The woman who helped put Beaufort on the map as one of the best American towns for art, who oversaw the development of the Beaufort Art Association gallery, who is herself a prolific and popular artist, was honored with a featured-artist show at the BAA Gallery from Sept. 18, 2005, until the end of October.

Ellen Long is a virtual dynamo in the Beaufort art world. Establishment of the BAA gallery, which at any given time showcases the artwork of one hundred local artists, was under Ellen’s leadership. That achievement earned her a Beaufort Chamber Civitas Award in 2004. The first BAA gallery was an empty bank on Port Republic Street. Ellen designed moveable display walls, gallery lighting, organized a painting brigade and transformed the abandoned rooms into a proper gallery. She then served two and a half years as gallery chair. When the BAA decided to move, it was Ellen who headed the search committee and oversaw the transformation of Elliott house into the new gallery. She started the first BAA satellite gallery at Low Country Medical, a program which has grown to include eight public venues, among them the county government buildings, where BAA artists hang their work.

Before moving to Beaufort ten years ago, Ellen was a prominent interior designer in Atlanta. As president of the Georgia chapters of two professional design organizations, she helped draft the legislation that defines the legal qualifications for interior designers in the state of Georgia. Her interest in architecture, interior and exterior, is evident locally in special projects she has painted for Pinckney Retreat and the Beaufort Inn.

Most of Ellen’s art is focused on her intimate association with the shore, from Maine to the Chesapeake to her beloved Fripp Island, where she lives with her husband, Leon, and where she wakes up every day to the music of beach and ocean. “I try to plan every painting with the view of sharing my excitement about the creatures − the wading birds, the shore turtles, the crabs the deer − and the incredible light and the sheer magic of the shore and marsh,” she says. Capture the magic she does, winning prizes in local and regional art shows. Her painting of a sunset-bathed Beaufort River was selected for the poster celebrating 2004’s fiftieth annual Water Festival.

In recent years, Ellen’s watercolors have grown larger and bolder. She has intensified her colors and now brings the viewer up close to her subjects in such a way they cannot help but share that excitement she talked about. To bring the viewer even closer, she has developed a way of displaying and protecting watercolor paintings without the need of glass or plexi in the frames. This eliminates the problems that traditionally framed watercolors have with glare and reflections in Beaufort’s bright atmosphere.

Ellen does custom framing through her business, Ellen Long Designs, on Fripp Island. She is frequently asked to do commissions of subjects ranging from homes to specific landscape views, to pets. Her work is displayed at The Art Market at Fordham Market, as well as the BAA Gallery and satellites. The BAA Gallery, located in the George Elliott House at 1001 Bay Street, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For additional information, please telephone Ellen Long, (843) 838-3205 or the BAA Gallery, (843) 379-2222.