Joann Crisp-Ellert, for whom the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum is named, was a long time supporter of arts and education long before she even moved to and became a vital part of the St. Augustine community in the early 1990s.
A well loved author and artist, Crisp-Ellert was a consummate academic; she received a B.F.A. from Syracuse University, and her M.F.A. and Ph.D. degrees from American University, Washington, D.C. In addition, the Andrew Mellon Foundation awarded her a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Yale University in order to continue her education. Crisp-Ellert also received numerous collegiate degrees abroad from the Royal College of Art and the Sorbonne.
Though she was known for exhibiting her paintings worldwide, Crisp-Ellert was most predominantly involved in the Washington D.C. arts community throughout her vast career. Known for her vividly colorful paintings of unexpected scale and composition, her work is represented in several museum collections including the collections at American University and Yale University, as well as the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
While residing in Washington D.C., Joann served as president of the D.C. Chapter of Artist Equity, served on the Board of the Coalition of Washington Artists and also held curatorial positions at the National Gallery of Art as well as the Hirshhorn Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden. In addition to being a prolific painter, Crisp-Ellert was also an active professor of the humanities and a widely published author.
Joann and her husband Robert Ellert bought the Anderson Cottage at 48 Sevilla Street in 1999 and were immediately attracted to the Flagler College campus, which was directly across the street from the couple’s home. Over the years, Crisp-Ellert and Dr. Ellert became increasingly involved with campus life by attending lectures and events on campus and even served on the President’s Board for a period of time. The pair served as a vital source of support for the college, intellectually and financially and at Joann’s passing in 2007, the family agreed to donate the Crisp-Ellert home and studio for the benefit of Flagler College.
The Crisp-Ellert Art Museum, as it stands today, is Joann Crisp-Ellert’s expanded former studio. The 1,400 square foot space is used to exhibit important cultural and historical exhibitions, as well as the work of national and international contemporary artists in order to expand student’s educational resources through interaction with working artists in today’s art world. Additionally, the museum houses the student B.A. and B.F.A. exhibitions each fall and spring semester and exhibits work by Flagler College faculty and alumni. Two of Crisp-Ellert’s self-portraits remain on permanently display in the museum in order to remind viewers of her ongoing legacy as a key facilitator to the arts and education.
Built in honor of Dr. JoAnn Crisp-Ellert and her husband, Dr. Robert Ellert, the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum offers Flagler College students and the Northeast Florida community a venue for fostering knowledge and a deep appreciation of contemporary art. As an educational resource for the College, the Museum exhibits regional, national and international artists, and provides opportunities for critical engagement and exposure to a variety of exhibitions and personal interactions with visiting artists. The Museum challenges students, the Flagler community and the public to cultivate individual creativity, critical reflection, historical consciousness and respect for the free exchange of ideas. In this spirit, the Museum also hosts public programs, including artist talks, readings, panel discussions and film series that provide a platform for vital interdisciplinary dialogue.