The Richmond Artists Guild
RAG was founded in 1955, at that time a group of artists were gathering in each others homes to exchange ideas, critique artwork and increase their knowledge of art. The principal objective of the guild is to “promote and encourage art in all forms, especially in painting, and to encourage all art interests in the community”.
In September 1955, seventeen artists met at the home of Mrs. E. McKendrick to form Richmond Artists Guild , responding to an article headlined “Calling Artists and Art Students” in the Richmond Review, Wednesday, September 14, 1955. The plan was to unite existing small groups under “The idea and purpose of this Active Art Group to be that of a Progressive Social Group holding outdoor painting, with Shows of their work in Oils or other mediums.”
Immediate action was taken and decisions were made to hold outdoor painting on Sundays and evening groups on Mondays. The first outdoor painting was September 25. Under the sponsorship of the Federation of Canadian Artists and with the approval of President J.A.S. McDonald. the first group showing was held October 15-20 in the Lambert Street Potteries, 866 Howe St., Vancouver. It was transferred to Hi-Fi Record Library 2059 W.41st Avenue for one month starting November 14th.
The Vancouver Art Gallery also took an interest in the new group and in November, at a meeting in VAG, honourable mention was awarded to the Richmond Artists Guild when speakers gave an account of their summer’s activities in educational and recreational art programmes.
The Guild show in 1956 in the Richmond Home Furniture Store, 694 #3 Road, from March 15 -31 was the first of its kind in Richmond.
In May 1957, Richmond Artists Guild was invited to a show sponsored by the West Vancouver Sketch Club. At the exhibition, held in Park Royal. Guild member, Mrs.Rosemary Brown was chosen the best Guild artist and awarded a UBC scholarship.
Richmond Artists Guild was sponsored by Val Warren Enterprises to exhibit in the 1957 PNE in the B.C. Manufacturers Building where they also did demonstrations in charcoal, pencil and pastel.
The Guild continued to participate in several shows each year- among others – at the Legion, Steveston Community Centre, Vancouver Museum, RCAF base on Sea Island. PNE, Stanley Park under the sponsorship of the FCA, and in the foyer of the Municipal Hall on June 28, 1958 for Richmond Centennial Day.
Social activities included attending annual FCA banquets which featured various themes such as “A Gala Night in Paris”.
Meantime, as a group, the Guild had no fixed location. In October 1955, they had obtained the Art Room at Richmond High for $3.50 per night. By December 1958, meetings were held in the Library Building. Later meeting places were the Credit Union Building, Rod and Gun Club, Steveston Recreation Centre, and Committee Room 2 at Minoru Pavilion. By 1967, the Guild had accommodation for meetings and workshops in the Richmond Arts Centre. Later, during the construction of the new Cultural Centre, Guild activities took place in the old Safeway building at #3 and Westminster Highway. Membership ranged from 60 to 80 members.Richmond Artist Guild had a close relationships with Municipal Council and the Recreation Advisory Board. In 1962, the Guild was asked for submissions to a five-year development plan. An Art Gallery was planned for Richmond and the Guild was asked to submit ideas for it too. A Community Arts Council was formed in 1971 and RAG obtained charter membership. The Council had representatives from arts groups and a Council member and continued like this for a number of years until formation changed to an independent group and arts groups were no longer represented. Richmond Artist Guild took part in fundraising for the new Cultural Centre with Library and Art Gallery as well as helping apply for the grants from the Provincial Government and the Federal Government. After the new Centre was built, RAG held meetings and Life Drawing in the Painting Room. As well, for many years, RAG had annual exhibitions in the Art Gallery. Shows were also held in shopping malls.
Currently ( 2017), membership is 60+, meetings are held the 2nd Wednesday of the month September to June with artist demonstrations and critiques. Life Drawing is held the other Wednesdays. A high-school student is given a scholarship to attend Life Drawing. RAG holds annual shows in the Rotunda of the Cultural Centre and has held shows in Gateway Theatre and Rocanini Coffee Shop in Steveston.
In 2007, Men in Hats was founded by a core group of artists from the Lower Mainland who met regularly to paint on location. The name refers to the plein air headgear – essential for painting outdoors rain or shine. Several of these artists were members of Richmond Artists Guild and the group includes anyone- male or female- interested in painting outside. Men in Hats meets on Tuesdays at locations listed on their website (www.meninhats.ca) from May to October. In the winter, non-instructional studio sessions are held on Tuesdays.The group fulfills the plein air painting activity that was one of the original reasons for the formation of the Guild.
An annual charitable fundraiser, GuessWho?, will be held for the third year with Richmond Food Bank the beneficiary. As one of the Resident Art Groups, Richmond Artists Guild participates in Cultural Days. RAG belongs to the Richmond Arts Coalition.
Membership is open to anyone in the lower mainland of British Columbia with an interest in the visual arts. An annual fee of $65 is applicable from members joining from September to June.
Guild executives are elected each year at the annual General Meeting. Guild executive and committee members are listed in the monthly newsletter.
Regular meetings are held at the Richmond Cultural Centre, Painting Room, every second Wednesday of each month from 6:45 –9 pm. These meetings normally include a live demonstration featuring various techniques from professional artists.
The guild offers workshops during the year as well as free demonstrations at many of the monthly general meetings. Each year the workshop committee schedule interesting and informative workshops and demonstrations ranging from beginner to advanced levels.
The guild publishes a monthly newsletter containing information about exhibits, events and members as well as minutes from the monthly and annual general meetings.