The Victoria Sketch Club is the oldest Canadian art group west of Ontario. It was formed in 1908 as The Island Arts Club,
comprised of 56 Charter Members, including such famous names as Samuel McClure and Emily Carr. Renamed The Island
Arts and Crafts Society, it dominated the local art scene throughout the inter-War period and by 1935 it was the largest group of
its kind in the country. In addition to Emily Carr, the leading artists included Max Maynard, Jack Shadbolt and Ina Uhtoff.
From the outset, the society chose to stimulate art expression through its Sketch Club, in which art lovers could meet with
kindred spirits and draw and paint together from local scenes. As an official component of the Society, the Sketch Club offered a
summer program for outdoor drawing skills, a chance to hone these skills with models and still life during the rest of the year
In 1952 the Island Arts and Craft Society became known as The Sketch Club, subsequently taking the title Victoria Sketch Club at
the suggestion of Colin Graham, curator of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. The revitalized body adopted a format clearly
recognizable today, with an annual residential paint-out added to the well-established annual exhibition and indoor winter and
outdoor summer programs.
The Club takes pride in its long history, and welcomes new members both to maintain its traditions and bring in new energy,
ideas and artistic styles. Notable additions in recent years have included John Climer, an established name in Canadian art, and
Ted Harrison, whose unique vision and portrayal of northern Canadian life has received international acclaim. Its objective
continues to be to foster and encourage the work of its members through co-operative and self-sufficient programs such as the
annual Victoria Sketch Club Show at the Glenlyon Norfolk School and to contribute to the variety and richness of the local art
scene, with our members participating in the shows and activities of many other groups and organizations.
A fuller account of the Club's history can be found in John Lover's book The Victoria Sketch Club; a Centennial Celebration,
published in 2008 for the Centennial year and available from the Club Secretary, whose e-mail address can be found under