PASOVAS (Pioneer Students of Vancouver Art School)

192? - ?

PASOVAS was an artists group formed by the art students who, specifically, had been enrolled in the first year and a half of classes given at the newly-founded Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts in the 1925-26 school year. It was one of at least three student groups thus associated with the Art School. There were also the Art Student's Society (for non-pioneer and/or current students), and the Graduate Student Society (which also included PASOVAS members).

PASOVAS held numerous exhibitions, including group shows at the Vancouver Art Gallery after it opened in 1931. Even though there was now a large civic art gallery in Vancouver, there were still difficulties in organizing an exhibition there, as illustrated by the following correspondence between PASOVAS and A.S. Grigsby, the Gallery's Business Manager.

In some ways the members of PASOVAS were the "cream of the crop" of young artists in Vancouver. The art school had been promoted without success for many years, and when it finally opened its doors there was a pent-up demand for classes, and the competition to gain entry must have been fierce.

The school's first graduating class was composed almost entirely of members of PASOVAS. Many of the members of the club had long and distinguished careers as artists and played major roles in the continuance and improvement of the "art scene" in Vancouver through the Depression in the 1930s, through World War II - where a number of them were war artists, and on into the 1950s and 1960s.

Fred Amess, Dip. V.S.D.A.A., for example, went on to become Director of the Art School. Beatrice Lennie. Dip. V.S.D.A.A., completed Post Graduate work in California before returning to Vancouver to open the Beatrice Lennie School of Sculpture. Vera Weatherbie, Dip. V.S.D.A.A., on graduation won a J. Fyfe Smith Travelling Scholarship, and an Honorable Mention in the Willingdon Competition, 1929. She travelled to England to study art, returning to take a position on the staff of the B.C. College of Art, Ltd. founded by Varley and Macdonald, and achieve lasting notoriety as a friend of Varley's and the subject of many of his sketches and paintings.

Maud Sherman, V.S.D.A.A., was one PASOVAS member who apparently did not graduate - spending four years at the school, successfully completing three years and taking the fourth year of classes after a year's delay. Despite the lack of a diploma, she carried on an extensive exhibiting and illustrating career until the mid 1960s.

Other members of the group, as listed in a 1930 exhibition catalogue, were:

Ada Currie, Dip. V.S.D.A.A.
Lilias Farley, Dip. V.S.D.A.A., Honourable Mention Royal Society of Arts, England, 1930.
Frances Gatewood, Dip. V.S.D.A.A.
Irene Hoffar Reid, V.S.D.A.A. Dip.
Phyllis Kirkpatrick. V.S.D.A.A. Dip.
Marjorie Lyne. V.S.D.A.A. Dip.
Margaret Williams, Dip. V.S.D.A.A., Scholarship Chouinard School of Art, Los Angeles
Mrs. J.W. Allan, V.S.D.A.A.
Jean Brown, V.S.D.A.A., American Academy of Art, Chicago.
Margaret Corry, V.S.D.A.A., Otis Art Institute Los Angeles
Ruth Creighton, V.S.D.A.A.
Marion Coote, V.S.D.A.A., Wolfe School of Costume Design, Los Angeles.
Vito Cianci, V.S.D.A.A.
Brenda Davey, V.S.D.A.A.
Dorothy Gow, V.S.D.A.A., Dip. Lebeandt School of Costume Design, San Francisco.
Mrs. Hoole, V.S.D.A.A. and Europe.
Dorothy Horie, V.S.D.A.A.
Dorothy Hensman, V.S.D.A.A.
Katherine Harrison, V.S.D.A.A.
Laurencia Herchmer, V.S.D.A.A.
Kathleen Hemingway, V.S.D.A.A.
Edith Hunt Alton, V.S.D.A.A.
Maud Jensen, V.S.D.A.A.
Ellen Moore, V.S.D.A.A.
Bert Quinn, V.S.D.A.A.
Mary Sutherland, V.S.D.A.A.
Louise Swartz, V.S.D.A.A.
Babs Taylor, V.S.D.A.A.
Mrs. Wattie, V.S.D.A.A.

The group began exhibiting at the Vancouver Art Gallery soon after the gallery opened, with annual exhibitions from 1932 to at least 1936. The 1934 exhibition included "murals, sculpture, watercolours, ceramics, fibre, and oil painting".

A letter sent to the Vancouver Art Gallery prior to their 1936 exhibition provides more information about the group.


1930 Nov. 27 - Dec. 7 Group Show B.C. Art League Gallery
1932 Sept. 17 - 30 Group Show Vancouver Art Gallery
1933 Oct. 21 - Nov. 3 Group Show Vancouver Art Gallery
1934 Nov. 2 - 18 Group Show Vancouver Art Gallery
1935 (dates?) Group Show Vancouver Art Gallery
1936 Feb. 21 - Mar. 5. Group Show Vancouver Art Gallery


Letters re booking 1932 Group Show

Letter in support of 1936 Group Show


"In The Domain of Art" by Reta W. Myers
      Vancouver Province, October 21 1933

"The Annual Exhibition of the work of the Members of the Pasovas Arts Club"
      Art Gallery Bulletin, October 1933, Vol. 1, No. 2

"Pioneer art students of the Vancouver Art School who form the membership of the Pasovas Club, are finding their feet in the world of art, and branching out along their own particular lines, it is shown in their fourth annual exhibition now on view at the Vancouver Art Gallery."
      From "Pasovas Art Show"
      Vancouver Sun, November 6 1934

"PASOVAS Club Has Splendid Annual Show" by R.W.M.
      Vancouver Province, November 6 1934

"Pioneer art students of the Vancouver Art School, known as the Pasovas Club, are for the fifth consecutive year showing their work in exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery." (continues)
      From "PASOVAS EXHIBIT - Pioneer Art Students' Show"
      Vancouver Province, February 21 1936

"While not so large as customary the exhibition of the Pasovas Arts Club at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which had a private view Friday night, lacks little in variety." (continues)
      From "PASOVAS CLUB - Annual Display on View at Art Gallery"
      News-Herald, February 1936