HISTORY

The Society celebrated its Centenary in 2002 and from current research we now believe even more strongly that the Society was founded in 1902, confirmation coming first hand from an interview with the daughter of Alfred Palmer now living at a retirement home in East Kent who suggested the date from memory she had of her father and Lord Northbourne and some other close friends deciding to set up an art society covering East Kent and to bring together influential artists including Royal Academicians from the district to exhibit their works on an annual basis. This commenced with the Annual Cricket Week at Canterbury Cricket Club during the month of August. Later in the life of the Society the Annual Exhibition was moved to the Sidney Cooper building then the Canterbury College of Art and continued until about twenty five years ago it moved to the Royal Museum and Art Gallery, “The Beaney’ (now refurbished and renamed: The Beaney House of Knowledge and Art Gallery) in the High Street Canterbury.

East Kent Art Society is basically an exhibiting Society only although occasionally is involved in other projects to promote Art in the area - please look at our website to find the latest information about what’s onOne of the founding fathers of the Society Alfred Palmer has a blue plaque on the wall of his former home in Fordwich, stating that he was a founder of the East Kent Art Society.

To promote the centenary a large banner was hung from the porch of the entrance over the steps of the Royal Museum and Art gallery in High Street Canterbury. Canterbury, in 2002 was also hoping to become a European City but the bid was unsuccessful and as a result plans were accelerated to improve the status of the Royal museum and Art Gallery. As this original website was being set up the Beaney was totally refurbished at a cost of £7million but for our society is no longer a viable option as the room available is not large enough for our needs and so we are trying new and more appropriate venues within and outside of the City of Canterbury.
Celebrations were held during the Centenary 2002 with a special dinner at which the present Lord and Lady Northbourne were present as well as a number of other dignitaries. Sketching days were held as was an additional winter show at a local commercial Art Warehouse. The Society has sometimes satellite exhibitions and in 2014 held a successful Christmas Art Fair at Littlebourne Village.

The present Lord Northbourne became the President of the EKAS in place of the late William Wordsworth a former past Patron and President to whom we were grateful in reorganising the society with a proper and legal constitution. Lord Northbourne is the third generation of his illustrious family to be associated with the EKAS and means that as the 21st century dawned the society could continue and flourish into the new millennium and this refurbished website is an attempt at continuing the process of social communication with even a Facebook presence.

The new Chairman, in 2001, Mr. Fred Fielder produced and wrote a definitive 23 page history and celebratory booklet outlining the previous one hundred years of the society with many coloured and black and white illustrations. This book is available from the chairman by contacting email: fred.fielder@outlook.com

One of the most important reasons for the EKAS flourishing and lasting for so many years is the outstanding commitment of the many artists and friends who retained an interest in the society for lengthy periods of time in order to encourage the continuity of the society and its exhibitions. One such example is the immediate late past Chairman Charles and Pat Burnand who held committee meetings for over thirty-seven years at their home and even the present secretary Mr. John Hughes and Chairman have been members for the past thirty years or more! Younger members have been encouraged to join as associate members and it is hoped these young people will continue the tradition and enthusiasm as well as the creativity shown by those early pioneers who founded the society.

Any who wish to join the society, which is by the submission of four images or sculptures, usually around April of each year, can apply to the Hon. Secretary EKAS, Mr. John Hughes, 14 Beech Grove, Cliffsend, Ramsgate CT12 5LD for further information. Election to the EKAS is by approval of the selection committee comprised of professional artists, teachers and lecturers in art as well as present members of the Society.