The organization known as the Bay Area Friends of the Fine Arts, Inc. was formed in 1968 by a small group of parents and teachers who lived in the Bayport-Blue Point area of Suffolk County's South Shore. Its purpose was to bring the fine arts into the school and community by sponsoring touring dance and theatrical troupes, and opera studio recitals and the like. For a number of years an annual "Art In" was held, where exhibits of artists' works were combined with musical events in day-long affairs.
From the beginning a symphony orchestra has been supported giving three or four concerts annually. In addition, a chorus has existed intermittently and has performed both separately and with the orchestra. Both the orchestra and chorus depend on dedicated volunteers, amateur and semi-professional musicians, selected students and an important core of professional musicians and music teachers. The music director/orchestra conductor and the chorus director are professional musicians, assisted by part-time orchestra and chorus managers.
For several years, BAFFA rented the Robinson Cottage at the Islip Grange in Sayville using it for a combined office and art gallery. In 1984 these functions were moved to the Gillette House on Gillette Avenue, Sayville. Art exhibitions are held there; the works of local artists are selected, organized into shows, publicized and hung by a volunteer committee.
BAFFA was incorporated in 1977. It is governed by a volunteer board of directors elected at the annual meeting held each Fall. The Board meets on the first Monday of each month, and its meetings are open to the public. BAFFA is open to all and its community friends are its backbone. They serve on committees, raise money, gallery sit, vote on decisions affecting the organization, and of course receive all BAFFA news and publicity. BAFFA is truly a community, grass-roots cultural force.