The purpose of the Society is to promote the appreciation and understanding of the arts of Asia by bringing quality programs, exhibitions and publications to interested groups and individuals in Canada and by exploring links among the cultures of Asia.
Board & Staff
BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2009-2010
Jan W. Walls – President
Margo Palmer – Vice-President
Sharon Davis – Treasurer
Sam Carter, Andrea Davies (Secretary), Anne-Marie Dekker, Beng Gunn, John Kuiper, B.C. Lee, Andrew Ooi, and Rodney Ward.
The following is an excerpt from “This Was The Beginning”, the introduction to a Canadian Society for Asian Arts 1978 publication “The First Ten Years” 1968-1978, written by founding member Harold Sault.
“Is there a society of people interested in Asian art in Vancouver?” Not having an answer to this question posed by my wife Elizabeth in 1968, I put the same question to Anthony Emery, Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery on 26 January 1968. His reply was brief and to the point, “I have made extensive inquiries but must tell you that nobody seems to have heard of any organization of this kind in Vancouver. Since I would guess there is a need for one, why do you not organize one yourself? If you should wish to do so, I would be pleased to give notice to our members of your organizational meeting, which could be held here in the Gallery.”
Further encouragement came from the Oriental Ceramic Society in London when I wrote asking for guidance. The Secretary, D. D. Gage-Brown, agreed that an Asian Art Society in Vancouver would be a valuable addition to the city’s cultural life, and gave me much useful advice in establishing a society based on the experience of the prestigious Oriental Ceramic Society.
Encouraged, I asked Mr. Emery to set a date for our organizational meeting at the Gallery – 2 October 1968. The meeting was publicized in the Gallery’s September Bulletin and also in the Vancouver Sun, but I realized that it would be necessary to make direct contact with potential members if the meeting was to be a success. I thus communicated with a friend in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Mary Morehart, who found the idea worthwhile and promised to pass the word to her students and colleagues. She also put me in touch with another valuable contact, Mrs. Mary Morrison, a former museum curator and lecturer on Asian art in the Extension Department at U.B.C.. Mrs. Morrison, a collector herself, gave me a list of her former students to invite to the organizational meeting and had a group of them to her home in mid-September to meet me and to discuss the proposed Society.
The collectors were friendly but had reservations about my plans for a society. However, in view of my expressed determination to proceed, they kindly agreed to come to the organizational meeting and to work together to form an Asian Arts Society. A number of these collectors became charter members. I harbour deep appreciation to Dr. Morehart, Mrs. Morrison and the collectors, since their support at the very early stage was essential to the ultimate success of the Society. Dr. Morehart presented a slide lecture on Chinese painting as our first event on 21 October 1968, held in the auditorium of International House at U.B.C., through the kindness of Jack Thomas, Director.
The organizational meeting was attended by some forty persons and, after a fairly lengthy discussion period, those present voted to appoint a standing committee to prepare a constitution and by-laws and enable the Society to be officially registered.
By the time of the first AGM on 3 March 1969, forty-five members had joined the Society and were designated charter members when they voted to adopt the constitution and by-laws needed to officially bring into being “The Vancouver Society for Asian Art”.