At the first General meeting of the newly formed Art Society in 1890, the President stated that the primary aim should be the encouragement and improvement of art in Huddersfield and district. This aim remains as strong today as it was then, even though there is a constant input of new members to join the more established ones (some of over 50 years' standing), and we are proud of the range and standard of members'work as seen in our Annual Exhibition.
The Society values its illustrious former members, including Marion Rhodes, Arthur Netherwood, Albert Pile, Grace Williamson, John Hamer and Norman Culley, and holds a collection of many of their original art works.
John James Hamer left a bequest to the Society, on which is based an annual award to nominated school and college students to encourage their practice of and commitment to art.
The Eleanor Sykes Award is presented each year for the picture which, in the view of the selector, is the most outstanding picture in the Annual Exhibition, based on the donation by Eleanor Sykes in memory of George and Peace Sykes, founder members.
The society was closely involved in the foundation of the present Art Gallery, which shares a building with the Library in the centre of Huddersfield, from which dates the arrangement for the use of Gallery space for the Annual Exhibition.
The Society celebrated its 100th Annual exhibition in 1996, when notable past members' works were also on view.
Until 2002, membership was subject to submission of work, from which applicants were given full or associate membership, only full members being asked to submit work for the Exhibition. Since then, all members have had equal status, but to maintain high standards, work is selected for the Annual Exhibition by an invited expert.