise living join @SPiNNewYorkCity @classicist February 28, 2012

view all

Other Historic City Sites Attractions

Snug Harbor

Located on the north shore of Staten Island, just minutes from the Staten Island... view

South Street Seaport

For over 300 years, the seaport has been vital to New York's success as a port c... view

St. Patrick's Old Cathedral

New York City's first Roman Catholic cathedral, St. Patrick's Old Cathedral was ... view

Saint Paul's Church

This 18th-century church is one of New York's oldest parishes (1665-1980). It wa... view