When John and Eleanor Delibero opened the Northgate Pharmacy on North Main Street in the winter of 1964, they had no idea of the impact that they would make in the area’s art community.

As a new business owner, John had to build a clientele. The days were long with not much traffic. He passed the time by painting in the backroom. The finished paintings were hung in the store for sale.

Peter Mador, formerly of the advertising department at the Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise, talked John into placing an ad calling for submissions to an art show that John and Eleanor would facilitate. The response was surprising and exciting. Held in the parking lot of the Northgate Pharmacy in the fall of 1965, the show attracted so much interest by area artists that nearly 350 pieces of artwork were exhibited that day.

Thus began the meeting of eight people in the home of John and Eleanor at 19 Doyle Street. As the group grew they realized they needed more space. They began meeting on the third Tuesday of the month, and within a few years developed by-laws, which would lead them to incorporate as a nonprofit organization.

The main objective early on was to bring local artists together for discussion and camaraderie; but as time went on the association’s goals grew to fostering and developing artistic talent and promoting appreciation for art within the general public.