EWCC - 1932 - 2012
Although the Kresge’s Department Store in Newark, NJ does not exist anymore, it was here in 1932 that the Essex Water Color Club first began exhibiting the watercolor paintings in space the store made available. The club was formed in the depth of the Great Depression. Among the original 27 founding members were Charles Bauer, John McLeod, Viola Appel and many others who went on to earn national recognition. Early Essex Water Color Club members were founding members of the New Jersey Water Color Society (Mary Lawrence), the Bloomfield Art League and Garden State Watercolor Society (Dagmar Tribble).
It is 80 years later and the Essex Water Color Club artists are still meeting to further the original goals of stimulating interest in and advancing the art of water media painting, providing a forum for artists to meet and share ideas, and exhibiting their work. The unique feature of the club is that it is a local organization with over one hundred and seventy-five members from the Essex County area and elsewhere throughout the state. Three-quarters of the membership are exhibiting members and one-quarter associates. The work of these artists represents a range of media techniques from transparent watercolor to acrylics to gouache.
The Club meets six times a year (the second Sunday of the month) at the Livingston Senior/Community Center. A regular highlight of the meetings is a demonstration painting by a guest artist, specifically selected by John Wolff, programs chair, to expose the membership to a variety of watercolor styles and techniques. A synopsis of each demonstration is included in EWCC’s newsletter and can be viewed in color on the Club’s website,
. A gallery of members’ paintings can be viewed there as well. The Club’s continuing goal is to stimulate creativity by providing first-rate programs and social/professional contact with fellow artists through workshops, art excursions, free video libraries and three or more member exhibits per year. And many of the Club’s artists are also signature members of the New Jersey and Garden State Water Color Societies.
The Essex Water Color Club has a dedicated group of artists who volunteer their time and talents to serve on the Board in different capacities to ensure that the vision of the founding members is maintained. The Club’s current president is Medy Bozkurtian, who attributes her growing as an artist to her involvement with like-minded artists in the Club, says “I was hooked from the very first demo I attended ten years ago and immediately joined the Club and volunteered as Hospitality Chair. I was amazed at how friendly and inviting the Club was. Watching other artists demonstrate their painting skills is both fascinating and educational, and then having the opportunity to exchange ideas with fellow artists over refreshments is just great! Our exhibitions, currently chaired by Susan Philips, are of the highest caliber. I am honored to be president of such a fine Club.” Past presidents have included Ludlow Thorston, Ed Havas (a signature member of the American Water Color Society), Thomas Valenti (current president of Allied Artists of American) and Ann Taylor (current president of the New Jersey Water Color Society).
The Essex Water Color Club is a “little jewel” that has an active and growing membership and continues to foster the vision of the founding members some 80 years after its modest start.
Written and researched by: John Wolff