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Spotlight On: The National Arts Club

A private club opened in 1898, the National Arts Club was founded by Charles De Kay, a literary and art critic, with the intent “to stimulate, foster and promote public interest in the arts and educate the American people in the fine arts,” a mission which the club still endorses. Looking for a permanent residence for creative individuals to gather, the club bought the breathtaking Samuel Tilden House at 15 Gramercy Park South. A gorgeous example of Victorian design with quintessential Gothic qualities, the sandstone building exudes an eeriness of the creative deliberations and artistic contemplation that occurred (and still occurs) within its Gothic ornamented walls. Members and guests have the luxury to walk beneath the stain glassed dome, admire the elaborate bay windows and all but gush over the Italian wood fireplaces—all architectural and stylistic details purposefully designed to promote creative thought.

Founded in the hopes that artistic discussion would take place in America rather than Americans looking abroad in order to quench their creative appetites, the club also took pride in its ability to welcome all types of artistic formats—as well as people. The National Arts Club was one of the first private clubs to not only allow women indoors, but also as equal members. Past female members included the renowned painter Cecilia Beaux, and the sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, who were part of an exclusive list that included American Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Dwight D. Eisenhower. To this day, numerous individuals in each artistic division, from architecture to music, hold on safely to their club key—only National Arts Club members and Gramercy Park residents are allowed into the beautiful and locked park just across the street. — Nicole Ellul
The National Arts Club
15 Gramercy Park South
New York, NY 10003-1796
(212) 475-3424

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