Newark Art Club is now in it’s 71st year. It was proposed
on the 27th July 1945 that there should be a ‘Newark Art Club’ to encourage the advancement
of the arts in the district. The Clubs meetings were held monthly in the hall of
the Newark Technical College in the form of lectures and demonstrations on a variety
of subjects: painting, sculpture, architecture and crafts such as engraving, linocut,
marionette theatre and fashion. Members were not actively involved but watched and
The Club’s first exhibition took place in the gallery above the Appletongate
Museum in October 1946. The early catalogues of paintings cost one penny and the
price of works ranged from £2 to £5. Members of the Club came from many walks of
life including Sid Vanns, who was appointed cartoonist for the Newark Advertiser.
Gradually Newark Art Club became more and more concerned with painting and other
elements fell away.
Around this time grants were sought to help with the payments to tutors for
‘painting weekends’. These ceased in the 1970’s, but in the last two years ‘day workshops’
and ‘sketching mornings’ have been developed for members’ benefit.
In this year the Club became the ‘Newark Society of Artists’. The objective
of the re-organisation was to concentrate on active participation painting in all
mediums and to enable amateur and professional artists to work together. Meetings
were still monthly.
The matter of finding a suitable and affordable studio was a constant problem.
Venues included a studio in a small building which has been the Tourist Information
Centre, a studio in Guildhall Street, a room at the Grove Hotel in Balderton, and
in 1982 the Society moved to the Old Chapel in Beacon Hill Road.
In the early ’80s active membership dropped and another move was made to the
Craft Room at Lilley and Stone School. During the Annual General Meeting of 1987
it was decided to change the name of the Society of Artists to the Newark Art Club
as this was less likely to put off potential members and the need to attract new
members was urgent.
The Club moved to the art room at the Lilley and Stone School in 1989 and
thrived with older and younger generation members. A mentor system (still in existence
today) operated to help and encourage beginners. The Club has been represented at
exhibitions in Millgate Folk Museum, the Gilstrap Centre, Cromwell Village Hall,
North Muskham Church and Caunton Hall.
Present Day Membership is now in the 60’s, including both beginners and experienced
artists. Meetings are held every Wednesday between 7.00pm and 9.00pm in the Art Rooms
at The Newark Academy. Included in the programmes of activity are visits by professional
artists to give demonstrations in different media, free tutorial help for beginners,
local exhibitions, visits to places of artistic interest, specialist painting days,
outdoor sketching and social events. The annual membership fee is £15.00 and it costs
£2.00 for each meeting, including refreshments.