About Us

Purpose of the Ottawa Art Association

  • To encourage the appreciation of art in the community
  • To encourage members in the practice of original fine art in various categories:
  • Oil, Watercolour, Acrylic, Pastel, Mixed Media and Other Media

Major Activities

We display our work together at the Nectar Gallery, we hold two annual award shows and we put on art shows together at other venues throughout the year.

The newsletter and website keep everyone up to date. Outings are regularly arranged and normally advertised in the newsletter.


In 1918 the Women’s Art Association was founded. It would later be known as the Art Association of Ottawa. They held their monthly meetings at Earnscliffe, the home of Lady Flood, who was wife to the British High Commissioner. During their meetings, members would paint under the instruction of some well-known local artists. Between 1936-39, Fred Varley of the “Group of Seven” was in charge of classes. The Association disbanded in 1944 because of the War, but was reconstituted in 1951 with the inaugural meeting held at the home of Senator Cairine Wilson. The first Board of Directors was elected, with Kenneth W. Drysdale as President and Robert Hyndman as Vice President. The aims of the Association were, “fostering of Art in the Ottawa Valley and to promote the interests of the artists” and the slogan “An Original Painting in Every Home” was adopted.
The first meeting was held at the Ottawa Teacher’s College in April 1951. A.Y. Jackson of the famous “Group of Seven” was the guest speaker. Some of the other distinguished artists who spoke at future meetings were: Goodridge Roberts, Kenneth W. Drysdale, Dr. Andre Bieler, Henry Masson and William Winter. The Association members held their first exhibition in June 1951 at the Ottawa Teacher’s College. At another one in December 1952, Begum Mohammed Ali donated a silver rose bowl to be awarded at the annual awards shows. Another award was the Blyth MacDonald trophy presented to the Association by Mrs. MacDonald in memory of her husband. In 1953, the association changed its name to the Ottawa Art Association. To celebrate the 85th anniversary in 2004, the OAA funded a scholarship at the Ottawa School of Art, which would be awarded to the most deserving full-time student, which has continued on an annual basis. The Association continues to display member’s artworks at the Ottawa Little Theatre, changing on a monthly basis for 9 months of the year. Members receive 9 newsletters a year announcing events of the OAA and its members, as well as discussing art opportunities and other items of interest to its members. We hold two Award shows each year for our members.

OAA Practice

The practice of the OAA in recent years has been to concentrate its interest on the history, theory and practice of the visual arts, interpreted to date by the Association to include painting and sketching, original workin all popular media, such as, oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolours.