Brief History of the Armadale Society of Artists (Inc)

In 1987 a small, dedicated band of artists got together and formed the Armadale Society of Artists. Monthly members’ meetings were held at the Armadale District Town Hall and the Society slowly increased its membership.

In 2009, the Society was offered the chance to have its own premises in Railway Avenue, Kelmscott, occupying a property owned by the MRA (and earmarked for eventual demolition).  It became known as the Kelmscott Art House. We were then able to hold classes and workshops and have a gallery (albeit small) showcasing local artists’ works. All of these new opportunities were embraced by our members and enabled the Society to further increase membership.

In late 2018, due to the Denny Avenue redevelopment, we moved to new leased premises at 8 Hobbs Drive, Armadale, (previously the St John’s Ambulance building) which we called Art House on Hobbs. The lease from owner, Dale Cottages was initially for 3 years, with an option for a further 3 years. We set up a gallery of Members’ artworks which we opened to the public which we named “Doust Hall” after our founding President.

In 2019 we had a growing membership of 220 members. And after many busy bees by our committee and members we were able to hold daily classes and informal painting groups and many weekend workshops. The lease agreement also had a three-month option to terminate the lease by either party, which is the option that Dale Cottages took due to redevelopment arrangements. 

In September 2020 ASA needed to vacate Art House on Hobbs, and the hunt for a new home base began. This was also a time when Covid had put a stop to our classes and informal groups. We were fortunate that in October 2020 we were able to obtain a lease for a Pop-up shop in the Armadale City Shopping Centre where our members could exhibit and sell their art 7 days a week. This was managed by a coordinator and subcommittee members.

Our classes and informal groups continued for some time in different rooms at the Greendale Centre and we also held our monthly members meetings there on a hire basis. We were also given an area to store our supplies required for our classes and meetings which was a great benefit. Further classes were run from Champion Lakes on an hourly hire arrangement.

In February 2022 our previous President of four years Trish Halloran stepped down along with the Secretary, Treasurer, Membership officer and two committee members. Mary Jarrett was elected President with a new Secretary, Treasurer, and mainly new committee.

In March we were given notice to vacate our Pop-up shop and transfer and set up in a new one, only to be told in April that we would need to vacate that one by May, as a permanent tenant had been found and there were no other options available for us.

However, we remained  active within the Armadale area and managed to participate in many community arts events such as:

  • The Armadale Hills Open Studio Arts Trail as part of the “Spring into Armadale” Event
  • The “Outside the Frame” Exhibition for High School students, which is Supervised by our members
  • The Minnawarra Art Awards, which our artists take part in and also supervise the exhibition on behalf of Council. This is part of the Armadale Arts Festival, and we also had a exhibition in the Target Mall in the Armadale shopping City running at the same time.

We hold regular exhibitions in the Target Mall at Armadale City Shopping Centre. The cost for two weeks rent of the area is mainly paid by the exhibiting artists. No Commission is taken, and all sales go directly to our members

We have always held an Annual Art Exhibition at the Armadale District Hall (except in 2018 it was held at the Greendale Centre in the Dale Cottages precinct, due to the alterations happening at the Town Hall).

 We recently held our 35th Annual Art Awards Exhibition with opening night on the 4th November 2022

In March we were approached by the Armadale City Council to see if an area at the Armadale Arena would be suitable for our needs. On inspection it was decided that it was more than suitable and so the negotiations have continued.

Approval has now been granted for ASA to occupy the allocated area of the Arena on a hire basis until a lease is prepared and signed.

The first members monthly meeting took place on Thursday 10th November 22 with a large turnout of members all eager and happy to see our new home base.

The committee are currently preparing a class and informal group schedule to make full use of the facilities,

Plans are underway to include a youth membership in the new year and to promote a mentoring program for young artists to attend on a regular basis. We envisage this would be a benefit for both the young and more mature artists as they will have a common interest that will help them all in their artistic journeys.

ASA will be taking part in the International Day of People with Disability “Connection and Wellbeing” event on Friday 2 December 22 at the Champion Centre, which has been made possible by a collaboration between the City of Armadale and the Armadale Access and Inclusion Network. Our aim will be to promote our classes and informal groups and to invite attendees to come along and join in with us..

It has been recognised that some work needs to be done to ensure easy access for the disabled and to make sure it is a safe environment for all at the Arena. Wheelchair access and handrails have already been recognised as being required as soon as possible.

As the 2022 year is coming to an end, there is a feeling in the membership that this is a wonderful opportunity for us to turn the area allocated to us into a vibrant art precinct, where members and the community can come and enjoy creating together.

Our vision statement sums up our ethos:

“The ASA aims to be a friendly, inclusive Society for artists, which encourages the creative talents and abilities of its members, by proving an environment which assists in learning and achieving individual artistic goals.”

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