A LONG TRADITION
The New Haven Paint & Clay Club, one of the oldest continuously active arts organizations in the country, holds a long history of promoting the visual arts throughout New Haven and beyond. Through its sustained support of the visual arts and artists for over a century, the NHP&CC has become a well-known and respected asset for the community as a whole.
Showcasing the work of its members and regional artists through annual exhibitions, The New Haven Paint & Clay Club actively supports, encourages, and promotes exploration of and involvement with the visual arts in the Greater New Haven area and beyond. The club further engages local communities by sharing loaned artworks from its permanent collection, offering merit awards, scholarships, free programs and lectures, and other art related activities.
In 1900 a group of Connecticut artists met and formed The New Haven Paint & Clay Club, now one of New England’s oldest, and still active, arts organizations. New Haven was chosen primarily because of the Yale School of the Fine Arts, where many of the artists had studied. The first exhibition of the Club was held in December of 1900 and featured 107 works by 27 artists. In the following years, several nationally known artists were invited to exhibit, and New Haven collectors also loaned works. Thus, many of the important American artists of the 1900s were represented in the Club’s early exhibits. By 1922, there were over 100 artists submitting work to the Club’s exhibitions, and private loans were discontinued. Most of the works in the exhibits were for sale, and that is still the case for today’s shows.
The first exhibit included six sculptures and a variety of two-dimensional pieces. Today, the Club accepts entries of two-dimensional works in any media and sculpture, with a provided stand, in any material, but not photography, crafts or giclee pieces. Cash prizes were offered in the early exhibits and continue today. Several are given at the fall Active Members Exhibit, and the spring Annual Juried Art Exhibition has over $4000 in prize awards.
For over a decade in the 1900s, exhibits were held at the Yale School of the Fine Arts. Community support for the Club was strong; over 3,000 people attended the 1915 exhibit. For the next thirty years, the shows were held in the New Haven Public Library. In 1961, the Club found a home for its exhibits at The John Slade Ely House, where it now sponsors two exhibitions yearly.
In the early years, artist membership in the Club was by invitation. In 1970, the Club decided that Active Members must have been accepted in two of the spring juried exhibitions. These juried shows are limited to New England and New York artists. The jurors are experienced artists and museum curators with no connection to the Club. For several years now, the Club’s Active Membership has been about 280 artists, who pay annual dues.
From the beginning, the Club has had an Associate Member category, open to anyone interested in the arts, who pay annual dues and receive all of the Club’s mailings and are acknowledged in the catalog of the spring Annual Juried Art Exhibition.
Besides providing an opportunity for artists to exhibit, a major accomplishment of the New Haven Paint & Clay Club is its Permanent Collection of works of art. After an endowment was successfully raised for this purpose, the first paintings were bought in the 1930s. Purchases are made from works in the Club’s two annual exhibits, and they are voted upon by the officers of the Club. Typically, two to four works are added to the Permanent Collection each year. There are now over 300 pictures and 15 sculptures in the Collection.
From its founding in 1900, the New Haven Paint & Clay Club has published catalogs of nearly every art exhibition it has sponsored. These catalogs list the artists names, titles of works exhibited and sale prices, plus the prizes awarded and any purchases for the Club’s Permanent Collection.
In September of 2000, to celebrate a century of the Club’s founding and exhibitions, a special 100th Anniversary Exhibition catalog was published. This is a 72-page booklet with 8 pages of color photos, and has 110 black and white photos of works in the Club’s Permanent Collection with biographies of the artists involved. It also has a section on the history of the Club. These Anniversary catalogs are still available at $8 for Club members and $10 for others. To order a copy, phone Dolores Gall at 203-288-6590 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President: Greg Shea
Vice President: Jeanne Ciravolo
Recording Secretary: Anne Doris-Eisner
Corresponding Secretary: June Webster
Treasurer: Joan Cho
Assistant Treasurer: Jeanne Ciravolo
Curator of the Permanent Collection: Nan Tussing
Assistant Curator: Maura Galante
Membership Chair: Michael Centrella
Webmaster: Alfonsina Betancourt
Archivist: Dolores Gall
Members at Large: Margot Rocklen
Click on any name to contact the members of the board of directors