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Files of Gordon Couling
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1951-1979, predominant 1953-1960 (Creation)
- Couling, Gordon
Physical description area
18 cm of textual records
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The Central Ontario Art Association (COAA) is a non-profit organization that was formed in 1954 as the Five Counties Art Association with the goal of bringing together artists and existing artist groups in Halton, Peel, Dufferin, Wellington, and Waterloo counties in order to provide greater opportunities in art instruction, encourage art appreciation, pool area efforts and resources, develop leadership in visual art, and foster inter-group cooperation and participation.
In the early 1950s, Lloyd Minshall, District Representative of the Community Programs Branch of the Ontario Department of Education, and Gordon Couling, art professor at the Macdonald Institute of the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph, determined that it would be beneficial to foster cooperation among artists in the region. In 1954 they organized a series of meetings for art instructors that led to the formation of the Five Counties Art Association Teachers’ Council, which organized an exhibition and several sketching trips that year. In 1957, the organization became an open members’ association, with the teachers’ council responsible for instruction and learning opportunities and the jurying of exhibitions, and the association responsible for organizing activities and exhibitions. In 1964, the association changed its name to Central Ontario Art Association to incorporate an expanding membership, and in 1967, the executives of the teachers’ council and the association were merged to become one entity.
The COAA is administered by an executive consisting of a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, past president, and committee chairs. Committees in existence over the association’s history include: Membership, Program (or Workshops), Exhibition, Nominating, and Bulletin/Newsletter. In the early years, district representatives (or advisory directors) were also involved in administration. The association was originally sponsored by the Ontario Department of Education, Community Programs Branch, and also received grants and assistance at various times from the Art Institute of Ontario and the Ontario Council for the Arts.
The main activities of the COAA have remained consistent over the years. These activities, through which the COAA accomplishes its goals, include workshops and sketching trips, annual juried and members’ exhibitions, and the publication of a newsletter. An annual weekend of workshops, as well as the annual general meeting, is held with the COAA’s sister association, the East Central Ontario Art Association, at the Geneva Park YMCA Conference Centre on Lake Couchiching. Today, the COAA encompasses over 300 artist networks.
Scope and content
Series consists of records kept by Gordon Couling, charter member and first chair of the teachers' council executive, relating to the formation, administration, and activities of the COAA, mainly for the period from 1953 to 1960. Includes yearly files kept by Couling documenting the administration and activities of the association, as well as Couling's files relating to the annual Leader's Institute at the Macdonald Insitute in Guelph, offered by the Community Programs Branch of the Ontario Department of Education. Includes correspondence, minutes, reports, exhibitors' lists, flyers and programs, course outlines and resource lists, course notes and handouts, forms and surveys, lists of student participants, and other material.
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Series arranged alphabetically.
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This series contains the first minutes relating to the Leader's Institute and to plan the first exhibition in 1954 and to plan the first sketching trip.
Note that some items from files in this series have been removed and gathered to form other files, probably for the purposes of writing a history of the association (see Files 138 and 139).