Summit Art began in 2003 as a small group of local artists looking for exhibition opportunities, camaraderie and professional development in visual art in the local community. The group soon formed a partnership with Saint Luke’s East Hospital in Lee’s Summit allowing juried artist members to display their artwork for sale in the hospital. In 2004, the organization filed articles of incorporation under the name “Summit Art and International Equine Art and Historical Association Inc.” which was amended to “Summit Art” in 2010. Tax-exempt status under Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code was granted on December 16, 2008.
Summit Art began hosting its annual signature event, the Longview Art & World Music Festival, in 2007 in the New Longview area of Lee’s Summit. In 2013, the three-day outdoor weekend festival, now known as Summit Art Festival, moved to downtown Lee’s Summit, and is still located in the center of that bustling entertainment and historical district. The festival has grown to cover three city blocks, with 100 artist booths, a Student Art Pavilion, food trucks, live musical performances and the Stuck On Art live competition.
Our second annual signature event, the Summit Art Plein Air Festival, began in April 2021. This weekend event features artists from all across the Midwest painting “en plein air” (outdoors) on 31-acres of historic property at Crestview Dairy, located at 83rd & Lee’s Summit Road and also in downtown Lee’s Summit for a one-day “Paint Downtown” event. Photography and other fine art are showcased throughout the weekend, in addition to the “Art Show & Sale”, where artworks created during the weekend are judged for awards and are for sale to the public. Food & Beverage trucks provide delicious street fare. The Lee’s Summit Symphony and other local musicians perform live during the weekend.
In addition to the Summit Art Gallery at Saint Luke’s East Hospital, the largest fine art gallery in eastern Jackson County, Summit Art took over operation of GOT Art Gallery on Third Street in downtown Lee’s Summit, a brick and mortar street-front space, in 2011. GOT Art became the principal corporate office of Summit Art and its base of operations. Over the years GOT Art Gallery held over 200 exhibitions of art created by local, regional and national artists, including Summit Art juried artist members. GOT Art Gallery also hosted art classes, workshops and social parties. GOT Art closed in August 2019. In recent years, three sub-groups of juried artist members have formed to host monthly networking and critique sessions: Summit Art Photographers and Friends, Artist Coffee (formerly Summit Art Fine Art Forum), and Summit Art Glass Artists.
Today, Summit Art continues to lead local communities in visual arts engagement, networking and professional development, with an independent self-perpetuating board of directors and a voting membership of more than 140, including juried artists, students, art educators, general members and corporate/gallery members.