2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the Edmonton Art Club
Officially established in 1921 with fourteen Charter Members, the Edmonton Art Club ("EAC”) is the oldest continuing art organization in Alberta. It has been instrumental in helping to lay the foundation for the development of the visual arts in our province.
100 Years of Mark Making
Emerging out of the Edmonton Art Association, which formed in 1914 under the auspices of the Edmonton Public School Board, the Edmonton Art Club was formed by a group of artists who wanted to develop and nurture the visual arts in the city. Their first meeting was held on October 6, 1921 in the Tegler Building studio of artist William Johnstone.
A jury of five selected 14 Charter Members: Arthur Adam, Theodora G. Adamson, Dr. Harry E. Bulyea, Robert Campbell, C. Lionel Gibbs, James Gillies, William Johnstone (president), Fred M. Kitchener (vice-president), William M. Kitchener, A.C. Macauly, Bérangère Mercier, J. Gordon Sinclair, Justina Springer and J. Davenall Turner. By the spring of 1922, the Club mounted its first exhibition of members’ work in the McLeod Building, inaugurating an annual tradition that continues to this day.
The Club’s constitution outlined three aims, which continue to inform its activities today: to propagate a generally wider, keener and more cultivated appreciation of the fine arts; to elevate the place of local artistic effort; and to encourage the production of original work among its members by the holding of exhibitions and co-operation in the sale of work. Since their founding, the EAC has maintained an active membership ranging from 20 to 50 members annually, and they continue to hold monthly critiques, annual exhibitions and to offer artists a supportive community.
The EAC has never operated in isolation and they have always enthusiastically collaborated on any undertaking that would benefit the visual arts community, including the establishment of the Edmonton Museum of Arts (now Art Gallery of Alberta) in 1924 and the Alberta Society of Artists in 1931.*