Humber Valley Art Club History

HVAC was founded in June of 1951 by a group of eight women with art school backgrounds who decided to start painting again after many years in other fields. They carried their easels outdoors to paint landscapes in the Humber Valley area of west Toronto. By the end of the summer the group totaled over 40 artists and Humber Valley Art Club came into being. Membership continued to grow.

The group painted in various locations over the years, beginning in each others’ homes, back yards and en plein air. Eventually in the 60’s - 80’s they rented space in the original wing of the Humber Valley United Church, running popular workshops for up to thirty-six participants. During these years juried exhibitions were held in various locations, including the O’Keefe Centre (juried by well-known Toronto landscape painter Doris McCarthy!) and the Women’s Building at the Canadian National Exhibition.

In the late 80’s, along with members of other art groups, they formed the Arts Centre Development Committee and began the task of lobbying local politicians, key among them Bruce Sinclair, then-mayor of the City of Etobicoke, to take on the challenge of persuading the City of Etobicoke to build a brand new Art Centre in Neilson Park.

Mayor Sinclair and city councilors were supportive of the project and fundraising began in earnest. Key members from five different art groups (two painting groups – HVAC, EAG & three fibre arts groups - EQG, EHS, ER) were integral in planning the interior design of the Centre, providing their “wish list” to the architect for the layout of four studios, two galleries, the main office, kitchen and other essential space in the Centre. The Centre was completed in 1992, and has been home to Humber Valley Art Club and the four other Resident Groups ever since. A sixth group, CAGT, became a Resident Group a little later.

HVAC has been a not-for-profit organization since its founding in1951. Regulated by a Constitution, it is governed by an elected Executive Committee that meets monthly during the workshop season. As one of six Resident Groups at Neilson Park, it receives preferential rental accommodation from NPCC in return for contributing NPCC membership fees to the Centre and supporting its initiatives and fundraising efforts. HVAC Members also serve on NPCC Committees to provide their input and assistance.

Studio A, where HVAC workshops take place, is the largest of the studios, with beautifully expansive, north-facing windows creating a bright interior. It can accommodate up to 30 students in the full studio. Two smaller studios can also be created (A1 & A2), using the sliding divider, with each side housing up to 15 students. Studio A is rented by the HVAC every Monday & Wednesday, from September – November and January – May.

Over the years Humber Valley Art Club has established a strong reputation for offering quality instruction to adults at all levels, taught by many well-known artists and instructors in a variety of media, including watercolor, acrylic, drawing, collage and printmaking. From its inception, we have taken great pleasure in providing a friendly and inclusive environment to welcome members and visitors alike.