The Gadsden Art Association (GAA) was founded to:

In 1958 the Gadsden Art Association sponsored traveling art exhibits such as the Circuit Riders, American Watercolor Society, and the Beautiful Sears Contemporary and an exhibit of the finest works of local artists.  Admission to the exhibits was pledged toward building a museum of art in Gadsden. 

The goal to found a museum was realized in October 1963 when then Mayor Leslie Gilliland offered three rooms at Convention Hall as museum space.  Rules and bylaws were drawn up and a Board of Directors organized to begin operation of the Gadsden Art Museum.  The museum effort was assisted by the director of the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Museum who provided guidance and support in helping raise money, build, and operate the museum.  The first exhibit, the 35th Annual Juried Exhibition of Alabama Art League, opened on January 17, 1965.  While the museum moved several times before opening its permanent home in the center of downtown Gadsden at 515 Broad Street, the strong partnership between the GAA and the Gadsden Art Museum continues the thrive.

The Gadsden Art Association presents an annual show that evolved from a members’ show to a juried show open to members and non-members.  The show is a featured exhibit during summer at the Gadsden Art Museum. 

The Gadsden Art Association introduced Art on the Rocks, an outdoor art and craft show at Noccalula Falls Park in May, and an indoor art and craft show in December.  These shows were presented annually for many years.