Founded in 1960 the museum houses the nation's largest exhibit of paintings by A. E. Backus including some of his earliest paintings as well as his last painting, left unfinished at his death in 1990. In addition to the Gallery's permanent collection, privately owned paintings by Backus, selected Highwaymen and Indian River School artists are available for purchase. Additional exhibition areas feature artwork from contemporary artists from across the U.S. on a rotating basis. Nationally recognized shows are also featured. Until May 2, 2014, "Pop Rocks - Icons, Heroes and the Mundane" features works from Warhol, Cutrone, Ceravolo and ceramic artist Shalene Valenzuela. In the fall, the popular Best of the Best Show offers opportunities to artists in a juried open show.