Category Archives: Exhibitions

Indigenous visual culture in Saskatchewan prior to 1950

What I have been trying to address in my posts on early Saskatchewan art is what I and others term visual culture. Art with a capital A is viewed by many as a limiting description, which excludes many artistic practices. This is especially true when it comes to the practices of indigenous people, who themselves have been stereotyped by the term “Indian.” Without a separate category in their languages which is the equivalent of the English word “art,” it seems more appropriate to use the term visual culture to encompass myriad ritual and material artistic traditions practiced in the prairies by various First Nations groups.

The newspapers I looked at covered the early days of settler culture in Saskatchewan but they also contained a surprising amount of material that could be used for a history of First Nations visual culture in Saskatchewan.  Apart from some anthropological and archaeological studies, I am unaware of any art histories of Saskatchewan which go into any detail about the visual culture of indigenous people during this crucial period.  Crucial because the era represents a time when the traditional way of life was a living memory for many but the free performance of it was no longer allowed because of signed treaties, reserve confinement and the hegemony of settler culture.

Of course, the newspapers were written for and directed to a settler culture audience so what you find is what you get. Today, no one would think of writing a history of art in Saskatchewan without including the important contribution to it by living artists of indigenous heritage, many of whom make reference to past injustices and traditional motifs in their art.  In the period before 1950, no one thought of including indigenous artists in mainstream culture — they were separate and their visual culture belonged to the “past.”  It was framed that way for appreciation.

While there is an overriding sentiment in many pre-1950 newspaper articles that Euro-Canadian culture was superior to the indigenous ones, there was clearly an admiration for the visual culture of the plains people prior to the arrival of settlers.  One only has to look at the significant amount of imagery created by Euro-Canadians on the subject to see that.  That is the topic of another post in this blog, one I feel more qualified to speak to, being a descendant of the settler culture and having studied the image of the” Indian” in  settler culture for many years.

However, I am presenting a number of avenues for research in the newspapers that could be followed by students of indigenous art history with the list that follows. I find the prize lists of “Indian handicraft” winners in the annual summer fairs a particularly valuable way to study early 20th century indigenous art because they include names of individual practitioners.  Many of the displays mediated by settler culture tropes do not mention names of individual artists and while they are descriptive of the products of indigenous artists, they don’t specify many of the individual producers. Therefore, these prize lists in the Regina newspapers are a goldmine, even though they only use the fair categories created and judged by settler culture to describe the work.

The early fairs often displayed the farm products produced by people living on reserves or going to “Industrial Schools” and listed the names of winners. So at least as far back as 1890 you can find who grew the best potatoes or made the best aprons and where they lived.  More interesting are the handicraft displays which feature both European-style crafts and indigenous crafts made by First Nations people.  In the 1908 Morning Leader, for example, you can find that Pimotat won the prize for his fire bag at the File Hills fair and that Mrs. J.R. Thomas made the best beaded moccasins and Red Dog won the prize for silk embroidered moccasins.

As well there are frequently commentaries on the gatherings and activities of the groups of indigenous people who often camped at the summer fairs.  For the settlers, these encampments provided an “exhibition” of an old prairie life so different from their own.  Read the accounts of the Indian exhibits at the 1911 Dominion fair in Regina, both the prize list (scroll right to next page) and the account of the presence of the File Hills band on the premises and a rumination on its presence among the other art exhibits. Once you know when the fairs were held, you can look up the lists year after year in Regina or other ones if you can find them. Here are some lists and articles I retrieved:

Morning Leader: Jul 22, 1916, Jul 28, 1921, Jul 27, 1926, Leader Post Jul 30, 1930, Aug 2, 1930, Jul 27, 1937, Aug 2, 1940,

The Saskatoon Phoenix does not contain much reference to the presence of indigenous people at the fairs until the 1930s.  Jul 23, 1936, Jul 28, 1938 are examples.  Saskatoon’s fair had begun in the 19th Century but it was a much smaller scale affair until the 1920s and older settlements in the north like North Battleford and Prince Albert were more likely gathering places for indigenous people at fair time. However, I found this 1941 article which states that indigenous people had been a presence at the Saskatoon fair for 60 years.

Sometimes there are actual reviews of the “Indian exhibits” like in July 30, 1930 Regina Leader Post above. The 1933 World’s Grain Exhibition in Regina had a huge handicraft exhibit and attracted a lot of indigenous groups to the fair grounds.  Read accounts of the Indian village, the prize lists and editorials on the impression that the indigenous component added to this one and only world fair held in Saskatchewan. Aug 1, 1933 See this prize list and editorial page of the same issue, noted in my post on the 1933 World’s Grain Show.

Another particularly useful avenue for study is the miscellaneous accounts of artifacts being found or collected by individuals and institutions. The provenance of where many anonymous articles now in collections came from is a good thing to know.  See: Nov. 21, 1907 Morning Leader for an account of the finding of a large stone near File Hills which had a sun god’s face carved into it.  July 6, 1906 An Interesting Find at Balcarres of a stone pictograph and Aug 16, 1937 RLP another account of a stone idol.

The 1907 story may be related to the stone which was found in Archibald McDonald’s house in Fort Qu’appelle when a Regina reporter came to call in Jul 17,1913 Morning Leader.  Perhaps it was even the stone that Edmond Morris planned to use in the Treaty Memorial at Ft. Qu’Appelle. See my post on Western Art Association

Jan. 7, 1915 tells of the beginning of a collection of Indian artifacts at Saskatchewan’s Provincial Museum, Regina. May 19, 1917  annnouncement that the Smith & Vidal collections will be shown at Regina Fair. Sep 15, 1920 announcement of a donation to Museum.  Mar. 24, 1928 Mary B. Weekes collection (Mary Weekes was a member of the LCW Arts and Letters Committee who actively collected Indian crafts and also wrote about them, Mar 30, 1928)  Aug. 1, 1934 RLP Museum display of early artifacts.

Apr. 16 1934 RLP story in RLP about donations to Provincial Museum. 1935 story in Star Phoenix re: stone implements collected by the University of Saskatchewan shown at the fair. May 15, 1934 RLP story about a furnace used to make arrow heads uncovered by winds of the drought. Apr. 14, 1934 SSP relics uncovered by wind. Jan 6, 1944 SSP collector makes plea for artifact museum.

Then there are the accounts of settler clubs who believed they were encouraging the perpetuation and appreciation of indigenous crafts or helping people to earn money by making them more palatable for a larger audience.  See the posts on the Western Art Association, Saskatoon Arts & Crafts  Society and the  LCW Arts and Letters Committee of Regina who collected older examples of  beadwork for historical purposes.  While religious groups may deserve the bad rap they’ve been given in some contexts,  there is one account of a church woman who seemed to be honestly assisting the people in her district to earn money by perpetuating their traditional crafts.  SSP Dec. 7,1940Nov. 14, 1939 & Nov. 20 same year

There are interesting discussions of indigenous ceremonial activities in the following articles:

Morning Leader Magazine article on Feb 7, 1925 discussing feathers and beads. Lebret pageant 1925  Aug 17, Aug 18 and accompanying photos Aug 11, 13, 14.   Apr 5, 1924 (scroll to next page) account of sun dance. July 27, 1931 SSP revival of rain dance. Jul 26, 1939 and Jul 23, 1943 SSP White man made chief. Aug. 16, 1947 SSP Poundmakers tent returned. Feb 4, 1954 RLP recounts how Poundmaker was an early advocate for women’s rights.  Oct. 31, 1950 SSP Battleford Indians honour chieftain

I also captured some articles on historical events during the early period and opinion pieces which provide a context and suggest ideas about indigenous people in this time.  There will be more on this in my future post on the image of the Indian in Saskatchewan.

Jul 11, 1936 RLP, Piapot Reserve treaty days celebration

May 15, 1926 RLP Indians Progress. Oct. 8, 1928 SSP Indian Day school photos. July 13, 1934 RLP Indians as teachers. Apr. 25, 1935 SSP John Smith Jr. asks for ancient hunting rights

Dec. 24, 1938 SSP Tuberculosis waning. Sep 12, 1934 SSP, Dreaver leads protest Aug. 4, 1938 SSP  Death of Dreaver. Aug. 12, 1938 RLP Indian housing

Dec. 15, 1939 SSP Indian opera singer. Feb. 7, 1940 SSP Plight of Indians in Yorkton, Aug. 12, 1938 SSP History of Metis

Jan. 9, 1946 The Place of the Indian editorial in RLP.  Sept. 4, 1948 SSP Dundurn Indians immigrants.

Feb. 17, 1951 SSP Historic Massacre of Indians. Jan 15, 1919 Alex Brass wins WWI medal.  Oct 5, 1945 RLP Cree woman in CWAC.

Nov 1, 1965 SSP – Profile of Prince Albert Residential School.

Grey Owl, an Englishman inhabiting an ” Indian” identity, got more press than anyone else.  Aug 3, 1937 SSP reports on Grey Owl advocating for Indian rights and assessing the state of indigenous art. He was the subject of quite a number of articles when he died. See Apr 13, 1938 SSP and daily April issues following for discussions of Grey Owl’s identity.  Another posthumous discussion of Grey Owl can be found in Nov 27, 1939 SSP.

And there are many historical accounts of encounters between ethnic groups written from the perspective of Euro-Canadian witnesses and writers. The Riel Rebellion is the most common event of this kind appearing in many reminiscence type articles. If anyone is interested, you can contact me for a list of articles I’ve collected.

Most of the websites you can find on Saskatchewan indigenous art deal with contemporary artists.  Undoubtedly, there were indigenous artists using contemporary European art materials and styles prior to 1950 but they seem to be obscure in the newspapers. The first one I came across was Allen Sapp whose career really belongs to the post 1950 period. See the three websites below for more information on contemporary Saskatchewan indigenous artists.

Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre 

Aboriginal artists in Saskatchewan at Artists in Canada website

Contemporary Aboriginal Artists at Encylopedia of Saskatchewan

For images of historical cultural objects relating to indigenous people at a variety of archival collections in Saskatchewan see – Our Legacy  sponsored by the Saskatchewan Council for Archives and Archivists. Otherwise, the sources for historical Saskatchewan indigenous culture can be found in books on Canadian indigenous art.  One of the best discussions I found of this particular period on the plains is in “Tenuous Lines of Descent: Indian Art and Craft of the Reservation Period” by Gerald McMaster, an essay in In the Shadow of the Sun: Perspectives on Contemporary Native Art, Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilization, Canadian Ethnology Service, Mercury series Paper 124, 1993. He brings forward the role that the Canadian Handicrafts Guild and the Local Council of Women in Regina played in the popularization of souvenir crafts.

 

©Lisa G. Henderson

Art at the 1933 World’s Grain Conference and Exhibition in Regina

As far as I know, the World’s Grain Conference and Exhibition was a one off event, never to be held in any country before or since.  The idea for the conference originated in 1927 as a way to celebrate the triumph of Saskatchewan as a major grain growing centre and also to celebrate the 50th anniversary of agriculture in Regina. Originally, it was planned to take place in 1932 but in 1931 it was postponed until the summer of 1933.  The drought and the depression, not envisioned in 1927, were the main culprits.

1931 Cartoon for 1932 Grain show

The World’s Grain Conference and Exhibition was co-sponsored by the City of Regina, the province of Saskatchewan and the federal government of Canada. It took place between July 24 and August 4, 1933 in Regina, combining an academic conference and industrial exhibition with the annual summer fair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This cartoon was produced when the fair was still scheduled to happen in 1932. There is an editorial in the Regina Leader Post as late as Sep 28, 1931 (scroll up and right) which states that the Grain Show’s future was then still up in the air, even though it had been planned for years and much organizing and spending had taken place. A decision to postpone it until 1933 was made in October.

Some general online sources for information on the exhibition are :

Brief History of Regina brochure online at: https://www.regina.ca/opencms/export/sites/regina.ca/residents/residents-regina-facts/.media/pdf/brief_history_brochure.pdf

Encyclopaedia of Saskatchewan has an entry http://esask.uregina.ca/entry/dogs_world.html

Photographically Illustrated 1933 souvenir booklet at Peel’s Prairie Provinces http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/bibliography/5745.html

I have also found a couple of blog posts which mention specific aspects of the World’s Grain Conference and Exhibition –

https://maryloudriedger2.wordpress.com/tag/saskatchewan-world-grain-exhibition/

http://postalhistorycorner.blogspot.com/2011/10/1933-worlds-grain-exhibition-congress.html

The main source for information in Regina’s Leader Post is the special Grain Show supplement of June 30, 1933 in which you can find a number of illustrations of and stories about the exhibition.

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My focus in this blog is on the art shown at the World’s Grain Show but I also want to highlight the Grain Show building, illustrated in this full page introduction to the supplement.

Said to be the largest exhibition building of its kind in the world in 1933, the structure was the focus of the displays and was also decorated with interior murals.  It was a rare example of Art Deco architecture in Regina, a city which didn’t build much of anything during the ten year Depression. Because of its size, photographs of it are rare and I haven’t yet seen any photos reproduced in the newspaper of the interior space.

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This illustration above, possibly a photograph, gives a better idea of the scale of the building and its Deco elements. A ceremonial entrance to the World Grain Show was also constructed using an echoing design. On Aug. 24, 1931, about the time that the date of the exhibition was in question, it was announced that the building was completed. Construction had begun in February, owing to the mildness of the weather that year, and the building was completely closed in by May. Many of the construction workers were on a relief work program.

Designed by Storey and Van Egmond, a Regina architectural firm, it was the horizontal equivalent in square feet of a New York Deco skyscraper and was framed using steel, although the exterior was clad with wood and stucco, like other one storey buildings.  Its dimensions and cost are mentioned in the Aug. 24 cutline and here below in this first illustration of its design, which appeared in the Leader-Post early in 1931.

1931 Architect drawing of World Grain bldg

1933 WG ceremonial entrance fair

 

Fortunately, a floor plan published in the newspaper in the special supplement gives some idea of the commodious nature of the interior and what was housed there during the 1933 show. Occasionally, a photo of decorative items on the inside of the building was reproduced in the newspaper.

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The Grain Show building was serving as a storage space for the city and various other businesses and housing a curling rink when a gigantic fire occurred in January, 1955, destroying two thirds of the building. Jan. 28, 1955 issue of the Leader Post shows some spectacular photos of the destruction. It was never rebuilt, as the insurance on the building was inadequate and the cost to re-create such a building in the 1950s was prohibitive, estimated to be over $7 million dollars at that point.

The right hand (eastern wing) section of the building in the above illustration remained in use until 2008 when a fire destroyed it, too.  I remember the eastern section, then known as the Caledonian Curling Club in the winter months. You can read more about the 2008 fire online at: http://www.canada.com/story_print.html?id=c9b109f8-126f-4216-bc7c-087bf02ee945&sponsor=  It includes this photo below which shows the scale and colouring of the east wing facade.

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I hope somewhere there is a photographic collection of interior shots of this building because it contained murals which must have been destroyed if they were in the building in 1955. Both Augustus Kenderdine, then of Saskatoon, and Fritz Brandtner, then in Winnipeg, were known to have painted murals for the building in 1933, some of which may have survived as I have seen a Brandtner mural in an art exhibition and indications are that the Saskatchewan archives may also have a Kenderdine mural.

One of Kenderdine’s murals was recorded in a photograph reproduced in the Star Phoenix

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And Brandtner’s murals were mentioned in a discussion of the Saskatchewan exhibit in the Grain Show building. Jul 5, Jul 13 & Jul 20, 1933 Leader.  The latter articles suggest that Brandtner’s murals formed a backdrop to a diorama display. A specific discussion of Brandtner’s contribution appears on Jul 24, 1933

1933 WGG show diorama

This rather badly reproduced photo of part of the Saskatchewan display may contain a Brandtner mural in the background of the diorama.

Apart from the murals, there were other artistic displays sponsored by the federal government in the Canadian section, like these inlaid grain seed pictures supervised by J.O. Turcotte, the Dominion of Canada’s exhibition supervisor. See an article on the response to these, Jul 28, 1933 LP. Judging from the description, it seems that some of the seed pictures may have been mounted on the ceiling of the Grain Show Building.

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1933 Photo of grain decorationThese decorative grain murals were probably sent back to Ottawa after the show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The National Gallery Show

A major travelling art exhibition was displayed in the Grain Show Building, a very large collection of 150 Canadian paintings from the National Gallery. I believe this display was the most extensive collection of Canadian art to ever be shown in Saskatchewan at one time and received a lot of press coverage: Jul 20, Jul 21, Jul 22, Jul 24, Jul 25,  Jul 26, Jul 26b, Jul 28Jul 31, 1933 editorial  and Jul 22 & Aug 2 Star-Phoenix, Aug 4, 1933 Leader.  Part of the show travelled to the Saskatoon summer fair after being shown in Regina. Norman Mackenzie, the tall man seen to the left of Lord Bessborough below, arranged to have the show assembled for the Grain Exhibition.

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Little is mentioned about any local art exhibitions or competitions at the fair except for J.H. Lee-Grayson’s display at the tea room on the Exhibition Grounds. Jul 28, 1933 LP.  The amateur art competition may have been foregone in favor of the massive handicraft exhibition (see below). However, there was a prize competition for local amateur photography Jul 28 and the usual prizes for amateur household industries and crafts.  A show of paintings by Alberta’s Roland Gissing was on display in downtown Regina at Clay’s Art Studio during the fair. Jul 29, 1933

The Handicraft Exhibitions

Apart from the special travelling show of National Gallery paintings, there was a very special display of handicrafts held at the World’s Grain Show.  Much of the Saskatchewan handicraft show was co-ordinated by the Women’s Art Association of Saskatchewan, although special craft displays were arranged by the Saskatoon Arts and Crafts Society and the Saskatchewan Homemakers’ Clubs.

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The W.A.A.’s organizing started early. On Apr.29, 1933 an announcement appeared about what the WAA was interested in obtaining for the exhibition.  On May 5 in SP & May 12, 1933  in Leader Post a request for submissions went out and May 31, 1933 an update on progress appeared.  On Jun 22, 1933  a set of rules for submissions was published and other updates on progress were published Jun 23 and on Jun 27, 1933 Star-Phoenix.  More updates published before the actual exhibition were on Jul 7 LP and Jul 11, 1933 SP. I reproduce here an announcement about the nature of the handicraft exhibit from the Jul 7, 1933 edition of the Regina Daily Post.

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1933 Ancient spinning art photo

 

The Leader ran an editorial on the Handicraft section of the fair on Jul. 27, 1933 and selected articles about the handicraft exhibition are; Jul 24,  Jul 26,  Jul. 27, (There are several articles on craft and china on this page and the next) Jul 28, Jul 29, 1933  SP (The latter is an article that appeared in both Regina and Saskatoon on Alberta wood sculptor, W. H. Hodgson), Aug. 1, Aug.1b, Aug.8, 1933 LP

China displays Jul 24, 1933, LP, Jul 28 & 29, 1933 in the Star Phoenix.

Homemakers’ Clubs – Aug.1, 1933 SP

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Indian Exhibits 

While the indigenous people also showed handicrafts at the World’s Grain Show, their contribution was, as usual, labelled and displayed separately from the settler craft shows.  Their very presence at the Show was an exhibition in itself, as this article (jul 26, 1933) and these editorials from the Leader demonstrate: Jul 22, 1923 & Aug 1, 1933 (please note another opinion piece to the right of this one on the page written by someone with initials M.B.C.). In the planning stages for the exhibition organizers thought that a recreation of the Battle of Batoche using tribal visitors to the fair might be a good attraction.  I’m assuming that someone with a sense of decorum put the kibosh on that silly idea, as this did not transpire. Mar 8, 1933.

Descriptions and prize lists for the craft exhibits can be found in the Leader Post on  Jul 26, 1933, Jul 28, 1933,  Aug 1, 1933,

The City and the Legislature

Although the exhibition was held at the Exhibition Grounds in Regina, the grain conference itself was held in various buildings in downtown Regina and the civic government and citizens went all out in sprucing up the city, anticipating many thousands of visitors coming to Regina. May 2, 1933 & Jun 17, 1933. The extent of civic decoration is described in a Jul 20, 1933 article.

A tent city was set up for visitors to the fair who could not be accommodated in hotels or billets. See these articles from Aug. 1Aug 1, 1933 which gives a real sense of what staying in the tent city was like.

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The Legislature then had a Minister of Public Works who was very interested in art, J.F. Bryant, and he arranged for the legislative art collection to be properly displayed and catalogued to welcome visitors to Saskatchewan.  He also commissioned a new mural for the building, which was in place just before the commencement of the World’s Grain Show. Aug.1, 1933 Leader.

There are lots of aspects of this fair covered in the Regina and Saskatoon newspapers and because reporters were there from many outside newspapers, I assume articles about the World’s Grain Conference and Exhibition can be found in other Canadian and American newspapers from July 24 – Aug. 4, 1933. But from my brief perusal of the Vancouver Sun, Ottawa Citizen and Calgary Herald,  the best news coverage can be found in Saskatchewan.

I am closing this out with a photo I found online of a commemorative plate you could buy at the 1933 fair.  I wish I had one.

1933 decorative plate

 

©Lisa G. Henderson

 

Art at Saskatchewan Fairs prior to 1950

The annual summer fairs received a lot of press in Saskatoon and Regina during “fair week.” While the fairs or exhibitions were primarily about the business of agriculture, they were also an opportunity for the whole community to get together and enjoy themselves, displaying to others the products that they specialized in. Prizes were an incentive in many exhibition categories. Parades, midways, horse racing and other live entertainments added to the festive atmosphere.

I remember attending summer fairs in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert at various times from the 1950s to the 1980s. As a child, the fair was all about the midways for me but I also enjoyed touring the displays and seeing parades and live entertainment. Being a city girl, It was also one of the few times I saw real livestock up close and personal. John McNaughton’s illustrations of fair week between 1912 and 1914 in the Regina Morning Leader are not that much different from what I remember about experiencing the fair as a young child half a century later and I have included a number of them in this post.

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Prior to 1950, the fairs were also an important venue for the display of local art and also for travelling art exhibitions. There were few other occasions or places where local or international art could be seen in Saskatchewan. The prize lists that ran in the newspaper every year provide lists of names of prize-winning exhibitors in numerous categories. Apart from prize lists, there were often descriptions of art exhibitions, particularly exhibitions which were not entered for prizes.  It was here that the work of professional local artists and art from the outside world was commented upon or described.

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I cannot possibly include here every prize list from every fair or, indeed, every description of annual art and craft exhibitions.  However, this blog should give you a taste of art at the summer fairs in Saskatoon and Regina over a long span of years. Once you get an idea of when the summer fair was held (eg. in 1930s and 40s  the third week of July in Saskatoon and the last week of July in Regina), you can make a focused search of Saskatoon and Regina newspapers for the kinds of things which may interest you. You might also notice that there are sometimes reports of fairs in other places in Saskatchewan that appear during the week of the city fair.

As the provincial capital, Regina had a succession of special fairs over the years beginning with the Territorial Exhibition of 1895 (representing the Northwest Territories), the Dominion Exhibition of 1911 (a national fair) and the World Grain Grower’s Exhibition and Conference in 1933 (an international fair). Regina also held a special fair in 1942 celebrating its pioneers and the 50th anniversary of the founding of Regina.  The 1933 World Grain Grower’s Exhibition and Conference has its own post, owing to the amount of material I found on it in the Regina Leader Post, but the other important fairs are dealt with in this one. See also my future post on indigenous art for more focused articles on the participation of indigenous artists at the fairs.

Oct 15 and Oct 22, 1889 Regina Leader includes both a commentary on the art exhibit and a prize list.

Nov. 2, 1893 Leader contains a rather interesting article about the Northwest Territories display at the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in the summer of 1893.

1895 Territorial Exhibition –  Aug 1, 1895 – A brief editorial on the Fine Arts appears under the banner the Great Fair, Aug. 8, 1895 Sep. 5, 1895 – Review of the territorial fair by a New Brunswick writer.

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Jan. 10 (scroll left) & Jan. 24, 1895 Leader describes the scope of the Territorial Exhibition and illustrates some of the buildings erected for it.  Regina’s fair was primarily a tent exhibition prior to this.

Aug. 22, 1901 ML Prize list for art and handicrafts

1911 Dominion Exhibition – Aug. 21, 1911 ML report on the state of the art exhibit written by William Trant of the Regina Society for the Advancement of Art, Literature and Science.  Aug. 14, 1911 ML, comment on the china exhibit in the Women’s World column. Aug. 3, 1911 ML – report on the gathering of indigenous people at the fair & Aug.8, 1911 (scroll right to next page) prize list for Indian exhibits. Prize list for art and handicrafts: Aug. 9, 1911 ML

Jul 28, 1915 Art Exhibits show talent commentary

Jun 22, 1916 – Report on first National Gallery travelling exhibition of art to be shown in Regina at the fair. Jul 25, 1916 – Commentary on the art exhibit Jul 28, 1916 (scroll down) – Commentary on art exhibit

May 19, 1917 ML – Announcement of special exhibition of Indian curios at the summer fair. Jun 22& 27, 1917 – Announcement and list of travelling exhibition paintings at the fair.  Jul 24 & Jul 27, 1917 – Commentary on the art exhibition.

Apr. 3, 1918 ML – report on exhibition facilities cancels year’s fine art exhibit.

Jun 12, 1926 – A look back at the Territorial exhibition of 1895.

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Jul 31, 1928 – Commentary on a locally organized exhibition of 80 paintings, many by Saskatchewan artists.  commentary on China exhibit.

Photocopy of an undated 1928 Daily Post article on art exhibit.

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Jul 29, 1929 (scroll left) – Editorial on fair week. Aug. 1 (scroll right)& Aug. 2, 1929 – Commentary on National Gallery travelling exhibit

Jul 30, 1930 – Commentary on the art competition at the fair. Jul 30, 1930 – report on china exhibit, Jul 30, 1930 prize list.  Jul 31, 1930 – Review of the travelling exhibition of Old master works from the National Gallery. See also reports on indigenous art in my future post.

Jul 31, 1934 – TV displayed at the fair

Jul 30, 1935 – Report on spinning and weaving master & the large handicraft exhibition at the fair.  Jul 31, 1935 – Report on the sculpture of W.G. Hodgson

Jul 28 & Jul 30, 1936 – Reports on the art exhibit at the fair.

Jul 27 & Jul 28, 1937 – Reports on art exhibit which includes 100 watercolours from the Canadian Watercolour Painters Society and paintings from the Royal Canadian Academy circulated by the National Gallery, as well as paintings by prominent local artists.

Aug 1, Aug 2 & Aug 5, 1938 – Reports on the travelling exhibition of Scottish watercolours circulated by the National Gallery at the summer fair. Aug. 4, 1938 – Report on art exhibit by  Balfour Technical School students and other reports on the same page.

Aug. 1 & 5, 1939 – Description of National Gallery travelling exhibition of English paintings.  Aug. 1, 1939 – Description of photograph exhibition & report on weaving demonstration

Jul 29 & Jul 31, Aug 1, 1940 – Commentary on locally organized art exhibition

1942 Historical commemoration of Regina Pioneers – articles of historical interest appear. Jul 28, 1942 – Description of art display in pioneer house. Jul 28, 1942 – Mrs. L. Dawson tells about pioneer days.  Mrs. Dawson was active in Regina arts organizations and was the mother of Ethel Barr.  Jul 29, 1942 – Article describing a hooked rug which depicted the history of the pioneer Chatwin family of Regina.  This rug sounds absolutely fascinating and I wonder if it still survives. See also a number of other articles on Indian art or painting in this issue which I will link in my post on Indigenous art. Jul 30, 1942 – See whole page for history of Regina fairs and description of artifacts on display at the exhibition. Jul 30, 1942 – description of some of the finer crafts to be seen at the fair.

Jun 14, 1947 – Announcement of the Massey Collection exhibition at the fair. More about this in Jul 22, 1947 and Jul 29, 1947 Leader Post

Jul 29, 1949 – Announcement re: art exhibitions at the fair, including a travelling exhibit of British painting sponsored by the National Gallery and one sponsored by the Alberta Society of Artists.

Jul 20, 1950 – Announcement about a large Henderson/Metzger exhibition at summer fair

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Saskatoon

Aug 6, 1908 (scroll left one column and down) – Discussion of the art exhibit at the fair which included a large display of needlework.

Aug. 4, 1909 –  article mentions the new Industrial Building and a special exhibit by D. Harnett, formerly of the N.Y. Art Students’ League.

Aug.6, 1914 SP – Prize list in art and handicrafts Aug. 5 & 6, 1914 SP Discussions of the art exhibits.

Jul 29, 1916 Morning Leader – announcement of National Gallery show travelling to Saskatoon & Aug. 1, 1916 SP – Article describing exhibits in the Women’s Building briefly mentions the fact that there were 12 modern Canadian paintings on display, sent from the National Gallery of Canada.  This show had merited a lot more comment in Regina.  Aug. 2, 1916 (scroll down one article) a brief editorial mentions the quality of the art show. Aug. 3 & Aug. 5, 1916 contain relevant prize lists.

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Aug. 4, 1917 – Much greater attention is paid to the travelling art exhibition from the National Gallery this year.  It had also visited Regina before coming to Saskatoon.

Jul 17, 1919 – Prominent American home economist praises Saskatoon’s Industrial exhibition.

Jul 19, 1921 – Discussion about the improvement of the art exhibition on many levels. Jul 21, 1921 the china painting exhibit and a couple of prize competitors are singled out for mention on the same page in other articles.

Jul 20, 1922 – Description of the special art exhibition at the fair which included a collection of paintings by Gus Kenderdine and etchings and engravings (artist’s proofs) of prints from the Canadian War Memorial Collection along with some photos of the paintings in that collection.  Also prize lists; Fine Arts and domestic manufactures on same page

Jul 28, 1928 – Announcement of a new gallery and praise for the art exhibition which included work by Regina and Saskatoon artists. Jul 26, 1928 mentions that Norman Mackenzie visited the Saskatoon art exhibition, as did J.H. Lee Grayson of Regina who commented on the show in the newspaper (Jul 28, above). The prize list for the amateur competition is on the same page. Jul 26, 1928 – Commentary and prize list for the china painting section and descriptions of other artistic exhibits.

Jul 24, 1929 (scroll down) – Discussion of small travelling exhibition of historical drawings and paintings from a private company and review of showing of local artists Kenderdine, Lindner and others.  Jul 25, 1929 Prize list for paintings, report on needlework exhibits and other artistic efforts on same page.  Jul 23, 1929 – report on China painting exhibition, Jul 24, 1929 – report on the photography exhibition and other reports on craft exhibitions on same page

Jul 23, 1930 – Editorial praising the art exhibit at the fair and report and prize list for women’s art and handicraft exhibit, also a separate report on paintings sent to Saskatoon from the Women’s Art Association in Regina. Jul 24, 1930 – Report on china painting exhibit and on same page one on photography exhibit. Jul 21, 1930 – Report and prize list for the art exhibition which included the Nutana Memorial Art Gallery collection and Saskatchewan artists. Jul 25, 1930 report on Sybil Jacobson’s contribution to the painting exhibit.

Jul 21, 1931 – Report on art exhibition including a brief mention of a travelling exhibit of paintings from the National Gallery. Jul 22, 1931– Report and prize list for china painting exhibition, also a brief report and prize list for handicraft pm same page.  Jul 23, 1931 – Report on the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society contribution to the handicraft exhibition.

Jul 27, 1932 – Report on the art exhibition, including mention of a small travelling exhibition from the National Gallery and the place of local sculpture at the fair, also a report on the handicraft exhibition and prize list and an interesting article on a prize winner in the art section. Jul 29, 1932 – Commentary on the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society contribution to the fair.

1933 – Saskatoon held a “Golden Jubilee” exhibition celebrating pioneers of the area. Jul 29, 1933  – report on art exhibition at the fair, including mention of a travelling exhibition of Canadian watercolours from the National Gallery. See also the report on the W.G. Hodgson sculpture exhibit above this article on the same page.  Aug. 8, 1933 – A separate report also appears on the Kenderdine exhibit. More reports on the travelling exhibition can be found on Aug 10 and Aug 11, 1933.  Aug. 9, 1933 – report on Saskatchewan art show at exhibition. Aug 11, 1933 (scroll right to next page) – Prize list for handicraft exhibition and reports on two special handicraft exhibits. (1 & 2). Aug. 11, 1933 Leader Post also has a report on the Saskatchewan art exhibit in Saskatoon.

Jul 26, 1934 – Report on art exhibit which includes a travelling exhibit of pictures from Calgary and some art works owned by the University of Saskatchewan, in addition to the work of local professionals.  Significantly, the work of Fred Steiger is mentioned, possibly for the first time. The report also includes a prize list for the amateur competition. Jul 27, 1934 – Commentary on the handicraft exhibition which featured a large Ukrainian display.  Jul 24, 1934 – TV at the fair.

Jul 5, 1935 – Announcement that there will be two travelling art exhibits at the Fair: Contemporary British paintings and the Canadian International Salon of Photography, courtesy of the National Gallery of Canada. Jul 20, 1935 – Discussion of art exhibits in a special supplement devoted to advertising the summer fair. (It is well worth looking at the pages of this supplement as there is more info about an arts and crafts exhibition) Jul 24, 1935 – Review of photography show and art exhibit prize list.  Jul 25, 1935 – Commentary on the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society exhibition.

1936 Exhibition billed as Golden Jubilee exhibition. Jul 18, 1936 – Announcement of two special art exhibitions by Gus Kenderdine and L.G. Saunders in a newspaper supplement. Jul 21, 1936 – More about the Kenderdine and Saunders exhibits and a prize list for the art competition (scroll right to next page).  Jul 24, 1936 – Prize list for the handicraft section. Jul 23, 1936 – Commentary on the Indian camp and work by new Canadians at the fair.

Jul 20, 1937 – Discussion of art exhibit which includes work by Kenderdine, James Henderson, Nicholas Grandmaison and notably Tom Thomson oil sketches (probably the ones owned by his sisters, although no source is mentioned). Jul 23, 1937 – Handicraft exhibition prize list

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Jul 23 & Jul 27, 1938 – Commentary on the local art exhibit . Jul 28, 1938- Item on manual training and school arts and another one on the Indian work exhibit. Jul 26, 1938 – Brief commentary on the Saskatoon Technical Collegiate art exhibit. Jul 30, 1938 – Item on the display of locally made TeePee ware.  Jul 29, 1938 – Brief report of a man who weaves straw into art, the craft awards  and the amateur art prize list, continued on Jul 30, 1938.

Jul 26, 1939 – Discussion of art exhibit and amateur prize list.  Jul 29, 1939 – Commentary on the school art exhibit.. Jul. 26, 27, 29, 1939 At the Fair columns describe and comment upon visuals at the fair.

Jul 13, 1940 – Announcement about the variety of craft at the summer fair. Jul 25, 1940 – Description of the handicraft and art display at the fair.

Jul 19, 1941 – Frederick Steiger’s painting “Saskatchewan” was used as the frontispiece for the Exhibition supplement of the Star-Phoenix. It was in the Wheat Pool exhibit at both Saskatoon’s and Regina’s fair that year.  Jul 25, 1941 – Camera Club exhibit, also shown in Regina Jul 29, 1941 Leader Post.

Jul 24, 1945 – First art show since 1940 announced for fair

Jul 21, 1948 –  Description of the photography and art exhibition and At the fair column.

Jul 28, 1950 – Description and comment upon the Saskatchewan Art Board sponsored art show at the fair.

©Lisa G. Henderson

Odd art stories of the early days in Saskatchewan newspapers

While researching newspapers I came across stories which don’t really fit into any category I have in this blog but they make for interesting reading.  I’m presenting  them here for your enjoyment.

This story “Stranger than Fiction – The Schemes of a Wily artist frustrated” appeared in the Regina Leader in 1894. Not really a funny story but indicative of the social perception of artists as bohemians, willing to break the rules of society for their passions.

Then there is the 1905 story of Marie Gilroy, the bachelor farmer girl, which again presents an artist as someone outside the norms of society.  It is essentially a funny story but also gives you an idea of how difficult it was to be a woman artist and a woman farmer in a pioneer society.

There were probably many stories of people being duped by artists or art dealers but this one received a bit of press in Sep 24, 1909 Morning Leader.  Sep 18, 1907, Jan. 13, 1908 are earlier articles which explain the circumstances of the later article. I cannot find any information on Charles S. Hatch but it looks like he had a good scam going and the Regina civic leaders were gullible enough. The reporter obviously enjoyed poking fun at the bad judgement of local politicians with the collusion of E.C. Rossie, Regina’s premiere photographer.

Other instances of quite visceral art, or more often than not political, criticism are:

Aug 13, 1920 Morning Leader (scroll right to next page for headline) announced the moving of a painting from the Legislature walls to the basement for dubious reasons.

A similar occurrence was reported Nov 21, 1934 LP. According to what I saw in the newspapers, Mr. Bryant seemed to be the first provincial politician who was reported to have an interest in art.  He had the legislative assembly collection cleaned up and put on view for the 1933 World’s Grain Exhibition and was one of the few politicians to speak about the need for an art gallery.  In 1933 he retrieved two valuable macquette statues from certain destruction. Mar 7, 1934   I believe Louis Phillipe Hébert deposited these pieces with the new Saskatchewan government  when the Quebec sculptor spent a few days visiting at Government House in 1905 (Sep 20 Leader), probably hoping to get future sculptural commissions. The statues can be seen on the Legislative Assembly art collection website.

Most stories about artists confine themselves to what the artist is best known for but in the first half of the twentieth century artists were called upon to do all kinds of work.  I’ve chosen a few of these stories to illustrate their activities.

Early on in his residence in Regina, James Henderson, apart from making oil paintings, illustrated handbooks, decorated scrolls and helped to create window displays (scroll up and to left).

Harriette Keating was probably not the only artist to work on parade floats but this image is the only one I have found which has an attribution to an artist.

Regina Float 1933

Fred Steiger did something similar in World War II when he designed a stage setting for a Saskatoon Victory Loan Campaign and Parade

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And Campbell Tinning worked as a painter of backdrops for Regina’s Little Theatre… Oct 29, 1931 LP

Ernie Lindner, a talented illustrator but not known as a caricaturist, was a staunch fan of all things modern. In an illustrated letter to the editor Sep 13, 1947 SP he humorously critiqued the mayor’s idea to have a new city hall built in the neo-Gothic style. I particularly like the “boomtown” Gothic pediments he’s added to the facades of surrounding buildings, so typical of small prairie towns with pretensions in the early days.

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Sometimes stories about artists are just interesting.

May 6, 1918 LP – Soldier artist from Regina encounters unimagined difficulties

Jul 5 1921 SP A Saskatoon boy wins recognition in a British Empire art contest

Apr 29 1939 SP Saskatoon born boy wins recognition in the Soviet Union for his sculpture

Jan 22, 1943 SP is about the wartime oddysey of two former Regina art students  & Nov 25, 1944 SP has a Saskatchewan connection

John Harvey Jorskies of Moose Jaw. Oct 10, 1928 Morning Leader.  I wonder whatever happened to him…

Mrs. M. Ewart, Aug 11, 1945 LP

I particularly like this Dec 8, 1937 LP magazine section profile of Superintendant T.V. Sandys Wunsch of the RCMP which mentions his bead working hobby. He showed his beadwork in a Regina craft shows in the early 1940s

Nov 6, 1946 SP it was reported that a Saskatoon artist was hired by the Eaton’s Co. to paint murals on velour for a display. The newspaper praised the display and the Eaton’s employee who commissioned the work but the artist’s name was never mentioned.

Jan 12 1948 SP – Levine Flexhaug, the super fast oil painter of Gull Lake. UPDATE – See small article on Flexhaug in Canadian Art magazine, May 2015.  A curated exhibition of his work toured western galleries beginning in the summer of 2015.  See: Mackenzie Gallery. Who knew?

Nov 1, 1929 SP An editorial appears on the need for a new flag and Mar 12, 1930 SP a pioneer of Saskatoon comes up with an idea for a new design.

Oct 16, 1948 LPFred Lahrman, wildlife painter is profiled

Oct 8, 1949 LP- Possible surrealist sculptor at Eastend, Sask.

Sep 19, 1930 SP Helen Craig ex pat Saskatoon artist

Dec 14, 1935 SP Former Saskatonian Edna MacMillan won a prize for New York Beaux Arts Ball costume design

Nov 2, 1964 Maud Fletcher McIntosh, pioneer of Saskatoon, lifelong painter. Maud was the daughter of Grace Fletcher, a pioneer merchant of the town who had the first protestant church named after her — Grace Methodist Church. Maud attended the Little Stone School House and the University of Saskatchewan.

Mar 14, 1947 LP – We learn that the Moose Jaw fire department has a cartoonist in its midst.

Oct 29, 1924 Morning Leader story about a creative use for Regina mud

Jul 24, 1929 SP Clay statue broken at fair – again no artist’s name mentioned

Aug 3 and Aug 6, 1927 Morning Leader.  Farmer Darnbrough of Laura, Saskatchewan shows his seed pictures at fair. The 1933 World Grain Grower’s exhibition in Regina featured building decorations created in Ottawa using the same technique.

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W. V. Magee of Domremy Apr 22, 1925 Morning Leader.  He probably wasn’t the only one making horn and antler furniture .  I have seen examples of it in many places but this is the only article I ran across about it.

1933 Regina World’s Grain exhibition featured photos of two hand-crafted objects which made it on to the front pages of the Leader – farm carving Jul 7, 1933 and model train. Jul 26, 1933. Paintings made by locals never graced the front pages. For more about objects and art displayed at the 1933 exhibition in Regina see my post on the subject.

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And then there are the usual stories about undiscovered masterpieces in local collections —

Mar 28, 1917 E.C.Rossie’s mother got a bargain at an auction which she passed on to her son

May 15 & May 17, 1948 LP – Regina resident found to be owner of a possible old master painting

And speculations about recently discovered objects —

Feb 2, 1934 and Apr 17, 1934 SP there appeared reports about a so-called Stone Goddess found on a farm near North Battleford.

Early Saskatchewan Arts and Crafts Organizations

This post is centred on specific arts and crafts organizations in Saskatoon and Regina but I have included mentions of selected other organizations who sponsored arts and crafts shows and education in the years prior to 1950.  While my source is only Saskatoon and Regina newspapers, there was one provincial institution which got coverage in both newspapers, even though most of its work was in rural areas.

The Homemaker’s Institute aka Homemakers’ Clubs began in 1911 and was overseen by the Department of Household Science at the University of Saskatchewan.  Initially the Institutes were concerned with scientific homemaking courses and workshops but I have come across a few of their reports made at annual conventions which show how heavily this organization was involved in handicraft group organization in rural areas in the 1930s.

From the 1920s to 1940s the Homemakers Clubs (known generally in Canada as Women’s Institutes) were often the centre of rural social life and art and craft activities went on in their club rooms.  For example, Bertha Oxner, the Director of Women’s Work at the University of Saskatchewan, organized art exhibits and art education materials that were circulated in rural locations or donated to clubs in the 1930s.

This is a selection of articles which will highlight this aspect of their activities. Jun 20, 1924 SP (this is only a headline, the rest is illegible, but it gives an idea of the interest in arts and crafts at an early stage), Jun 30, 1933 LP, Jun 11, 1937 SSP are two reports from annual Homemakers’ conventions. Nov. 9, 1950 LP is a report on the development of a local club in Melfort. Nov. 9, 1950 SP shows how the Homemakers’ Clubs arts and crafts sections eventually came under the purview of the Saskatchewan Arts Board.

For more information on the Homemakers’ Clubs of Saskatchewan see: Women’s Organizations in Saskatchewan– Report for Culture Youth and Recreation by Dr. A. Leger –Anderson, 31 March 2005 online at  http://www.pcs.gov.sk.ca/Women’sOrgs , pp. 33-44.

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The Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society 1923-1946

This society grew out of the Saskatoon LCW Arts Committee.  In fact, when the Arts and Crafts Society was established as such, the LCW Arts Committee ceased existence for some time. The LCW Arts Committee was established in Saskatoon about 1922 and the few shows it held indicated that the direction of interest was the promotion of handicrafts. In order to accomplish their aims the Arts and Crafts Society became a separate, but affiliated body of the LCW in 1924. Organized and run by Vivian Morton, the wife of Arthur S. Morton, historian at the University of Saskatchewan with the honorary assistance of Christina Murray, the wife of University of Saskatchewan’s first president Walter Murray, the focus was not on members of the association making crafts but on concerns raised by the University’s Historical Association. The Historical Association worried about the disappearance of traditional craft items as modernization took place and was attempting to collect items which might not be produced in the future.  Source for this is Cheryl Meszaros, Visibility and Representation: Saskatchewan Art Organizations prior to 1945, Queen’s University Master of Arts Thesis (1990)P.42-43

In her thesis, Meszaros quotes the constitution of the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Committee, found in the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society papers at the Saskatchewan Archives, Saskatoon, regarding their objectives:

  1. To encourage, retain, revive and develop arts and crafts
  2. To prevent the loss, extinction and deterioration of the same
  3. To aid people skilled in any such crafts by providing a market for their products
  4. To educate the public to the value of arts, industries and crafts and of good handiwork.

The idea was to support and maintain the production of traditional crafts, particularly those made by what were termed New Canadians and indigenous people. I guess the assumption was that the predominantly English culture of Saskatoon was not “new” but no one seems to have referred to anyone as Old Canadians. The Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society held most of their functions in the YWCA building in Saskatoon, like many other womens’ clubs.

Saskatoon YWCA in 1912

Meszaros’ thesis highlights the marketing achievements of this finely tuned organization and the assistance they provided to poor farm women during the depression by paying them for their work, but also the problematic around a WASP group of university- educated society ladies dictating patterns and designs to multi-cultural artisans in order to make their work more palatable or saleable to a WASP audience.

Nonetheless, they provided an example of how to run a craft society by providing educational programs for their members and the public.  Western Producer journalist Violet McNaughton was a member of this organization in the 1930s and she and Luta Munday were in charge of obtaining the indigenous peoples’ crafts.  Luta Munday was a bit of a writer and you can see the problematic public attitudes in some of her publications in the newspaper.  She was concerned about maintaining the integrity of indigenous crafts but she also personally displays the prejudices and misunderstandings that this type of arrangement led to. eg. Nov. 17, 1931 report of a speech and Dec. 19, 1933 and Dec. 16, 1935 SP articles written by Munday.

The Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society became quite famous in Canada for its work and was invited to join the Canadian Handicrafts Guild, headquartered in Montreal. The group declined the invitation because they felt they already had a high profile and did not want to lose it by affiliating with the national crafts organization.  Lack of raw materials for workers, war chaos and the aging of the Society members caused the demise of this group after World War II. There is an article on the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society in Saskatchewan History written by Sandra Flood, well known Canadian craft academic and a former resident of Saskatchewan, but I don’t have access to her discussion of this club. There is a full archival record for the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society at the Saskatchewan Archives Board in Saskatoon.

I would add that the Saskatoon Arts and Crafts Society was the only group in the city who sponsored what could be called solo shows of individual painters, although that was not their purpose.  They provided this honour to Hilda J. Stewart in 1935 and to Augustus Kenderdine in 1936 when both artists were leaving the city.  Hilda Stewart returned to Saskatoon in 1936 to replace Kenderdine at the University of Saskatchewan as art instructor after the latter left for Regina.

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The activities of the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society were well-covered by the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix in the Women’s pages of the newspaper.  Vivian Morton, often the president of this club, was also active with the Saskatoon Art Association and later the Saskatchewan Arts Board. Apr. 4, 1957  She received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1962. May 11, 1962 SSP

 

Presidents of the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society: List compiled from reading newspaper articles.

1924/25-1928/29 Mrs. A.S. Morton1929 Special report on Stoon Arts & Crafts Society

1929/30 Mrs. Roy Todd

1930/31 Mrs. A.S. Morton

1931/32 Mrs. A. S. Morton

1932/33 Mrs. A. S. Morton

1933/34 Mrs. F. Garnet Hopper

1934/35 to 1938/39 Mrs. A.S. Morton

1939/1940 – Mrs. G. A. Bonney???????????????????????????????

1940/41 Mrs. G. A. Bonney

1941/42 Mrs. G.R. Peterson

1942/43 to 1945/46 Mrs. A.S. Morton

 

 

 

 

 

 

Articles containing historical information on the club:  Nov. 25, 1931, May 17, 1935 SP, Jul 20, 1935, Apr. 16, 1940, SP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chronological list of articles found in the Google News Archive with some additions from old clippings unavailable at the Archive reproduced here:

Nov. 16, 1923 SP, May 31, 1924( scroll right), Jun 13, 1924, Jun 13, 1924, SP – These articles are mostly illegible but the headlines contribute to the story of the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society.  Newspaper issues for 1925 and 1926 are unavailable and a lot are missing in the 1920s.

Jun. 2, 1927 SP, Oct. 22, 1927, Nov. 28 1927 SP, Jan. 24, 1928 SP, May 31, 1928 SP, Oct. 31, 1928, SP, Nov. 28, 1929, Dec. 31, 1929 SP

Jan. 15, 1930 SP, Feb. 6, 1930(see illustration), Feb. 8, 1930 SP, Mar. 24, 1930, Apr. 19, 1930, Apr, 23, 1930, Oct. 21, 1930 SP, Nov. 24, 1930 SP

Mar. 3, 1931 SP, Mar. 17, 1931, Apr. 21, 1931 SP, Nov. 17, 1931, Nov. 30, 1931 SP

Feb. 18, 1932 SP, May 31, 1932 SP, Nov. 22, 1932, Dec. 2, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, 1932( see illustration), Dec. 13, 1932 SP

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Jan. 17, 1933, Apr. 25, 1933, May 20, 1933, May 23, 1933,  Oct. 17, 1933, Dec. 12, 1933 SP, Dec. 19, 1933 SP

Jan. 23, 1934 SP, Feb 20, 1934, Mar. 20, 1934, Apr. 17, 1934, May 12, 1934, May 14, 1934 SP, Oct 16, 1934 SP

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Jan. 22, 1935 SP, Feb 13, 1935, Feb. 15(see illustration), Feb. 18, Feb. 19, 1935, Mar. 19, 1935 SP, Apr. 16, 1935 SP, May 4, 1935, May 17, 1935,  Oct. 22, 1935, SP, Nov. 16, 1935, Dec. 6, 1935, Dec. 10, Dec. 14, 1935, Dec. 16, 1935 SP,

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Apr. 2, 1936, Apr. 9 & Apr. 18, 1936 SP, May 20, May 23, 1936, Oct. 21, 1936, Dec. 15, 1936 SP

Jan. 19, 1937 SP, Feb. 16, 1937, Mar. 17 & 18, 1937, May 18, 1937, Dec. 10, 1937 SP, Sep. 21, 1937, Oct. 19, 1937,SP

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Feb. 23, 1938,  Mar. 30, 1938, Apr. 28, 1938, May 3, 1938 SP, Nov. 1 & Nov. 3, Nov. 23, 1938, Dec.1 & 9, 1938 SP

May 16, 1939, Sep. 19, 1939, Oct. 17, 1939, Nov. 21, 1939 SP, Dec. 4, 1939, Dec. 9, 15 & 21, 1939

Jan. 16, 1940, May 3 & 7, 1940, Dec. 9, 1940. SP See also historical articles noted above.

Feb. 18, 1941, Apr. 22, 1941, Apr. 30, 1941, Nov. 18, 1941, SP

Apr. 21, 1942, SP, Jan. 19, 1943 SP, Apr. 3, 1945, Nov. 27, 1945, Jun 20, 1946 SP

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The Saskatoon Craft Guild 1942post 1951.  This is a club comprised of craftspeople who showed their own work. Initially, the club was devoted to making petit point embroideries, taught by instructor Mrs. T. H. Johnson who lived in Saskatoon in the early 1940s. Later the club began meeting at the Saskatoon Technical School and the range of crafts broadened to include pottery and other pursuits.  I found these reports about this club, in addition to the short ones illustrated below :  May 15, 1942 SP, May 22, 1942, May 13, 1943, May 18, 1944, May 11, 1945, May 19, 1945, May 11, 1946, Oct. 2, 1946, May 6, 1948 SP, May 11, 1949, SP,  May 9, 1950 SP is a photo story, May 9, 1951 SP.

List of presidents compiled from reading newspaper articles.

1942 – Mrs. W.G. Brigman                     1945 Mrs. Bouskill president Craft Guild

1943 – Mrs. Roy Ruemper

1944 – Mrs. Charles Blake

1945 – Mrs. W.H. Bouskill

1946 – Mrs. J.G. Wilkinson

1947 – Mrs. Vern Welker

1948 – Mrs. C. Kargut

1949- Mrs. R. Pepper

1950 – Miss Lenore Jantz

1951- Mrs. D.H. Fast

 

 

 

 

 

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1949 Craft guild display

 

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The Ukrainian Women’s Association of Saskatoon 1934-present

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With a very large presence in the prairie provinces by 1920, people of Ukrainian ethnicity began forming music and arts associations early on.  The Saskatoon Ukrainian Women’s Association seems to have come into being in the 1930s, if you judge by the newspaper reports. By 1938 they were already announcing that they were collecting items for a future museum.  The Saskatoon Association was affiliated with the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada, who in turn was affiliated with local and national Councils of Women.  Begun as a social club, this group was not an arts organization per se but they seem to have decided that their handicraft committee could represent the arts of their cultural background more fully than the Saskatoon Arts and Crafts Society whose prime focus was marketing.  I noticed a number of articles on their activities so I have included them in this discussion because their activities led to the formation of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada in Saskatoon. http://www.umc.sk.ca/page/about#history

1941 Ukr. Women's Assoc. show & sale

What little material the Saskatoon Arts and Crafts Society must have collected for the Historical Museum at the University of Saskatchewan was likely destroyed when that museum had a fire in the late 1940s. It is a very good thing that someone else was also doing the collecting.

Mar. 17, 1934 SP, Jul 5 & 6, 1935, Jun 21, 1937, Jul 16, 1937, Dec 15, 1937, Dec  10 & 19, 1938, Dec 9 & 18, 1939, Sep 17, 1940, Dec. 14, 1940, Feb 18, 1941, Dec 22, 1941, Dec. 21, 1942, Mar 13, 1945, I can’t find any announcements of craft displays during most of the war years and after. Mar. 5, 1949 SP.

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The Ukrainian Women’s Association’s museum collection was held by the community in the Mohoyla Institute for many years before a purpose built museum was erected in 1979.  Mrs. Rose Dragan, active since the Association’s early days, was an instrumental figure in pushing the creation of a physical space for the collection forward.  She was a weaver and also wrote books on Ukrainian handicraft. She was honoured for her efforts. Rose Dragan was also a member of the Saskatoon Arts& Crafts Society.

The Saskatchewan Council for Archives and Archivists has produced an exhibit of Ukrainian arts and crafts which can be viewed online.

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German Canadian Association 1934

Like the Ukrainian Association, the German Canadian Association was an ethnic social club but in early July, 1934 there was some coverage of an arts and crafts show which they arranged in Saskatoon at Eaton’s Department Store. Jun 29, 1934, Jul 3, 1934, Jul 6, 1934, SP Jul 6, 1934 LP

Saskatoon has a German Canadian social club to this day called the Concordia Club.  Mention is made of this club in this poster for German Canadian day which appeared in the July 4, 1936 edition of the Star-Phoenix. The cutline says that the German Canadian Reunion, as it was called, had been in existence for 7 years, meaning that this club was probably formed in 1929.

1936 German Day poster

 

The German ethnic group had a difficult time in Saskatchewan from World War I onwards and the activities of their social and cultural organizations may have been deliberately omitted from the news owing to the suspicions and hatreds developed during the two world wars about enemy cultures. People of German extraction were often subjected to internment during the wars if their activities were deemed ‘suspicious.’

 

 

 

 

http://www.saskatoon-home.ca/back%20issues/SkHomeWinter2009.pdf

In 2009 the original 1957 Concordia Club building burned to the ground and many artifacts and documents from the early days of the association were lost according to pp.44-47 of above magazine article. But a new Concordia Club has since risen from the ashes.

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REGINA

Early Regina craft organizations included the Regina Handicraft Guild, est. 1908.  See my post under The Craftsmen Ltd. and the WAA Fine and Applied Arts committee or Guild, 1930-1945. See the discussion about the Women’s Art Association of Saskatchewan in a separate post.

Other independent craft organizations in Regina were the following:

Regina Arts & Crafts Society 1937-1950

This society seems to have been an outgrowth of the Saskatchewan Women’s Art Association Fine and Applied Arts Guild, which was formed in the early 1930s. The guild, a committee of the WAA, was primarily interested in crafts and continued to operate alongside, but separately, from the Regina Arts & Crafts Society, although some members belonged to both groups.  I base my assumption on the origin of this group from the fact that many of the new Arts& Crafts executive members were formerly on that WAA committee.  The Regina Arts & Crafts Society was affiliated with the Canadian Handicraft Guild, unlike the Women’s Art Association’s Fine and Applied Arts Guild. (This terminology is confusing but I am basing this distinction on one made in Cheryl Meszaros, Visibility and Representation: Saskatchewan Art Organizations prior to 1945, Queen’s University Master of Arts Thesis, 1990, p. 63).  The Society held membership teas in the fall, usually October, had demonstrations, classes and lectures throughout the winter and held a large craft show and sale every spring, usually March or April.  They also helped to host incoming shows, did some exhibiting at the annual fairs and sent work out to shows sponsored by the Canadian Handicraft Guild.

The association, unlike its Saskatoon counterpart, was composed primarily of craftspeople and the range of crafts on display was dictated by their interests.  Shows included everything from needlework and fibre arts, leather tooling, woodcarving and china painting to oil paintings.  The crafts they produced were reflective of their urban WASP membership and did not represent the multiplicity of ethnicities then living in Regina and the surrounding countryside.  Although they made items for sale, they were primarily a club concerned with companionship and learning and exposing the public to the work of contemporary artisans in Regina. The WAA FAAG, on the other hand, initially modelled themselves on the Saskatoon Arts and Craft Society in the sense that they showed the work of a variety of ethnic groups in their early exhibitions, performing educative work by doing so.  However, neither of the Regina groups managed craft workers in the way the Saskatoon organization did because artisans were running these organizations.

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Dec. 7 & Dec. 8, 1937 LP, Dec 11, 1937,  Jan 13, 1938 LP, Mar. 10,  28 & 29 & 30,1938 LP, Oct. 1, 1938 LP

Feb 9, 1939 LP, Mar 29 & 30, 1939 LP

Oct 11, 1940 LP, Dec. 14, 1940 LP

Feb. 15, 1941, Apr 2 & 3, 1941 (two articles on each page),

Mar 16, 1942, Apr 10, 1942,  May 9, 1942 LP

Apr 24, 1943 (two articles on opposite pages)

Apr 22, 1944 LP

 

 

Apr 24, 1945 , Oct 3 & 6, 1945 LP, Nov. 10, 1945, Dec 15 1945, LP

Jan 12, 1946, Apr 26, 1946, May 16, 1946 LP

Feb 17, 1947 LP, Apr 15 & Apr 25, 1947 LP

Jan 20, 1948, Apr 10, 1948, Apr 23, 1948, May 13, 1948, Oct 2 & Oct 7, 1948 LP

Oct. 1, 1949, Apr 22, 1950 LP I couldn’t find many reports from the late 1940s, although it is clear from the 1950 article that the club was still intact.

Regina Arts & Crafts Society Presidents

1937/38 – Miss E. Don Cathro

1938/39 – Mrs. J. C. Black

1939/40 -Mrs. Stewart Adrain

1940/41 –Mrs. Stewart Adrain

1941/42 – Mrs. Stewart Adrain

1942/43 – Mrs. J.D. Rowand

1943/44 – Mrs. W. G. Currie

1944/45 – Mrs. N.C. Elborne

1945/46 – Mrs. Harold F. Thomson

1946/47 – Mrs. Harold F. Thomson

1947/48 – Mrs. R. B. Van Iderstine

1948/49 – Mrs. R. B. Van Iderstine

1949/50 – Mrs. G.B. Munro

______________________________________________________________________

The Regina Handicraft Centre 1940-1945, possibly longer

This was a civically sponsored institution which provided a space for handicrafts to be taught to children.  It received a lot of press in these years but I didn’t notice much afterward.  Sometimes there were shows and sales offered at Handicraft House, which eventually found a home  on Hamilton street after moving around a bit in the earlier years.

Dec. 13, 1940, Nov 4, 1941, Nov 8, 1941, Nov. 24, 1941, Apr. 26, 1943, Apr 30, 1943 (scroll left), Aug 24, 1945

©Lisa G. Henderson

Art Education in Saskatchewan prior to 1950

This survey is primarily guided by newspaper reports I found, although I do admit to having a research-based knowledge of the history of the University of Saskatchewan art department, which informs part of the discussion dedicated to it.  The survey includes public school art education, private school art education and the education of art teachers, as well as the art training offered by post-secondary institutions like Regina School of Fine Art (post 1936) and the University of Saskatchewan and Emma Lake Art Camp – Murray Point Summer School of Art.

For a much more learned  and wide-ranging discussion of the general history of public school education in the province, see Saskatchewan One Room School Project  and pages dedicated to Normal School history in Saskatchewan.  There is very little about art teaching on these pages but lots about all kinds of things connected to schooling in Saskatchewan in the early days — a wonderful online resource, part of the Saskatchewan Gen Web.

Please note that biographies of artists whose names are bolded in the following text can be found in my biographical posts on Men and Women artists. They offer links to related items.

Art was part of the curriculum in public schools from early days. Future teachers often learned about art at Normal School so this post will include reports on Normal School teaching. Early evidence of the Normal School’s interest in exposing their students to professional painting can be seen in these reports on successive visits to the school by F. M. Bell-Smith, a Toronto painter who often spent summers in the Rockies. Oct. 11, 1900 (scroll down), Dec. 18, 1902 Morning Leader.

The earliest reference I have found of  a professional art teacher in the province relates to Elizabeth E. Rankin who came to Regina in 1903 to teach Music and Art at the Provincial Normal School in Regina and in 1912 moved to the Normal School in Saskatoon where she taught teachers about art and music until 1938. In 1908 the first provincial teachers’ convention was held in Regina and the Morning Leader’s report on it give a long summary of Miss Rankin’s speech to the delegates on drawing pedagogy. May 22, 1908 ML. More summaries of other topics appear in the next day’s issue May 23, 1908, allowing anyone who is interested to put Miss Rankin’s contribution in context.

Regina’s first and only public collegiate at that time (later known as Central Collegiate) offered art classes as early as 1912 according to a Jan.1, 1912 ML article. The teacher was George Robertson, who also was in charge of teaching business. I haven’t run across any other mentions of art teachers in the Regina elementary schools but there must have been specialists in them who had gone through training at the local Normal School. I know that Moose Jaw Collegiate had a specialist art teacher in the 1920s (Gordon W. Snelgrove) so I assume that other high schools in the province must have also had them at one time or another. Two examples I have found of art teachers reported in the high schools come from Saskatoon at Bedford Road Collegiate. Feb. 1, 1929, Oct. 8, 1929 SSP. A description of a high school display at Nutana Collegiate also suggests there were high school classes in art there that year.  Jun 9, 1933 SSP

There is a book called For the Children: 25 years with the Saskatchewan Society for Education through Art, edited by Margaret Messer and published by the SSEA in 1985. In this book the editor attempts some kind of history of art education in the province prior to the formation of the SSEA (c. 1960) Owing to its conversational style and lack of details, it doesn’t offer much in the way of a history but, according to Messer, there wasn’t much of a program of art education in the high schools of the province until the 1960s.  In the frontispiece she claims that she was the first fully qualified high school art teacher in the province who had taught in North Battleford for two years before being hired by Balfour Technical School in Regina (this would probably be in the mid 1940s but again details are not the author’s strong point). I would argue that she was not the first fully qualified high school art teacher in Saskatchewan. However, in the absence of any other source on this subject, this book does provide some information on art teaching in the high schools of the province at a later time.

In Messer’s opinion, people who taught children art without a teacher’s education were not fully qualified to teach art.  It is true that there were art teachers who were hired on the basis of their expertise as artists only but there were other high school teachers, like Gordon Snelgrove, who were arguably more fully qualified in her terms than Messer was and I am sure there must have been other examples before the 1940s.

According to an April 29, 1907 Morning Leader article, an art and music supervisor for Regina schools was in place by 1907.  Her name was Miss Jennie Grier. In the Oct. 29, 1910 SSP I ran across an announcement that art and music supervisors were being installed in the public schools that year. I do know that Jane Little became the first art supervisor of the public schools in Saskatoon until the 1920s when she taught summer school for teachers at the University with Elizabeth Rankin in 1921. Apr. 2, 1921 . See their biographies for more links related to this.   Jun 16, 1915 SSP -report of teachers taking manual training classes and giving a display of their reed work.   A report on a Regina Normal School student teachers’ exhibit Apr. 11, 1925 tells us that Vaughan Grayson was then art teacher at the Regina Normal School. She was also known to have taught art at the U of S Summer school for teachers in the later 1920s when she was described as an instructor at the Moose Jaw Normal School. A successor of hers at the Normal School in Regina was Laura Lamont who taught there until about 1940.

In Aug. 4, 1941 SSP. I found another rare report of a U of S Summer school for teachers art display at Saskatoon.

Apart from what was being taught in the public schools in cities, ther???????????????????????????????e were what was known as industrial schools  or manual training sections which taught practical vocations.  The work of students in the industrial schools and the public schools was usually showcased in the annual summer fairs where you can find lists of prizewinners and sometimes reviews of the showings. Jul 19, 1921 SSP (see also illustration here) or Jul 16, 1918 Morning Leader are two early examples. Look for descriptions of the school exhibits and prize lists in the week of the summer fair in each city in the Star-Phoenix and the Leader.

There were also a number of private boarding schools in the province in the early years.  I have the most information about Regina College but there were others like Prince Albert’s St. Alban’s School for Girls who often hired professional art teachers. In 1925 artist Faith Kenworthy Browne of London arrived to teach there. I’m not sure of the length of her tenure in P.A. because she did return to England and developed a significant reputation as a painter in London in later years.

1916 ad for St. Alban's PA from pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inglis Sheldon-Williams, another professional artist, was hired to teach art at Regina College in 1916.  He had had an earlier association with Saskatchewan but his second and last sojourn in Canada lasted from 1914-1918.??????????????????????????????? Regina College seemed to have an art teacher on staff for many years until the University of Saskatchewan took over the school as a public institution and developed the University’s art department there in 1936.  Professionally trained artists like Mildred Valley Thornton, Harriette Keating, J.H. Lee-Grayson, W.G. Hazard and Hilda Stewart all taught Saturday or evening classes at Regina College prior to 1936.  They would have taught both Regina College students and interested people from the community.

 

1930 Regina College Art ad Jan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is true, however, that much of the emphasis on teaching art was directed towards younger children. By the late 1930s enthusiastic art teachers in the province were embracing modern methods and attitudes about the role of art in a child’s education. Some were following the art education ideas espoused by Arthur Lismer, a former member of the Group of Seven, who was extremely influential in the development of new ideas about Canadian art education for children.

Guest speakers on primary art education and official exhibitions featuring the art of children from other places came into the province to spread the new attitudes.   Dr. Paul L. Dengler of Vienna came to Saskatoon on a speaking tour, Sep. 18 & Sep. 25, 1930,  Arthur Lismer spoke on Canadian art and art education in Saskatoon Mar. 22, 1932 SSP and Marion Richardson of England, while teaching at the U of S Summer School for Teachers, spoke  to a large audience in the Physics theatre at the University of Saskatchewan. Jul 27, 1934 SSP. The National Gallery sent a show of children’s art to Regina College Mar. 28, 1934 RLP where children’s art classes led by May Kenderdine were then being held.

April 9, 1928Apr. 12, 1928 SSP report of art demonstrations at the teacher’s convention. Apr. 1, 1932 Art of school children displayed at teacher’s convention. Apr. 25 & Apr. 26, 1935 SSP children’s art classes display in Saskatoon. Ethel Thorpe was an artist and a public school teacher who tirelessly taught children’s art classes for years in Saskatoon on Saturday mornings. She also helped to arrange exhibitions of the art of school children at the education conventions held there.

Prince Albert native Wynona C. Mulcaster was one of the young Saskatchewan art teachers who was deeply interested in modern methods of teaching art to children.  Mulcaster had a long  and distinguished career in art education after 1950 but she began her career as an art teacher in the public school system in Prince Albert. She became known across the province as an art supervisor in the Normal Schools, first in Regina in 1944  and after in Saskatoon. She also conducted children’s art classes for the Saskatoon Art Association. See my post on Saskatoon Art Association for more information on Mulcaster’s activities there.   Feb. 27, 1943 Art Gum Column re: Mulcaster’s showing of children’s art from P.A.,  On her work as a Normal School teacher, Apr.7, 1945 Jan. 4, 1947. Jan. 27, 1951. SSP

There is an online M.A. Art History thesis by Laura Lee Dale Heron called “German Expressionism and the Child Art Movement in the Career of Wynona Mulcaster” submitted to Concordia University in 1995. The thesis is based on interviews with the artist, among other things, and contains a good summary of her career in Saskatoon and viewpoints on art education from 1935-1955.

Elsie Dorsey (d. 1963), art supervisor of Regina public schools  from the late 1930s into the 1960s, was also an enthusiastic supporter of modern teaching methods for children.  She taught at the U of S summer school for teachers in 1939 and 1940 and expounded on her theories in two speeches.  Jul 28, 1939, SSP Jul 27, 1940 RLP. The National Gallery sent a children’s show from Ottawa to Regina in 1944. Mar. 17, 1944

Public exhibitions of the art of children were frequently held in the 1940s by both the Regina Art Centre Association and the Saskatoon Art Association, where children’s art classes were regularly held on Saturday mornings at the Saskatoon Art Centre. See separate posts on these associations for lists of shows. Some evidence of the interest of prairie schools in art education is indicated in this article which appeared in the Star-Phoenix in 1941. Mar. 7, 1941 SSP

Two technical high schools opened in the province in the early 1930s: Balfour Technical Collegiate in Regina and Saskatoon Technical School in Saskatoon. Both schools had an art & manual training department, although many of the courses were taught in the evening so they were for adults as well as school age students. Teaching of fine art at Saskatoon’s school was led by Ernie Lindner and in Regina W.G. Hazard was the art director at Balfour Technical School. They were both dynamic and engaging artist/teachers. There is evidence that Harriett Keating and Illingworth Kerr also taught night classes at Balfour in the early 1930s. See: Sep 15 & Sep 23, 1931 and Nov 4, 1931Apr. 12, 1933 the first annual display at Balfour Technical School was announced, including arts and crafts.  In Saskatoon  handicraft classes were advertised (Nov. 19, 1932) and a variety of artwork from the Technical School was exhibited annually from 1932 on. egs. Apr. 15, 1932,  Mar. 28, 1934, Mar. 28, 1935. Apr. 22, 1937. Nov. 24, 1937, Oct. 10, 1939, SSP describes the amount of classes available and Sep 25, 1940, SSP discusses the loss of a government grant to subsidize them. I have found some descriptions of 1940s art exhibitions at Balfour Tech, Mar. 20, 1945, Jun 16, 1945Jun 14, 1947 RLP, when the art classes were conducted by Margaret Messer.

balfour-collegiateBalfour Technical Collegiate, Regina

Although the courses at the technical high schools typically had more variety than the public schools or private colleges, all of the training was elementary, in the sense that there were no dedicated art schools, allowing artists to progress to a diploma level in any technical discipline. Aspiring artists left the province for professional training after availing themselves of what training was available locally from private instructors or schools prior to 1950. The role of private instructors for children should not be ignored. Many of the artists in my biographical posts gave private lessons as a means of supporting themselves and sharing their knowledge and passion for art with children and young adults.

However, in 1936, new opportunities opened up for artistic training, initiated by the University of Saskatchewan, then led by its first president Walter C. Murray. In the early 1920s Murray had invited artist Augustus Kenderdine to set up a studio on campus and teach on an informal basis. Murray was desirous of setting up faculties of music, drama and fine arts and in 1931 had been able to establish a department of music at the University of Saskatchewan.  The drama department had to wait until the mid 1940s. In 1933 Murray arranged for Kenderdine to teach practical courses in art for the University in concert with Dr. Richard A. Wilson, an English professor who gave lectures in art appreciation. (See my post on RSAALS for more on Wilson’s earlier ventures) Thus, one of the first credit courses in art at a university in Canada was established by this collaboration. However, this did not constitute an art department, as the credit in Art came under the aegis of the English department.

The University of Saskatchewan  Art department came about through a number of events: the availability of Carnegie Foundation funds to establish and support fine arts initiatives at the University level in Canada, the transfer of Regina College from private hands to the University of Saskatchewan in 1934 and the establishment of university courses there, (Jan. 25, 1934, Apr. 26, 1934, Jun 2, 1934, Jun 26, 1934, Jul 7, 1934, Sept. 21, 1934 & Oct. 20, 1934 Leader-Post). the 1936 bequest from Norman Mackenzie’s will of his collection of art to the University for the establishment of a gallery and art school in Regina, the decision by the University to rent land at Emma Lake and start a summer art school there in 1936 and the simultaneous availability of a suitably trained PHD art historian from Saskatchewan to head a university art department. These events all occurred in the depths of the Depression when many Saskatchewan schools, including the University were in deep trouble financially.

PC013129 Regina College

To illustrate this you only have to look at the physical plant of the U of S which did not change much in its first thirty years.  The University of Saskatchewan had planned a building dedicated to the Arts and Sciences at its founding and signs that it would finally be built appeared in 1930. However, due to the financial straits of the province during the Depression and World War II, this did not actually come about until the 1960s. Oct. 17, 1929 SSP , p.2 ( cannot link to this issue) & Apr. 16, 1930 (scroll down),  Sep. 25, 1930 SSP). In 1933 Regina College was on the verge of bankruptcy and Moose Jaw College did have to close because it was bankrupt.(Jun 2 , 1933 Leader Post) Things were so bad there, even public schools in Moose Jaw were threatened with closure in 1934. (May 29 & May 30 1934)

1948 UNiversity aerial view

May 11, 1934 SSP President Murray’s U of S Convocation speech mentions the state of music and art at Saskatoon.  But nothing was mentioned about art in Regina until 1936, which means that it was not the intention of the University of Saskatchewan to transfer their nascent art department to Regina College when the University took over the ailing College in 1934. Regina art collector Norman Mackenzie’s death in early 1936 and subsequent granting to the University of money for a gallery to house his donated art collection, turned the tide towards Regina, even though the monetary donation was tied up in real estate throughout most of the depression and war years. Regina College also had better physical facilities at that point to teach art.  See my post on Art Collectors of Saskatchewan for a fuller discussion of Norman Mackenzie’s impact on Saskatchewan art.

1936 Regina College ad ARt

Feb. 3, 1936 SSP Announcement of Summer School at Emma Lake.  May 19, 1936 SSP  & May 19, LP -Announcement regarding the Regina School of Fine Arts under the University of Saskatchewan. May 21, 1936 LP editorial  & Sep. 19, 1936 LP. ads from same date,  Nov. 14, 1936 -Kenderdine Snelgrove banquetted. Jan.6, 1937 SSP – plans for art gallery. Because the school of Fine Arts was established in Regina, Snelgrove co-taught with Kenderdine the first year and then the art history and studio art courses were separated in 1937, allowing students to gain credit for up to 4 courses from the new U of S Art Department in two years.  Sep. 30, 1937 LP. In Saskatoon, Hilda Stewart took the place of Kenderdine and taught practical courses which had a credit component through the teaching of Richard A. Wilson of the English department until 1939, although this was the only course available there.  May 23, 1936 SSP.  The art course became non-credit when Wilson retired in 1940. Snelgrove and Kenderdine taught together in Regina until spring 1939, with Snelgrove also teaching the same courses at Moose Jaw College from 1936-1939.

???????????????????????????????Then, in 1939, Professor Snelgrove was transferred to Saskatoon, as it was obvious the initial plans for the Regina School of Fine Arts could not be carried through at the beginning of World War II.  From that time on the chair of the University of Saskatchewan Art Department was based in Saskatoon, although courses in art history were offered by Snelgrove at Emma Lake or on campus in the summer and at Regina College in the fall/winter session from 1942 to spring 1949. Oct. 10, 1942 LP, Oct. 17, 1945 LP. Professor Kenderdine continued to teach studio art at Emma Lake in the summers and at Regina College from 1940 to his death in 1947 and Hilda Stewart taught non-credit studio art in Saskatoon until spring 1948.  A new instructor, Nikola Bjelajac, was hired to teach credit courses with Snelgrove at Saskatoon and Regina in 1947 and continued until the spring of 1949. May 9, 1947 SSP Suffering from low enrollment in 1949, (May 3, 1949 RLP) Regina College took on its own staff in 1950 for the teaching of art and the curation of the Mackenzie collection which was still housed in Darke Hall at the College. Apr. 7 & Apr. 9, 1949 RLP – editorial explains the situation which led to this decision.

Because the art department had to act as a mobile unit for the first 12 years of its existence, it was not able to grow. Real growth in the department only happened after separate art faculty was hired for the Regina School of Fine Arts at Regina College. Additionally, the University and Regina College began to share responsibility for the running of the Emma Lake Art School in the early 1950s, which eventually led to the foundation of the Emma Lake Artist Workshops in 1955. Apart from it service courses in art history in Saskatoon and Regina and at Emma Lake for teachers, the existence of a University art department in the province did not really add any opportunities for artist training until the second half of the twentieth century. It was a long time before university trained artists could get degrees in their discipline. However, the free availability of an art history lecturer to many sectors of the public and free art lectures at the University did fit with the community extension mandate the University tried to follow. For more information on Dr. Gordon W. Snelgrove see my future post on him.

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The existence of the Emma Lake Art Camp or more specifically the Murray Point Art School was also beneficial for many of the province’s art teachers who could only attend specialist training in the summer. Like the Banff School of Fine Arts, founded in the early 1930s, it was a novelty, allowing people to combine a cheap summer holiday with art training.  The Saskatchewan school had less spectacular scenery to offer and quite a few less instructors but it was the only one which featured art history as part of the curriculum for its first 10 years. Reports from students and visiting writers meant that the camp school was regularly featured as a news story in the newspapers. Some items I have found related to it follow:

Apr. 15, 1937 LP, Jul 23, 1937 LP, Feb. 14, 1938, LP, Jul 15, 1938 SSP WM, Jul 25, 1938 LP, Aug. 3, 1938, SSP WM, Aug. 6, 1938 LP, Aug. 17, 1938 LP, Aug. 1, 1939 SSP, Aug.6, 1940 SSP, Feb. 12, 1941 LP, Feb. 14 & 17, 1941 SSP, Aug. 4, 1941 LP, Jul 29, 1942 LP, Mar. 9, 1943 LP, Mar. 26, 1943 LP. Note: the articles marked with WM are those that are known to have been written by Wynona Mulcaster, according to the Heron thesis on Mulcaster, which also contains information on Emma Lake.  See link highlighted above.

Additionally, there is an interesting written history of the early years of the Emma Lake Art Camp  by Anne K. Morrison in a chapter of the 1989 Mendel Art Gallery catalogue that accompanied the exhibition The Flat Side of the Landscape.

Given the sparsity of public art galleries in the province, the existence of a School of Art at Regina College and a Department of Art at the University of Saskatchewan also provided the people of the province with more opportunities to see travelling exhibitions of art other than those sponsored by art clubs and summer fair exhibition boards and the ones previously hosted by the schools on a general basis. Travelling exhibitions of art were regularly hosted by both institutions as an educational function for the community and for their art departments.  Feb. 13, 16, 17, 24, 26, 1934 SSP, Apr. 11, 18, 24 1934 RCA show in Saskatoon, Jan. 29, 1935, Jan. 30, Jan. 31, Feb. 1, Feb. 2, 1935, Dec. 5, 1935, Nov. 14, 1936 & Nov. 9, 13, &16, Dec.7, 1936 RLP, Feb. 10, 1937 & Feb. 11, 1937 RLP, Jan. 7Feb. 7 & Feb. 9, Feb. 12, 1938 LP,  Feb. 22 1938, SSP, Mar. 28, 1938 SSP, Nov. 26 & 28 (scroll down) & 30, 1942 SSP  Apr. 27 & May 1, 1945 RLP,

The  University schools also felt a compulsion to initiate shows of Saskatchewan art which would travel around or outside the province and regular annual exhibitions of student art became more prevalent. By the 1940s local art organizations were promoting Saskatchewan art through travelling shows, relieving the University of having the responsibility of initiating travelling shows. University student shows became popular in the 1940s and collaborations with local organizations grew. Some examples I found of University initiated showings of Saskatchewan art follow:

Dec. 8, 1937 RLP the U of S initiates a travelling exhibition of Saskatchewan art that travels to many towns in Saskatchewan. It was in Regina in 1938 where it was shown at Balfour Technical School and reviewed in the newspaper. Feb. 22, 1938 RLP. The U of S initiated a travelling show of 4 Saskatchewan artists. Dec. 16, 1939 Calgary Herald contains a review of the show.  Apr. 14, 1938 SSP (Scroll down column)  to see an announcement of a student show of art at U of S.

For those of you unfamiliar with the history of post-secondary education in the province of Saskatchewan, the two city campus model of the University of Saskatchewan persisted until 1974 when the University of Regina became an autonomous institution. Provincial post-secondary  technical institutes opened up in the 1960s but a separate provincial art school in Saskatchewan never came to be. Today, both the U of S and the University of Regina offer degrees in the Fine Arts and in Art Education. Many art schools in other provinces have become universities themselves in the past couple of decades, offering diplomas and degrees in Fine Arts to equal the older university programs . So the playing field in art education eventually leveled off for Saskatchewan where today graduate students from outside the province often attend either the University of Regina or the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon for professional degrees in studio practice.

©Lisa G. Henderson, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saskatchewan Art Organizations originating in the 1940s

Saskatoon and Regina Branches of the Federation of Canadian Artists and the Western Art Circuit

Although Ernie Lindner of Saskatoon was already on the national executive of the Federation of Canadian Artists by 1942, representing Saskatchewan, it appears that the Saskatoon and Regina branches or regional groups were founded in early 1943. The Federation of Canadian Artists was the first cross-Canada artist group formed shortly after the Kingston Conference of the Arts was held in June 1941 at Queen’s University.  Its purpose was to represent the concerns of all Canadian artists and provide a forum for them to have a united voice in the nation’s cultural affairs.  Lawren Harris, then a resident of Vancouver, was a strong organizer for the group in its early years and it was a most attractive organization for widely scattered and often nationally ignored western Canadian artists to join.

There was also a branch of the FCA in Prince Albert and there may have been others in Saskatchewan but I have too little information to speculate on that.  I do have one report below on the activities of the Prince Albert branch, found in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, but a fuller account would require access to old issues of the P.A. Daily Herald, which I do not have. 

Feb.2, 1943 edition of the Leader-Post announced plans for Saskatoon and Regina to be branch regions of the Federation of Canadian Artists.  A couple of days later a report appeared in the Star-Phoenix on Lindner’s visit to Regina. Feb. 4 1943.  I found some earlier mentions in Saskatoon about the FCA in May Fox’s Art Gum column which sometimes featured a section on Federation news. Nov.21, 1942, Feb. 5, 1943 (scroll up and to left) and Feb. 20, 1943 are particularly pertinent. But more information on the Saskatoon FCA is likely to be found in my post on the Saskatoon Art Association and the Saskatoon Art Centre which includes most of the news columns from the 1940s.

The Saskatchewan FCA branches began to sponsor annual juried shows of Saskatchewan art in 1944 and also began to host travelling exhibitions from the other western provinces. Mar. 6, 1944 Leader-Post, May 29, 1944 LP. The first FCA exhibition of Saskatchewan art was held in early November of 1944 at Regina College, sponsored by the Regina branch. A.Y. Jackson adjudicated the show. Nov. 3 (scroll to right for article), Nov. 4 (scroll down), Nov. 6, 1944. For a list of exhibitors see my post on LCW Arts Committee and exhibitions list, which contains a chart for the November 1944 exhibition.

Later on in the month Lawren Harris, then national president of the FCA, visited both Regina and Saskatoon and reports appeared in both newspapers. Nov. 28, 1944 Leader Post (there are two reports on the visit on this page) and (also two reports on page)Nov. 30, 1944, Star -Phoenix. On Apr. 13, 1945, the Star Phoenix reported in the I See column that Calgary had corresponded with Saskatoon to find out how to become a member of the FCA.   Just a month later, Ernie Lindner reported current national FCA news to a meeting of the Saskatoon Art Association. May 17, 1945 SSP. He mentioned the Western Art Circuit in his remarks.

On Oct. 18 and Oct. 19, 1945 the Leader-Post reported on a Regina showing of the Kerr/Lindner art exhibition which was circulated by the Western Art Circuit and a showing of the work of Alberta artists sponsored by the FCA was reported on Mar. 15 and Mar. 19, 1946 in the Leader-Post. From Jan. 7-12, 1946 at Regina College the Regina FCA presented an exhibition of art work produced at the Banff Fine Arts School in the summer of 1945. Jan. 4 and Jan.7, Jan. 9, Jan. 10  Jan. 12, 1946.    A newspaper item reported on the Regina branch of the FCA Jan. 25, 1946.

There was an all Saskatchewan FCA exhibition which opened in Saskatoon for three weeks in May of 1946. May 16, 1946 SSP and May 10, 1946 RLP. The 1946 show was juried by H.G. Glyde of Alberta.

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In February & March 1947 the Regina FCA hosted an exhibition of British masterpieces of painting and sculpture that was sponsored by the IBM corporation. It was shown at Eaton’s department store. Feb. 24, Feb. 26, Mar. 1, 1947. In April the Regina FCA hosted a travelling exhibition of art from the Alberta Society of Artists at the public library. Apr. 14, 1947.

It was reported in the Star-Phoenix that the third FCA sponsored show of Saskatchewan art was sponsored by the Prince Albert branch of the FCA. May 8, 1948 SSP and it was shown in Regina in September. Sep. 11, 1948 RLP before travelling out of the province. The juror for this show was Alexander Musgrove of the Winnipeg School of Art. In May the Regina FCA again hosted a travelling show of the Alberta Society of Artists. May 28, 1948 RLP and in October they hosted a travelling exhibition of three Edmonton artists’ works at the public library. Oct. 16, 1948

Although there was no permanent gallery space in Regina, it seems that the FCA branch was often able to show works in the Public Library which allowed them to take more travelling shows than ever before. In 1949 the Regina FCA hosted a travelling exhibition of Saturday Night magazine cover paintings at Willson’s Stationery store Apr. 11.  The next month they hosted a travelling exhibition of American art sponsored by IBM at 1828 Scarth Street.  May 11, May 12, May 14, 1949.

In July of 1950 the Regina branch of the FCA put on a show of members’ work at the public library. July 13, 1950. In November, 1950 a Saskatchewan-wide exhibition sponsored by the Regina FCA was held at Regina College. Nov. 20, 1950 (scroll to left for title). There is no mention of a juror but the report does state that the federation jury chose twenty paintings to go on tour with the Western Art Circuit. Confusingly, it does not mention Saskatoon as a stop on the tour, although Prince Albert was included. Based on what I found and what I read, it appears that these ‘annual’ exhibitions sponsored by the FCA occurred every other year, not annually.

There were not very many members of the FCA in these Saskatchewan branches and most of the members already belonged to existing art clubs or organizations i.e. The Regina Art Centre Association (see below) and the Saskatoon Art Association (see post). These organizations already had established annual shows of Saskatchewan art so it seems that room was allowed in the FCA ‘annual’ show schedule for alternate years when the  annual shows of other local art organizations could be held.

Because of the existence of these older organizations it is sometimes difficult to tell who was sponsoring incoming shows. For example, in 1947 an Emily Carr memorial exhibition in Regina was claimed as being sponsored by the Regina branch of the Federation of Canadian Artists (Jan. 17Jan. 23, 1947 RLP) and in Saskatoon it was said to be sponsored by the Saskatoon Art Centre (Feb. 17, 1947). There are other examples where it seems that it should be the FCA sponsoring the exhibition but it is sometimes the local art organization that is mentioned. What the incoming exhibitions from Western Canada all had in common is that they were made possible by FCA contacts and the valuable mechanism of the Western Art Circuit from the mid 1940s. A brief history of the Western Art Circuit appears in the Leader Post on May 30, 1955 when the organization was holding its tenth annual meeting in Regina. See also May 31 & Jun 1, 1955 for more news about this meeting.

The FCA was a useful organization for Saskatchewan artists to belong to in the 1940s because it opened up channels of communication with other artist groups in western Canada, allowing artists to exchange and circulate exhibitions, and because it brought in the concept of holding exhibitions juried by out of province artists on a regular basis. But it did not seem to be useful for long, as the Saskatchewan Arts Board (see below) came into being in 1948. The Saskatoon branch disappeared and the Regina branch became an unaffiliated organization, the Regina Federation of Artists, a group which apparently is still in existence to this day as an exhibiting society.

The Federation of Canadian Artists fell apart as a national organization in the 1950s but the name survives today, mainly in British Columbia, as an exhibiting society with levels of membership similar to the Royal Canadian Academy.

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Saskatchewan Arts Board  and the Saskatchewan Arts Congress 

Founded in early 1948, the Saskatchewan Arts Board was the first North American government-funded organization to support the growth of the arts in a region. You can read more about the Arts Board on its website http://www.artsboard.sk.ca/about-us

On Apr. 16, 1948 a report appeared in the Regina Leader Post about the new Saskatchewan Arts Board.  Another report about the Arts Board appeared Sep. 13, 1948 (scroll left).  Both of these items mention something called the Saskatchewan Arts Congress and on Oct. 21, 1948 an editorial appeared in the Leader Post describing the difference between the two organizations, the Arts Board a supporting mechanism and the Congress an advisory board. An earlier article in the Star-Phoenix on Oct. 9, 1948 also illuminated the relationship between these entities.

In 1949 a number of articles appeared about the activities of the Saskatchewan Arts Board: Feb. 26, Mar. 4, Apr. 9, Jul 20, Leader Post.  Although the latter article announced that a provincial art exhibition sponsored by the Saskatchewan Arts Board was going to be held, it did not actually come together until May of 1950. The Leader-Post provided some press for this show (May 15May 26, 1950) and we can learn whose art was chosen to begin the foundations of the Saskatchewan Arts Board art collection. As can be seen in the 1949 articles, one of the interests of the Arts Board was stimulating handicraft production in the province and one of their earliest handicraft exhibitions is profiled in this article from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix Nov. 9, 1950.

On Jun 24, 1953 another editorial appeared in the Leader-Post looking back on the first five years of the Arts Board and listing its accomplishments.  The Star-Phoenix offered some comment on the 1954 Saskatchewan Arts Board provincial exhibition and images from the one in 1956 were featured in its pages. Apr. 6, 1954, Mar. 31, 1956.

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Regina Art Centre Association

In early 1944 Regina began its civic campaign to have an art centre, predicated on the idea that there would be money for post-war reconstruction projects and that the University of Saskatchewan should be involved in the ownership and maintenance of such a centre, based on the already donated Mackenzie collection which still did not have a purpose-built home.  The initiators of this movement may have also been spurred on by the opening of Saskatoon’s Art Centre in the same time period.

The following Leader Post  articles follow the history of this organization. They also show how members of the the advisory board of local art organizations, mostly women, eventually took on the work of the Regina Art Centre Association. The Regina Art Centre Association became a hosting body for travelling art shows and championed children’s art in the interim between the war and the building of the initial Mackenzie gallery in 1953. For most of the late 1940s, the perennial president of the Regina Art Centre Association was Ethel Barr, long-time art supporter and artist in the city of Regina.  For more on Ethel Barr and her husband George Barr see my future post on Art Patrons of Saskatchewan.

Jan. 4, Jan. 8Jan. 18, 1944, Mar. 19, 1945, Mar. 21, 1945, May 4, 1945, May 16, 1946, May 6, 1947May 17, 1947 (scroll up and right), Feb. 6, 1947, Oct. 7, 1947, May 15, 1948 and Sep. 27 & Sep. 29, 1948

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The Red Door Gallery, the Prospectors and the Western Artists Society

Apart from the government and civic and national artist initiatives in the arts in the late 1940s, there were some short-lived individual initiatives that should be mentioned here.  Two of them originated in Saskatchewan and the announcement of the Western Artists Society formation, the third initiative,  may have affected the formation of one of those two.

The Red Door Gallery, which opened in Regina, in 1946 was a very short-lived but admirable project initiated by Saskatoon artist Mashel Teitelbaum.  Its story can be found in Nov. 30, 1946 Saskatoon Star Phoenix and Nov. 6, 1946 Leader-Post. The Red Door Gallery was not open long but it shows that some artists in Saskatchewan were attempting to put their ideas of professionalism into action.

May 10, 1948 – The formation of the Western Artists Group was announced in Calgary. Reading this article in the Star-Phoenix, you will notice that Saskatchewan artists were not included in its first show.

The Prospectors were a short-lived exhibiting group focused on modern art who arranged for their show to be sent out of the province.  I wonder if this may have been a response to the snub felt by local artists after the formation of the Western Artists Group.  Feb. 17, 1949  SSP For more information see: Early Saskatchewan Men Artists biographies. The bottom of the post features an undated clipping with a photograph of the Prospectors at their first and possibly only show.

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The Massey Commission sitting in Saskatchewan – 1949

Although submissions to the Massey Commission do not constitute an organization, I thought this was a fitting place to insert some articles from Saskatchewan newspapers related to this momentous occasion in the cultural life of Canada.  In 1949 the Royal Commission on National Development of Arts, Literature and Sciences aka “the Massey Commission,” tasked by the government of Canada with surveying opinions and ideas across Canada for improving conditions in these endeavours,  criss-crossed the country receiving briefs from representatives of interested communities in many locations. The Saskatoon newspaper gave the Massey Commission’s local visit a lot of coverage and you can see what people in Saskatchewan thought important by reading  Oct. 17 & Oct. 18 (see also article on p.3) & Oct. 19, 1949 SSP. Ernie Lindner of Saskatoon and Agnes Warren of Prince Albert  were two artists who gave briefs on the visual arts.

The Leader-Post later printed  a comment on the sitting in Edmonton (Oct. 20, 1949) and Calgary (Nov. 3, 1949) but I haven’t been able to find any regarding the commission’s visit to Regina yet. The Star-Phoenix printed a report on the commission’s visit to Calgary Nov. 3, 1949 . One of the Massey commission’s five member board was from Saskatchewan, Dr. Hilda Neatby of the History Department of the University of Saskatchewan.

©Lisa G. Henderson, 2015