The Antrim Art Club was formed in the early ‘50’s. Mr Maurice Collis, an accountant was the first President and the Committee Dr E Coyle, Mr W Knox, local businessman and Mr B Reid Principal teacher. The first meeting was held in the Old Methodist Hall in Fountain Street and continued there for many years.
Maurice C Wilks (1910-1984) was the first tutor at the first painting workshop on the 19 October, 1951. Seventy five per cent of his pupils were beginners at that class. Maurice Wilks was born in Belfast in 1910 the son of a linen designer. He received his academic education at Malone Public School, Belfast and at Belfast College of Art. In his early years as an artist he lived in Cushendun.
The next tutor was Fred Allen who was an art teacher at Stranmillis College and an art critic on the News Letter, Belfast. Fred was forthright in his opinions of the members paintings but encouraging, helping them to develop their own style.
He was followed by Irish landscape artist Kenneth Webb born in London, in 1927. He studied drawing and fine art painting at the Cheltenham/Gloucester College of Art (1948-52), exhibiting at the Royal Academy (RA) in 1949 - before becoming Head of Painting at the Ulster College of Art, Belfast (1953-60). There, his assistants included Tom Carr, John Luke and Colin Middleton. The next tutor was one of Kenneth Webb’s assistant teachers, Anne Tallentire who is now an established artist and her most recent Exhibition was in May 2010. Born in Armagh, she has lived and worked in London since 1984.
1951 -1965 The Antrim Art Club was a painting group during these years led by a tutor at the painting evenings with Isaac Magee as leader.
1966 - The Club minutes began on 21 October 1966 in the 15th year. The meeting was held in the Reading Room, Muckamore. Nine members were present. All agreed at this meeting that the Club should be more alive! President Isaac Magee, Sec, Mr Cardwell and Mrs Allen were joint Sec. Mr M Duffin Treasurer. M’ship fee £3.
1967- Members began meeting in The Studio in the Castle Grounds. New President is now Mrs G.M Smith, the members were now painting with Mr Wilfred Haughton(1921-1999).
Around this time I was studying art at school and Mrs Rosemary Campell took me to some of the meetings. I still have the still life drawings I did at that time, little did I know then I would be writing the history and be President in the 60th year. I did not continue to attend meetings as I thought the members were a bit old for me at the time, but now I seem to have caught up!
1968 Membership raised to £4. Mrs M Allen Sec. Mrs Margaret Murphy member gave a lecture on texture and design using polymer paints, course sand and finally oils creating a 3 dimensional painting.
1969 President Mr Stan Cardwell, Sec. Mrs M Allen, Treas. Mr M Duffin. Members painted with Kenneth Webb at his studio at Ballywalter.
1970 Pres. Mrs G.M. Smith Sec. Mrs McConnell, Treas. Mr J Allen. Plans were made to exhibit in the Antrim Agricultural Show and in the Antrim Courthouse. It was agreed that Mr Wilfred Haughton and Mr Kenneth Webb should both tutor. At that time there was an exhibition in the Antrim Courthouse of paintings by Tom Carr and George Campbell in June ’70.
1971 20th year. Office Bearers as above. Tutors Anne Tallentire and Wilfred Haughton. Kenneth Webb was unable to come to Antrim to tutor because of “The Troubles” worsening.
1972/73 Change of Treasurer to Mr Magee. Tuesday was then Club night.
1973/74 Club membership now £4.50. Pres. Mrs G.M Smith, Sec. Mrs J Connor Treas. Mr Issac Magee.The members decided to redecorate their Clubroom and it was agreed to hold a Jumble Sale in the Orr Memorial Hall on 6 April 1974 to raise funds for this project and £171.37 was raised. Members borrowed stands from Vis-Art Ballymena to hang paintings at an Exhibition in the Antrim Forum, they agreed to give a gift of £5 to Vis-Art and Mrs Daphne Leslie who was Sec at that time came along to accept the gift, we are all still good friends and receive invitations to their demos. The USPCA had the use of the Club room as well which benefited the Club funds.
1974/75 Office Bearers as above. The Annual Exhibition was held at the Antrim Forum in Nov – Dec and Mr Jack Allen was invited to open and Vis- Art were invited to take part and to exhibit one painting each. A reporter and photographer were invited from the Ballymena Observer.
1975/76 President Mrs Smith, VP. Mrs Allen, Sec. Mrs J. Connor and Treas. Mr I Magee. Mr Kenneth Webb moved to England to live and work and the Club presented him with a piece of Tyrone Crystal.
Mr Neil Shawcross came to tutor at the Club in April 1975 and continues with us. Neil born March 15, 1940 in Kearsley, Lancashire is resident in Northern Ireland since 1962. Neil studied at Bolton College of Art from 1955 to 1958, and Lancaster before coming to Belfast in 1962 to take up a part-time lecturer's post at the Belfast College of Art, becoming full-time in 1968. He continued to lecture there until his retirement in 2004.
He was elected an Associate of the of Art in 1975, and was made a full Academician in 1977. He won the Academy's Conor Award in 1975, its Gold Medal in 1978, 1982, 1987, 1994, 1997 and 2001, and its James Adam Prize in 1998.
He was appointed (MBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to arts in Northern Ireland.
1976/77 Pres Mrs M Allen, VP Mrs Coyle, Treas. Mr I Magee.
1977/78 Pres Mrs M Allen VP Mrs N Huxley, Sec Mrs K Kinahan Treas Mr I Magee
1978/79 Pres Mrs M Allen,VP Mrs Dinsmore, Sec, Mrs K Kinahan, Treas. Mrs S Petticrew
1979/80 Pres/ Treas Mr J Birch, VP. Mrs Dinsmore, Sec. Mrs K. Kinahan
1980/81 30th year. Pres/Treas Mr Jack Birch, Joint Sec Mrs M Allen/ Mrs S Petticrew
1981/82 Pres Mrs S Kane, Sec. Mrs M Allen, Treas. Mr J Birch
1982/83 Pres Mrs K Kinahan, VP Mrs S Petticrew, Sec. Mr Isaac Magee, Treas Mr J Birch
1983/84 Pres. Mr R McVeigh, Sec. Mr I Magee, Treas. Mr J Birch. Fee now £6.
1984/86 Pres. Mr R McVeigh, Sec. Ms E Holmes, Treas. Mr J Birch
1986/87 Pres Mr R McVeigh Sec Mrs Margaret Allen, Treas. Mr J Birch
1987/89 Pres Mr Tom Robinson, VP Alice Green, Sec Mrs Kathleen Kinahan, Treas.Mr J Birch.
1989/90 Pres Mr Desmond Turner,VP. Ms E Holmes Sec Ms A Green, Treas Mr J Birch
A painting by Maurice Wilks was given to the Club and sold at Sothebys for £3279.05
1990/91 40th Year. Pres. Ms Elizabeth Holmes Sec Ms A Green, Treas, Mr J Birch
Various tutors then came to the Club Jack Connolly, Clifford Hamilton, Des Munroe, Kate Reade, Bob Paisley, R Sellar.Bill Gatt.
1991/95 Pres.Ms E Holmes. Sec Ms A Green, Treas. Mrs M Cullen
Tutors Tom Mc Goldrick, R Piper Sam Mateer, M Blair, D Munroe, Leslie Hughes J Maybin
1995/96 Pres. Mrs P Craig, Sec. Mr John Taylor, Treas Mrs Pearl Clyde
Tutors as above with Helen Condy
1996/97 Pres. Mrs P Craig, Sec, Mr S Rankin, Treas. Mrs P Clyde
Tutor as above with Hugh Spence, Di Whitla
1997/98 Pres. T Robinson Sec. Mr S Rankin, Treas, Mrs P Clyde
Tutor Trevor Lawrence, Joe Mc Williams
1998/99 Pres Mr T Robinson Sec. Mr S Rankin, Treas. Mr D McCambridge
Tutors, all above and R B Higgins.
1999/00 Pres. Mr T Robinson Sec, Mrs P McNall Treas Mr D McCambridge
Tutors as above with Peter Kernohan
2000/01 50th Year.Pres Mrs Sandie McIlwraith Sec, Mrs P McNally Treas Mr D McCambridge
Tutors exhibiting at 50th Di Whitla, Neil Shawcross, Bill Gatt, Leslie Hughes, Paul Holmes, Hugh Spence,
2001/03 Pres Mrs S McIlwraith, Sec.Mrs P McNally, Treas Mr D McCambridge
Tutors Paul Holmes and Gregory Moore, Paul Walls
2003/04 Pres Mrs S McIlwraith, Sec.Mrs P McNally, Treas. Mr J Taylor
2004/05 Pres Mr David Cromie, VP Mrs R Holland Sec Mrs P McNally, Mr Brian Mackle.
Tutor Ray Elwood, Yvonne Fisher.
2005/2007 Pres Mrs Rosemary Holland,Sec Mrs P McNally, Treas. Mr B Mackle
Tutor Chris Drearden etc
2007/09 55th Year. Pres Mrs R Holland VP Mr J Taylor Sec Mrs Linda Forde Treas. Ms E Molloy. Tutors with Mr Paul Jordan. Paul gave us a painting which we then sold for £300. We received a new Laptop and Camera from the Council as part of the Community Group. The Antrim Enterprise Centre invited us to exhibit in their Business Centre ongoing and to celebrate the 55th Anniversary at the Centre. The 55th was opened by Mayor Sam Dunlop, speaker Cllr.Danny Kinahan and demo artist Robert Ellison. Colemans Garden Centre invited us to exhibit and paint during the Summer. Lunch and demo at Greenmount was a first as was opening our first gallery at Junction One.
Celebration of Art at Enterprise Centre 24th Nov 08 Cllr. Brian Graham opened, artist Paul Jordan and speaker Cllr.Danny Kinahan. Massereene Golf Club for the new year outing and 27th April Celebration of Art at Enterprise with Tom McGoldrick and Bus outing round Antrim coast. New tutor Emma Spence.
2009/11 Pres Mrs R Holland VP Mr J Taylor Sec Mr Stephen Riley. Treas. Ms Anne Bill/Mrs M Fleck.
In 2009 I was very pleased to receive the Community Excellence Award from the Antrim Council for my voluntary work in the art club. 26th Oct Colemans interclub demo with Neil Shawcross. New tutors Graham Booth and Roger Waring. Roger gave us a painting which we used to Ballot. 26th Nov Enterprise,Celebration of Art opened by Mayor Adrian Watson artist Mr Des Munroe and speaker MrJackie McIlwaine. On 26th April Mayor Adrian Watson, invited us to Civic Centre with artist Tom Mc Goldrick and speaker Danny Kinahan MLA, an amazing evening. 15th May Minibus outing to Belfast galleries. Farranshane Business Centre invited us to exhibit our paintings ongoing.New tutors Mr.Paul Wilson, Hugh McIlfatrick, 24th Nov Exhibition and Celebration in Antrim Library, opened by Mayor Pam Lewis speaker Ms.Eimear Flannigan and artist Mr Leslie Hughes.
2011/12 60th Year.Pres Mrs R Holland VP Mr J Taylor. Mins.Ms Elizabeth Holmes Corres.Ms Cheryl Sinclair Treas. Ms A Bill/Mrs M Fleck. We held 60th Exhibitions in Castle Mall and Junction One, Day Outing to Co Down. Our Club was nominated for the Community Excellence Award and the BBC asked to make a film with us and Greenmount provided the venue. Mr Gary Shaw Cultural Services Manager invited us to the Civic Centre, to celebrate our 60th Anniversary on the 6th September, speaker Danny Kinahan MLA, artist Mr Paul Wilson, opened by Mayor Paul Michael and our demo artist/tutors paintings will be on show with our own 75 paintings.
The members agreed in 1966 that the Club should be “more alive” and it is very much alive and well in its 60th year.