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History of AANL

AANL began as the Art Gallery Association of newfoundland (AGAN) in 1960. In 1967 the members changed the aims of  AGAN and also changed their name to the Art Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (AANL). These Associations provided a form for beginners, established, and full time professional artists since 1960. A wide range of media and style is experienced among the group as they are always keeping up the advances in art.

“AANL does not limit its members but invites artists of all levels by promoting its professional members and supporting & encouraging its emerging artists through workshops and guidance. AANL not only provides opportunity, but it also provides community.”   AANL Minutes 1993

Here is a brief overview of the development of Art in Newfoundland:

In 1807 the Newfoundland Gazette and Adviser contained the first recorded advertisement for an art teacher by the name of Paul Phillips. E Metcalf, appeared in 1810 and other followed in early the 19th century but not many stayed. In the second half of the 19th century society had improved bringing improvements in schooling and commerce. During this time Joseph William Nichols, art teacher from England arrived in St John’s and found an art teaching position at the Wesleyan Academy in 1873.

The Evening Telegram of December 9, 1885, contained a call for the establishment of an art gallery in St John’s… in order to still further encourage Mr. Nichols’ laudable efforts in this direction, a suitable building should be procured for the purposes of his efforts.…

Alexander Pindikowsky a polish painter and fresco artist arrived 1879, John Lyons Blauvelt arrived in 1881 others followed but did not stay. John W Nichols was the only art teacher who stayed, taught art, started his own art school in 1877, founded an Art Society 1886, and arranged Newfoundland Artists entry into the 3rd International Art Congress, London in 1908. Joseph continued teaching until he died in 1916. In 1905 art teacher Kathleen O’Donovan Kelly opened an art school and groups such as the Old Colony Club 1923, the Newfoundland Society of Arts 1925, the Art Student’s Club of St John’s 1940, the  St John’s Art Club 1945 etc. Unfortunately there was still no art gallery, however other art groups  had continued the call for an art gallery. During April 8 1949 the Massey Commission, known as the Commission on the National Development in the Arts Letters and Sciences was officially appointed by Prime Minister Louis St-Laurent on 8 April 1949. Its purpose was to investigate the state of arts and culture in Canada.  As a result of the Commission, the Student’s Club of St John’s submitted a brief in May of 1950 supporting the establishment of an art gallery for the province. Still no gallery. During the 1950’s art clubs were founded in Grand Falls 1951-55, Corner Brook 1955/60, the Gander Pallett Club 1958/59. Private art schools such as the Newfoundland Academy of Art, the St John’s School of Art, the Progressive Painters Club etc. came and went. These earlier art club members were likely precursors of the founding of the Art Gallery Association of Newfoundland. During the late 50’s there was also an increased provincial interest in art education. The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) under the direction of Mrs Fran Ennis, Provincial Director, held a meeting in Grand Falls and stated the CFUW wanted to bring exhibitions from the National Gallery to the province. After much investigation the committee find that Memorial University planned to open an art gallery in 1961 and that Premier J R Smallwood made known that a cultural centre would be built in St John’s. So because of this extra support Mrs. Ennis called a meeting of a wide of sample people interested in the arts and on May 11, 1960. Its purpose was to form The Art Gallery of Association of Newfoundland. An election was held and the first execution was put in place.  Its aims included: stimulate interest in exhibitions of works of art both local and imported in the main centers of Newfoundland; support any move approved by the Association for the formation of a Provincial Gallery; and sponsor or assist in arranging at least two exhibitions a year.

The MUN Art Gallery was formed in 1961, with Chris Pratt as art specialist. Some years later the Gallery Association of Newfoundland changed its emphasis towards encouragement and promotion of artists throughout the province. Thus, on May 2, 1967, the Art Gallery Association of Newfoundland changed its name to The Art Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, as today it stands.

Today the Art Association of Newfoundland and Labrador is an artist run non-profit association. It is incorporated and relies on the membership fees, commissions from art sales and occasionally a grant from the Arts Council. Its membership has been hovering around the 80-100 mark during the past decade. The Association has a board of governors and the yearly AGM elections are held to fill the positions. The Board consists of a President, Vice President, Past President, Treasurer, Secretary, Communications and Publicity members as well as members at large who headed up various committees to assist the board with the operation of the Association. In terms of space, over the years the Association has relied very heavily on the Arts and Culture Centre as a place to hold exhibitions, professional development workshops, meetings from time to time, although they have used many other locations for our events.

Founding board members were 1960-61: President A Fran Ennis, Vice president HD MacGillivary, Secretary Olga Anderson, Treasurer Gerald Walsh, Art Director Reginald Shepard, Gallery Chair Mrs. R. Bennett, Publicity Chair Les Gourley. At Large: Miss Ada Green, Don Ryan. Muriel Hunter, Gwen Seary, Hon Auditor A Baird.

Executives over the decades were, Wm Perlin, Hans Melis, Reginald Sheppard, Hon Aidan Maloney, Dr B Bhattacharya, Marjorie Dustan, Shirley Bartlett, Doug C Inkster, PDP Smith, Dave Hoddinott, Bill Kane,  Joan Short, Dr Carl Pfeiffer, Flo Pippy, Frank Maynard, Wally Brants, Art Marsh, Margaret W Best,  Alister Drysdale, Jean Cadigan, Terri Leonard, Jackie Gale Vaillancourt, Terri Leonard, Jeanette Jobson, and Joanne Snook Hann, Jeffery Whelan,  Ray Alcock, Susan Parsons, Ron Drake, Linda Coles, Dora Cooper, Joan Roberts, Larry Mahoney have served with wonderful groups of at large members.

Other prominent members were Peter Bell, Rae Perlin, Frank LaPointe, AC Hunter, Mrs Edith Goodridge, Don Wright, Ben Gillard, Yoka Gray, George Jarvis, Mary Brown, Jean Ball, Ilse Hughes, Millicent Penney, Cliff George, Joan Blackmore Thistle, Jean Claude Roy, Julia Pickard, Kathleen Knowling, Tom Dawe, Pat Hayden Ryan,

Artists such as Gerry Squires, Boyd Chubbs, Bill Ritchie, Chris Pratt, Gary Kennedy, Ed Roche,  Don Short, Darrin Martin, Gary Smith, Janette Jobson, Gerald van Deering,  Barbara Pratt, Larry Mahoney, Domonic Hurley, Ben Warren, Clem Curtis, Elizabeth Reynolds, Nick Kokis, Pam Williams,  Julia Pickard, Jari Adamchick, Bill Riche, Eland Popova, Jim Maunder, Chris Peet, Joyce Cho, Sylvia Benza, Gerry Evans, Di Dabinett, and many others have given workshops to the membership providing professional development. Workshops have included income tax, stain glass, copyright implications, sculpting, printmaking, marketing, watercolor, oil, pastel etc. and studio visits to name a few.

AANL was the winner of the 2016 VANL- CARFAC Kippy-Goin's Award. This Endurance Award recognizes the consistent dedication and commitment of an artist to their professional practice, and to sustained creative output and performance.

The 2024 Board members are listed herein.


Benefits of being a member in good standing as per AANL By Laws as per 2019-01-24 are an opportunity to meet and network with colleagues of various experiences, an opportunity to exhibit your artwork in at AANL exhibition(s), fall and spring workshops/lectures/presentations by well known artists, mostly at no extra cost, promotion on our Facebook page, free registration for Business & Arts NL workshops, free admittance to The Rooms.


In 2022 the Association embarked on a new Outreach Project where we opened 5 member seats to our Ukrainian friends and began inviting other art groups to engage with us or us with them. We have held en plein air painting session in Bowring Park 2022/23, another en plein air session with Michelle Penny Rowe’s group in Carbonear 2023, these events were quite enjoyable and we are planning more this year. Let us know if there is some part of art you would like to experience. The Association is always looking for new innovative ideas from its members, and abroad that will keep things moving and for those to assist in keeping them moving.

Yours truly,


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