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- Art Group '59
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Art Group ’59 was established in 1959, primarily as an organization to jointly pay for art instruction by experienced artists from the area, over two twelve week periods each year. Group exhibits, field trips, and social activities were eventually added. The group limited membership to 24 people at any one time, with enrollment resetting yearly. Artists who did not pay promptly enough could thus be replaced by newer members, although previous members could pay a significantly discounted rate to become an associate member, without voting rights.
Sessions would run for twelve weeks from September to December, and twelve weeks from January to March 1967. An undated newsletter suggests they would meet at that point in a room above Little's Meat Market in the downtown, allocated by Brampton's recreation office. The 1974 to 1975 year was held at Sheridan College; it cost $50 for the year.
The group would also meet less formally on Saturday afternoons in the summer for "sketch trips", as well as arrange larger field trips. Collective group exhibits included at the Brampton Curling Club during the Brampton Flower Festival, Helen Wilson Public School's Arts and Crafts Show, Brampton Public Library (including Brampton Mall branch), Civic Centre in Bramalea, and Brampton Day at the Canadian National Exhibition.
Art Group ’59 was reformatted in 1977, with membership fees reduced from $50 (1975) to $3, but also removing the provision of instruction and supplies. The group would meet Monday evenings at the Peel Museum and Art Gallery, and include a communal critique. Records end at this point.
The group was well known within Brampton for their juried art show at the annual Brampton Flower Festival, which would receive entries from as far away as Stratford, Ontario. In 1969, noted Toronto art dealer Jack Pollock was hired as juror, in a year when entries were predominantly abstract. Pollock is noted for helping launch the careers of artists including David Hockney, Ken Danby, Norval Morrisseau, Susan Ross, Charles Pachter, Robert Bateman, and William de Kooning. The Bramalea Guardian noted this abstraction focus was atypical of the group and its juried show.
Membership included Tom Mathews, a commercial artist from Brampton who, as of 1967, was one of only three Canadians in that field listed in Encyclopedia Britannica; two municipal councillors for Brampton, Irene Biggs and Diane Sutter; Dale O'Hara, perhaps best recognized as the author of "Acres of Glass: the story of the Dale Estate and how Brampton became the Flower Town of Canada" (2007); and Carolyn Smith, a friend of Caroline Armington who helped build the PAMA art gallery's collection of that artist's work, and is responsible for saving much of the archival records of her and her husband, artist Frank Armington.