HISTORY OF MMAG
Mentone Mordialloc Art Group was formed in 1956
MMAG – A BRIEF HISTORY 1953
In the beginning, a keen band of local artists had been gathering to share their common interest in art. There was a division in this group and those who tended towards abstraction moved on to, eventually, form the Beaumaris Art Group. Those remaining were more inclined towards realism.
Thus, in 1954, the realist artists, who had been meeting in their private homes found the old timber Sunday School Hall at St. Augustine’s Church in Como Parade, Mentone and began to gather there. They became known as the Mentone Mordialloc Art Group (MMAG). The hall was quickly outgrown.
March 2nd 1956 The Inaugural Meeting
Introductory comments on the aim of the proposed art group were given by first President, Benjamin Challen (local dentist), paying particular tribute to Mr. Thorold’s gesture in offering the use of rooms and facilities at Mentone Grammar School.
The Group’s objective was:
“To promote the teaching, consideration and discussion of all questions affecting art and to
provide the promotion of social intercourse among the members and their friends”.
The aim was to keep fees as low as possible with no intention to make any profit.
The first exhibition was held.
The Group hosted the Deputy Consul of China and his entourage at Mentone Lodge. The Chinese guests brought art films demonstrating their traditional watercolour techniques.
New constitution adopted.
Ben Challen died after 11 years as President
The Group began the long process of finding its own “home”.
1975. A New Beginning
The old agricultural building in Granary Lane, Mentone was purchased by the City of Mordialloc and converted by members into the “Hay and Grain Studio”.
1976. The Golden Jubilee Year
Members attended the unveiling of the Beaumaris cliff top monument identifying the site where, in 1886, Roberts and McCubbin met Streeton.
Students of St Bede’s College painted a colourful mural on the exterior wall of the studio.
2000. A New Century
Membership numbers 360. 15 classes running
200 students in those classes.
2009 – 2015. A Period of Uncertainty
The old studio building was condemned and the Group would have to move. A roller-coaster ride ensued until finally new premises were built.
Council project managers consulted with the Art Group Committee to design a purpose-built studio within the new Mentone Activity Hub.
A handful of volunteers spent countless hours sorting, packing, relocating and setting up the new studio which was funded by the City of Kingston Council with a significant financial contribution from the Mentone Mordialloc Art Group.
Term 2 classes commenced in the brand new studio.
© Pamela Cooper
“ART IN MENTONE – A Local Tradition” published 2017
This illustrated history of Mentone Mordialloc Art Group is available for purchase from the studio for $20.00.
Our Life Members
1961 – Ben Challen | 1973 Kath Quayle | 1981 Graeme and Judy Challen | 1997 Gunnar Neeme | 2002 Bruce Fairless | 2013 Judy Sheldrake | 2013 Joan Waterworth | 2013 Lorna Moore | 2015 Cliff Eggar | 2015 Bill Pridmore | 2015 Joyce Jones | 2015 Ron Spencer | 2016 Val Royle | 2016 Roslyn Taylor | 2016 Joyce Stevens | 2017 Pamela Cooper