On 11 May, Members of the Scottish Arts Club spent a wonderful evening in Glasgow Art Club for the opening of the Scottish Arts Club exhibition.
The Glasgow Art Club is 150 years old this year. Getting to 150 is no mean feat. Woolworths, founded in America in 1878, and the British Home Stores, founded in 1928, did not make it and the Scottish Arts Club itself still has six years to go.
Wikipedia tells us that the Glasgow Art Club was founded by ten amateur artists. That shows the power and importance of amateurs – people who love what they do. We need their enthusiasm and energy and passion, but we also need professionals, people who have devoted their lives to their art and are attempting to make a living from it.
We now churn out vast numbers of young artists, musicians and writers from our colleges and they need the support of the rest of us who will pay to hear them, watch them and read or collect their work.
Clubs like ours perform a valuable service in being a place where artists and like-minded people can meet, but longevity of itself does not give us a right to exist. We have to ask ourselves what is our relevance to an increasingly digital, fragmented and individualistic world?
I firmly believe that art, in all its forms, is essential to a civilised life, not an add-on if there is some spare space in a schoolday, or a sop to keep kids occupied. Unfortunately, in education today, it is too often seen as expendable, especially when standards in other school subjects seems to be declining.
But it is not important just to children. Adults too need to be mindful of where beauty and truth lies, we need food for the soul and a gym for the spirit.
On 31st May, we welcomed Members of Glasgow Art Club and their works to Edinburgh, and the exhibition will be on show until the beginning of July.
We have a busy June, please invite visitors and ensure as many people as possible can see the exhibition, and share the joy of art, its challenges and possibilities. Free your imagination and see what Art can do for you
The Glasgow Art Club Gallery before its recent restoration.