Contemporary Art Society
(since 1973)

The History of the Contemporary Art Society
By Kathy Richards

Our group began when two friends, Pauline Manning and Jill Field Alexander,
got together after the Nova Scotia Society of Artists disbanded and decided
to start their own group in March of 1973. About 25 people showed up, many
of them established artists. Pauline became the first president, Jill the
first treasurer and Tom Bauld agreed to help make up an official charter
with a set of rules about how the society should be run.
One important factor was that each member be an active and participating
artist; no matter what their skill level. The main purpose of the group was
to bring the artists together and provide stimulating contact to challenge
and encourage each other to develop their creative abilities. At each
meeting they strived to accomplish this endeavour by various means, such as
each member painting their own interpretation of the same subject matter and
then showing and discussing their work, watching films or working to music
and even live dance rehearsals.
Our first annual show was held in September 1974 at the School of
Architecture on Spring Garden Road and it opened with some very positive
reviews in the local papers. There was a wide range of mediums, styles and
subject matter as well as different degrees of skill/
What does it take to keep such a group going and thriving for 30 years? Over
the years there have been many shifts varying core members and changing
views; however, the basic concept along with the support of the artistic
community has always remained strong throughout. As with any society, each
member's contribution has been and continues to be critical and essential in
creating as well as influencing the outcome of the group's future. With such
a solid beginning, thanks to members such as Pauline (who sadly passed away
in 1975), Jill, Tom and the many other artists who first supported the
society, it was off to a fabulous start. Their enthusiasm and willingness to
put so much energy into the society has inspired those who have followed to
take up the society's principles and incite one another to continuously
strive for the next level in their creative endeavours.
As we all know, (or I believe we should) some of the best artists in the
world reside in Nova Scotia and many of those, over the years, have come
from the Contemporary Art Society "family." They have all contributed and
instilled their version of "art" within the society as well as having it fan
out throughout the artistic community in Nova Scotia and beyond. The
artists, too numerous to mention, should be congratulated and take pride in
their contribution to the society and to the community as a whole.
The Contemporary Art Society celebrated its 30 year birthday in 2004.