It was regrettable that our 2020 Annual Show at the Beach Drive campus of Glenyon-Norfolk School had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. However, we can be sure that the tradition of a long-standing relationship between the VSC and GLN will endure-- even though the life of our time-honoured gymnasium has come to its end!
During the life of the Island Arts and Crafts Society, there was no regular venue for the annual exhibitions which began in 1910. The Society was obliged to search for a suitable location annually and settle for the likes of the Alexandra Club, Union Bank Building, Pemberton Building, Belmont Building, Hudson’s Bay Company, Crystal Gardens, Board of Trade Building and Coast Hall.
Similarily after 1954, under the banner of the Victoria Sketch Club, scattered venues included the Dominion Bank, the Hudson's Bay Company, Eaton's, the Hudson’s Bay Company, Eaton’s, the Dominion Hotel, the Provincial Museum and Hillside Mall. But in 1984, Victoria Sketch Club President, Liza Chesshire, a former Matron at Glenlyon Norfolk School, made an arrangement with an old colleague, school’s Headmaster Keith Walker, to hold our annual show in the school gymnasium. This reflected an earlier tie as IACS members Ina Uhthoff and Will Menelaws who, between them, had taught at the school for 21 years.
We still enjoy this close relationship between school and club, and have always been appreciative of the school’s co-operation and support.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of their deal in 2009, Keith and Liza were re-united in a cake-cutting ceremony as part of our landmark Centennial event. Sadly, both passed away in 2017.
The significance of this relationship is that in 1984, the Club, for the first time, was given a permanent annual fixture at a place we have come to regard as “home,” and in recent years we have been happy to include the artwork of GLN pupils in our shows.
Good afternoon. Some Membership news from VSC President and Executive. Please check your email for the full full communique. *The 2020 Spring Programme is cancelled as are activities at the Windsor Pavilion. *Work has begun on the Plein Air programme which is tentatively scheduled for a May start pending the current COVID-19 situation. *The AGM will be held on-line. Details are pending. *If you are doing anything interesting with your time (gardening, preparing for an upcoming show, funny stories), please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org for the upcoming newsletter. We all know that our Club is a focus of much of our social activity as well as a forum for our art work. However, we are in an unforeseen public health situation that is forcing us to take these actions. Actions that will disrupt our Club as well as our lives but given the circumstances prudence must over rule practice. Do take care personally and take whatever steps necessary to protect yourselves. Rest assure we will keep you posted on the activities we have initiated and in return please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com
This afternoon the Executive Committee of the Victoria Sketch Club met and decided based on the current information available necessary to cancel its 111th Annual Art Show scheduled for next week at the Glenlyon Norfolk Junior School Campus.
Our decision was based on a potential case of the Coronavirus [ COVID 19] at the Glenlyon Norfolk School. While we do not know the test results the reality is that prudence must take precedence over planned public events such as our art show which The Honourable Janet Austin Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia was slated to open on the evening of 17 March.
Additionally, we did not wish to interfere with the School’s planned programme to cleanse the campus. We regret having to make this decision but it was necessary. If the public health situation clarifies with the coming of spring we may reschedule our show sometime later in 2020.
The period leading up to our annual exhibition is inevitably one of furious activity, stress and – as our history shows – some controversy.
Hanging committees are typically under pressure from members bidding for the more favourable placements or seeking special consideration such as the grouping of their pictures. But one particular event stands out. According to a piece in the Victoria Daily Colonist, dated August 18 1957, “the biggest boner in Victoria Art history was pulled back in the 1930s by members of the Island Arts and Crafts Society – they hid Emily Carr paintings behind a door at one of their exhibitions."
It is assumed that the hanging committee at that time felt that these avant-garde pictures had little merit, at least in the eyes of those more predisposed to genteel English watercolours than bold totems or sensuous trees and skies. Perhaps the committee felt themselves justified in protecting the sensitivities of a culturally conservative Victoria public.
The committee may well have been mindful of the warning issued by past Society president, Dr, Edward Hassell, artistically a die hard conservative, but otherwise a well-respected resident medical officer at the Royal Jubilee Hospital. In his diagnosis, the good Doctor expressed the fear that Emily had suffered “an attack of Neo- or Post-impressionism,” a virus imported from her time in Paris which would leave her permanently squint-eyed.
In 2005, a Times-Colonist reporter good-humouredly reported that our Club still wears the philistine image of this slight like a paint-spattered smock. Indeed, by the turn of the century, War Canoes, a work of the now iconic Emily Carr had sold for $1,018,750 at the Heffel Fine Art Auction House in Toronto, and a record $1,121,250 was bid on a forest scene titled Quiet. But perhaps we should show some mercy to those hapless hangers. The scale of this vindication would have astonished even the likes of Uhthoff, Maynard and Shadbolt, Carr’s staunchest contemporary admirers in the Society.