Cultural Exploration
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Cultural Exploration Like other North American cities, Saint John and its landscape were first documented in the late eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century by military and naval artists who were stationed in the area. As the city grew, so did the need for accurate likenesses of its citizens and itinerant painters left small-scale portraits and silhouettes of patrons who were wealthy enough to commission them. As the province's economy became more firmly established, artists remained for longer periods of time and by the late 1820s and 1830s artistic production began to flourish. In general, artistic production expanded, both in scale and range of subject matter, and artworks began to include life-size portraits, cityscapes, picturesque landscapes and scenes from everyday life.

In the mid-nineteenth century, new technologies revolutionized both the production and dissemination of images. Photography and reproductive printing techniques meant that images could be more widely distributed and were available to a much wider segment of the population. Views of Saint John made by both local and visiting artists began to appear in increasing numbers. With the presence of full-time, resident artists in the city, an association of amateur artists was founded in the mid-1850s and by 1879 the Saint John Art Club had emerged. In the 1880s and early 1890s, two art schools in Saint John focused an increased awareness on the purpose of art in society and encouraged the pursuit of art as an acceptable vocation.

In the early twentieth century, as part of its mandate, a new Saint John Art Club, which grew from the Saint John Branch of the Women's Art Association of Canada, rented studio space for artists and gave classes to children and adults in various locations in the city. Frequent art lectures and exhibitions organized by many community groups and societies preserved and enhanced cultural awareness. The next generation of artists who received their initial art instruction under local teachers sought more training in the United States and Europe. This expansion of influences, ideas and knowledge complemented the solid foundation created during the previous generation and kept the province abreast of new developments.

By the 1930s a new generation of Saint John artists began to ensure that fresh new ideas were being presented. Independent in thought and convinced that they could, and should be able to, make good art anywhere, the creativity of the city's artists flowered into what is considered the most dynamic periods in the history of art in New Brunswick.





Exhibition Building, Lower Cove, Saint John, New Brunswick
Exhibition Building, Lower Cove, Saint John, New Brunswick

Projection Room, Lyric Theatre, Saint John, New Brunswick
Projection Room, Lyric Theatre, Saint John, New Brunswick

Exhibition Building, Lower Cove, Saint John, New Brunswick
Exhibition Building, Lower Cove, Saint John, New Brunswick

Merritt House, Union Street, Saint John, New Brunswick
Merritt House, Union Street, Saint John, New Brunswick



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