In 1972 a two year part-time Diploma course was instigated at the Mid-Warwickshire College of Further Education. This course consisted of painting, drawing, art history and printing, so that by 1974 students were emerging as enthusiastic contemporary painters.
Bruhl in Germany, the twin town of Leamington, sent an invitation for an art exhibition from Leamington to be part of their anniversary celebrations in March 1985. As a result of this successful event, ‘Image 85’ in Bruhl, an inaugural meeting of fourteen of the exhibitors founded the Leamington Artists.
The first open exhibition was held at Leamington Art Gallery in 1987. Since then members have held exhibitions at many venues throughout the Midlands. Several painters have had private and public commissions.
An art week called ‘Art on the Move’ was held in 1992 and was run with great enthusiasm. Some artists opened their own studios to the public, exhibitions were held in shops, garage showrooms and at the old fire station. We even had ‘Art on the Railings’ in the Jephson Gardens.
Artists from West Midlands, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire became members so the group name was changed to the Association of Midland Artists (1994). We have kept a presence at the Pump Rooms, Leamington and after the rebuilding and reopening this year, we hope to exhibit there again.
A programme of monthly talks began in 1996 at one member’s house. Numbers increased, so the venue was changed to the Earl of Smith Gallery. When this gallery closed we moved to the Satchwell Room, Leamington Baptist Church.
In 1997, we managed to obtain a small lottery grant and ran a summer school for two weeks with ‘A’ level students from local schools and other interested people.
We now have 85+ members. We have had prizewinners at national open exhibitions, two members becoming Academicians at Manchester, and many members having work accepted at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, West of England Open, Royal Watercolour Society Open, Cheltenham and Cleveland Open Drawing Exhibitions.
In 2006 we were proud to launch our website to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the inauguration of the AMA.
Since then the AMA has developed into a thriving art organisation with a group of very committed members. The Association as undergone many changes. We have a Twitter feed, an updated website and we meet monthly in the Leamington Art Gallery. Every month we produce a newsletter for members.