FOR over 40 years painters and potters, sculptors and artists of all types have created, learned and laughed together at the Diamond Valley Arts Society.
Based at Greensborough Secondary College, the society offers art classes and workshops, annual art shows and camaraderie to its 100 members.
This year the society will celebrate four decades of nurturing a passion for art in the Diamond Valley.
Oil painting tutor and archivist Kerry Maher said the society was formed in 1970 by local artists, including Ron Reynolds, Digby Watson, Murray Pulford, and Roland and Maria Schultz.
“It has always provided companionship between artists and like-minded people,” Maher said.
“The society is like a family.”
The group began meeting at a Greensborough cafe in 1972.
But Montmorency painter Mary Lanfranchi, who joined in 1977, said growing numbers prompted a move to a “ramshackle” building in Sherbourne Rd, Briar Hill.
“It was a real old, falling-down building; that was a fun place,” Lanfranchi said.
“They would have their art show there; they used to have hay bales around that you’d sit on.”
In 1978 the society moved to Oldstead Cottage in Greensborough, then to Greensborough Primary School in 1980 and to its present home at Greensborough Secondary College in 2000.
Maher said well-known artists including the late Alan Sartori and Noella Clohesy had been members along the way, as well as a host of others who had gone on to do great things.
“They’ve come along to classes, they’ve learnt and then they’ve moved on to become artists in their own right,” Maher said.
“But the Diamond Valley Arts Society gave them a start.”
Member Max Spence has held a Tuesday workshop for the past 15 years, encouraging students to create and learn from each other.
“They ask each other questions and advice when they walk around or have a cup of coffee,” Spence said.
“I find the community aspect of the society is just as important as the artistic side – it brings people together.”