Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950
Vancouver School of Decorative & Applied Arts (founded 1925)
Also known as:
Vancouver School of Art: Decorative and Applied (1933)
See also List of Students and Graduates 1925 - 1950.
Vancouver School of Art (1937)
Emily Carr College of Art (1978)
Emily Carr College of Art and Design (1981)
Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design (1994)
Emily Carr Institute (2003 - 2008)
Emily Carr University of Art + Design (2008 - )
The Vancouver School of Decorative & Applied Arts was founded in 1925, opening its
doors to the first class in September of that year, using rooms borrowed
from the Vancouver School Board. It was the first public art school in Vancouver.
The First Teaching Staff, 1925
First year drawing class, 1925-26
First year modelling class, 1925-26
The B.C. Art League had been formed in 1920 with the purpose of
opening an art school and an art gallery, and this was their first success after years of
hard work and lobbying. Earlier in 1925 they had secured the support and funding of the
B.C. Department of Education, represented in negotiations by John
Kyle, although Kyle had insisted that the school help pay its own way - requiring
an annual tuition fee of $50.00, for example, to start with.
Signatures from 1926 Paintbox
Signatures from 1926 Paintbox
The students published an annual in June 1926, called The Paint Box, with Ellen M. Moore
winning the competition for the cover design. Three hundred copies of the annual were
professionally printed. There were forty-four pages in the annual, which included
numerous articles, jokes, poems, and sketches by students as well as instructors. Articles
included "Places To Sketch", by Maud
Sherman, and "Sculpture", by Charles Marega.
The School prospered, producing the first group of graduates in 1929.
Shortly afterwards, the Depression hit and the School's financial situation became
precarious. Charles H. Scott, the school's Director, was forced to
make budget reductions which included salary cuts for all staff except himself. His decision
regarding the salary cuts was a turning point for the school. Members of the staff quit, including
Fred Varley and J.W.G.(Jock) MacDonald,
and decided to start their own private, competing, art school in Vancouver. They
found backers and incorporated the B.C. College of Arts Ltd. on
July 20, 1933.
1931 Graduating Class
It was simultaneously a promising and an unfortunate turn of events in many ways. The
VSDAA lost important painters and
teachers, and members of the art community - and all those in the two schools - were
unwillingly forced to take sides and support either one school or the other. This was said
to have caused permanent rifts between former friends. On the other hand, Robert S.
Lennie K.C., one of the founding Patrons of the VSDAA, simply expanded his support of the
arts and became a Patron and Director of the new school as well.
The School began taking summer trips up the coast, going to Vaucroft for the first trip, and
then to Savary Island for the succeeding summer's trips. The students, teachers, and chaperones
traveled to Savary Island by Union Steamship, and stayed at the Royal Savary Hotel once they
arrived. The students published a daily newsletter called "The Savory Pudding", in which
they gossiped, told tales and jokes, and did little sketches.
Graduating Students, 1935-36
The Graduates' Association of the art school started a newsletter
called The Smock Pocket, a mimeographed collection of information about graduates
and their doings. The Spring 1936 edition was the second issue
of the newsletter, and noted that "The Annual Exhibition of the Vancouver School of Art
will take place this year from May 29th. until June 7th, in the North Room of the
Vancouver Art Gallery. The Opening Ceremony takes place at 2:30
P.M. on the 29th, at which time the presentation of diplomas to this year's
graduating class will also be made."
By 1935 the art school's 1935 graduation annual was called Behind The
Behind the Palette for the 1935-36 school year.
Prospectus for the 1936-37 school year.
Prospectus for the 1938-39 school year.
Behind the Palette for the 1939-40 school year.
Behind the Palette artwork in the 1939-40 school year.
Contributing Students to Behind the Palette 1939-40.
In 1940 Charles H. Scott wrote an article
for a history of the first fifty years of Vancouver High Schools.
Prospectus for the 1940-41 school year.
Prospectus for the 1942-43 school year.
The VSDAA changed its name to the Vancouver School of Art, and in 1936
moved into the old Vancouver (Central) High School at Cambie and Dunsmuir.
It weathered the Depression and the Second World War, continuously
graduating new artists, many of whom went on to long-lasting careers as
major West Coast artists,
E.J. Hughes, and
B.C. Binning, to name a few.
Prospectus for the 1945-46 school year.
Prospectus for the 1947-48 school year.
In 1951 the school moved into the renovated former Vancouver School
Board building at Dunsmuir and Hamilton. In 1963 they moved into a
new building at 549 Dunsmuir that had been designed and built for
Prospectus for the 1954-55 school year.
The art school in 1954, from the 1954-55 Prospectus.
Prospectus for the 1956-57 school year.
Prospectus for the 1957-58 school year.
The School eventually moved to new premises on Granville Island in 1979,
changing its name again, first to Emily Carr College of Art, and then to
Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design (ECIAD). It was granted the right
to confer degrees, and continued to expand. In 2001 it was one of a group
of educational institutions in Vancouver who were donated a large piece
of land on Great Northern Way, and the art school began to develop a
second campus for the first time. In 2008 the art school was granted
university status, and renamed Emily Carr University. In 2017
the University moved to its new campus at 520 E. 1st Avenue.
Prospectus for the 1960-61 school year.
For many years the Graduate Roll of the Art School was
drawn calligraphically on large sheets, at least four of which have been framed
and now repose in the university's board room. The first sheet listed the graduates
from classes 1929 through 1936, and was drawn by Alice Bryant.
The subsequent three sheets cover the graduating classes up to and including 1951.
Names from those four sheets have been compiled into the list of students and
graduates from 1925 - 1950. Additionally, a list of students attending the school
has been compiled from school annuals, prospectii, the graduate rolls, and newspaper
clippings. See List of Students and Graduates for more
(continued annually to present)
||First Annual Student Exhibition
||Second Annual Student Exhibition
||Third Annual Student Exhibition
||First Annual Graduate Student Exhibition
Refer also to REFERENCE INDEX for a listing
of art school exhibitions and graduation catalogues.
Refer also to CLIPPINGS 1925 for a series of
Reports on the school after its first year of operation.
Prospectus for the Vancouver School of Decorative
and Applied Arts
1925-1926 contains staff list, course content. fees, rules and regulations
1926-1927 contains pass list from previous year; illustrations of student work,
courses, rules, staff
The Paint Box, Annual of the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts
June 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930.
Contains articles, poems, lectures, list of students, class reports, illustrations
of student work.
See Places To Sketch and Composition
from June 1926 and 1927 issues.
Behind The Palette, Annual of the Vancouver School of Decorative
and Applied Arts
June 1931 - 1947 (?).
Articles, poems, lectures, list of students, class reports, student work.
See Evening School 1940,
and A Short Art History of British Columbia 1947
The Smock Pocket, mimeographed newsletter of the Vancouver School of Decorative
and Applied Arts Graduates' Association.
Fall 1935 - Spring 1936 - ?
Association Executive, graduates' activities, weddings, births, awards, studios, etc.
Vancouver School of Art - The Early Years, 1925 - 1939, by E. Theodore Lindberg
1980 Sept. 15 - Oct 15, The Inaugural Exhibition of the Charles H. Scott Gallery; no ISBN
Exhibition catalogue, 36 pages; instructor & student work illustrated in colour and b&w
Includes Introduction by Robin Mayer; historical survey, list of paintings, bibligraphy.
Vancouver School of Art - The Growth Years, 1939 - 1965, by E. Theodore Lindberg
1983 April 8 - May 3, at the Charles H. Scott Gallery; no ISBN.
Exhibition catalogue, 48 pages; instructor & student work illustrated in colour and b&w
Includes Introduction by Robin Mayer; historical survey, list of paintings.
First Class - Four Graduates From The Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts
1987, Letia Richardson; The Floating Curatorial Gallery at Women in Focus
Exhibition catalogue; ISBN 0-921823-03-7
Includes survey essay of women artists in Vancouver.
Irene Hoffar Reid,
Beatrice Lennie, and
Visions, Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design newsletter
A series of biographical sketches of early artists involved with the school (students
Written by Michael Clark, Circulation Librarian, ECIAD.
Each biography is one page or less.
Listed chronologically in order of publication:
1995 September, Volume 2 Issue 1, page 5; 2 illustrations.
1996 January, Volume 2 Issue 2, page 7; 2 illustrations.
1996 April, Volume 2 Issue 3, page 8; 1 illustration.
Charles H. Scott,
1996 September, Volume 3 Issue 1, page 2; 1 illustration.
1997 January, Volume 3 Issue 2, page 6; 2 illustrations.
1997 May, Volume 3 Issue 3, page 4; 2 illustrations.
1997 October, Volume 4 Issue 1, page 7; 2 illustrations.
1998 March, Volume 4 Issue 2, page 7; 2 illustrations.
1998 September, Volume 5 Issue 1, page 6; 3 illustrations.
1999 January, Volume 5 Issue 2, page 6; 3 illustrations.
Irene Hoffar Reid,
1999 April, Volume 5 Issue 3, page 6; 3 illustrations.
1999 September, Volume 6 Issue 1, page 6; 4 illustrations.
2000 January, Volume 6 Issue 2, page 6; 3 illustrations.
2000 April, Volume 6 Issue 3, page 6; 3 illustrations.
2001 January, Volume 7 Issue 2, page 6; 2 illustrations.
2001 July, Volume 7 Issue 3, page 10; 2 illustrations.
Kate Adeline Smith Hoole,
2001 November, Volume 8 Issue 1, page 4; 2 illustrations.
Art Is All Over, articles by Radul, Copeland, Steiner, Lum, Gigliotti/Laiwan/Cutler
2001; the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design; ISBN 0-921356-22-6
"On The Occasion of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary" of the art school
Includes essays; timeline, illustrated with instructor and student work.
Historical survey Years : Ahead of Its Time, by Greg Bellerby & Renee van Halm
To accompany archival exhibition Years : Ahead of Its Time, Concourse Gallery 2000
"This year Charles H. Scott,
director of the Vancouver Art School, has chosen Savary
Island for the third annual summer session, and pupils will leave June 9,
returning to Vancouver on June 20."
From "In The Domain of Art"
Vancouver Province, May 5 1934