Last week I started making a list of watercolor societies in the United States. I thought a list would be helpful to watercolorists looking for art exhibitions, workshops, or information. I had no idea that there were so many. My list got longer and longer. Many states had more than one society. Some states had none or I just haven’t run across them yet. Some societies are regionally based, some nationally based.
The main purpose of most societies was to promote interest in watermedia, to educate the public and to give watercolorists the opportunity to exhibit and sell their work. The oldest watercolor society was founded in 1885. Most societies have their own website where you can see lovely works by the membership. I am posting links on my list to their web sites.
Some societies have different types of membership such as associate or signature membership. Signature membership usually means that you have had work accepted in a certain number of shows and you can add the society initials to your signature. Signature membership is prestigious and most watercolorists that enter shows are working towards that goal.
This list of watercolor societies is a work in progress. If you know of a watercolor society that I have missed please add them to the comment section of this post. I will add to the list as I continue looking for more societies. I happen to be a member of the Watercolor Art Society -Houston and the Hawaii Watercolor Society. Belonging to a society is a great way to get involved and learn more about watermedia.
For those of you that are not watercolorists, please be patient. I will be making lists of other types of societies as well.
Watercolor Society of Alabama – http://wsalabama.org/ –
The Watercolor Society of Alabama was organized in 1939 by a group of artists. The Society was organized for the purpose of advancing the art of watermedia painting in order to contribute to the enrichment of the cultural environment of the State of Alabama by providing an opportunity to the art viewing public to observe excellent artwork from all regions of the United States. The Society supports and encourages members in their creative endeavors and offers incentives to artists working in watermedia through competitions, exhibitions, and workshops.
Alaska Watercolor Society – http://www.akws.org/ –
The Alaska Watercolor Society was formed in 1974 as a not-for-profit organization to help promote the knowledge and understanding of professional watercolor painting in Alaska.
Fairbanks Watercolor Society – http://www.fairbankswatercolor.org/
Fairbanks Watercolor Society is a not for profit affiliate of the Fairbanks Arts Association, and actively works to promote the role of watercolor and visual arts in Interior Alaska.
Arizona Watercolor Association – http://www.azwatercolor.com/ –
The Arizona Watercolor Association (the AWA) was founded in 1960 by professional watercolor artists and instructors. The AWA is growing in stature and membership. It hosts a National Watercolor Exhibition, and two Membership Exhibitions, all juried by nationally acclaimed artists.
Southern Arizona Watercolor Guild – http://www.watercolor-sawg.org/ – is located in Tucson, AZ. Our mission is to advance and develop watercolor as an important painting medium and to provide educational and cultural benefits for our members and interested supporters of our community. We are a community of water media artists recognized for excellence in their work, promotion of art education, and the advancement of water media in Southern Arizona. We are dedicated to exhibiting work, increasing skill, exchanging ideas and promoting art education and public appreciation of water media through community outreach. We have approximately 400 members and offer 5 workshops per year. We have a gallery with a different show practically every month.
Northern Arizona Watercolor Society – http://www.naws-az.org/– had its inception in 1980 when Anna Mary Seyfert, a member of the Arizona Watercolor Association (AWA), moved to Sedona from Phoenix. An avid watercolorist, Anna Mary scoured the area for artists with a similar passion and soon had a group meeting at her home on a regular basis. As the numbers grew, driving to Phoenix for programs became difficult, so the AWA took us under its wing as the Northern Chapter. We established our own organization under their auspices, growing in both numbers and vitality. In 1995 we declared our independence forming the Northern Arizona Watercolor Society (NAWS) with 178 charter members.
- Arkansas: Regional societies available.
National Watercolor Society – http://www.nationalwatercolorsociety.org/
The goals of the National Watercolor Society are to encourage interest and excellence in watermedia paintings by providing quality exhibitions and to act as an educational channel to pertinent information, exhibition opportunities, and beneficial programs to artists and their public. In addition, NWS sponsors programs to encourage and assist education in the arts.
San Diego Watercolor Society – http://www.sdws.org/ –
The San Diego Watercolor Society is an important supporter of arts education for all ages. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, SDWS performs a variety of services for educational institutions in the San Diego area.
Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society – http://www.scvws.org
Watercolor Artists of Sonoma County – http://www.wascoart.org/ –
The principal purpose of WASCO is to educate the public as to the many values of watercolor and to escalate the acceptance of watercolor as being an art form which should be sought and treasured along with other contemporary art forms.
Colorado Watercolor Society – http://www.coloradowatercolor.org/aboutcws/aboutcws.htm – The Colorado Watercolor Society is an organization dedicated to uphold the highest standards and principles of art and to promote, encourage, educate and foster an interest in fine art in all media, especially watermedia.
Pikes Peak Watercolor Society – http://home.pcisys.net/~ppwsart/ –
The PPWS was founded to promote excellence in the watercolor painting medium and to encourage artistic achievement in the community. Their first exhibit was held at the Pikes Peak Center in Colorado Springs in March of 1988, with a 2nd exhibit during Christmas of that same year. Today the P.P.W.S. continues to promote and encourage watercolor through its sponsorship of exhibitions, scholarships, workshops, and through its support of other local arts organizations and educational institutions.
Western Colorado Watercolor Society – http://www.wcwatercolorsociety.com/ –
Connecticut Watercolor Society – http://www.connecticutwatercolorsociety.org/ –
The Connecticut Watercolor Society was founded in 1938. The society holds two annual juried exhibitions to which all resident Connecticut artists may submit. Membership is automatic once an artist has been accepted into two annual juried exhibitions and membership is maintained through an annual dues payment.
Delaware Watercolor Society – http://www.delawarewatercolorsociety.org/ –
The Delaware Watercolor Society (DWS) aims to promote and encourage mutually shared interests in watercolor media among its members and the public. The Society works toward fostering high-quality, professional art and creative contributions to the Delaware community through education events, exhibits, and other activities.
Brevard Watercolor Society – http://www.brevardwatercolors.org/ –
A nonprofit organization founded in Melbourne, Florida.
Central Florida Watercolor Society – http://www.centralfloridawatercolor.com/ –
There are four categories of membership in the Central Florida Watercolor Society, Full, Corporate, Life and Honorary.
Florida Watercolor Society – http://www.floridawatercolor.org/ –
In 1972, Guy Beattie, Director of the Maitland Art Center, invited Florida watercolorists to contribute their work to an exhibition. Miles Batt, AWS, juried and judged the show selecting eighty-four paintings from those submitted. Because of interest in the show, the Florida Watercolor Society was founded, with twenty-six artists becoming charter members. Membership has now grown to over 1,150 members.
Georgia Watercolor Society – http://www.georgiawatercolorsociety.com/ –
The Georgia Watercolor Society was formed in March 1975. It was organized to advance the art of watercolor painting while contributing to the cultural atmosphere and standards of the State of Georgia.
Hawaii Watercolor Society – http://www.hawaiiwatercolorsociety.org/ –
A state-wide organization open to all residents of Hawaii, our approximately 300 members meet to paint, to share experiences, and to explore new ways to create our art, as well as to gain knowledge from each other and acknowledged experts in the field.
Idaho Watercolor Society – http://www.id-ws.org/ –
The Idaho Watercolor Society was founded in the fall of 1979 to support and promote aqua media, and to educate the public as to the significance of the media. Active membership is open to those residing in the State of Idaho and is comprised of a range of painters from beginner to professional.
Illinois Watercolor Society – http://www.illinoiswatercolorsociety.org/ –
The mission of The Illinois Watercolor Society is to advance the education and caliber of watercolor painting throughout Illinois.
Transparent Watercolor Society of America – http://www.watercolors.org/ –
From its inception, the purpose of TWSA has been to advance the stature and foster appreciation of transparent watercolor as a major medium. The membership includes artists from the United States and Canada who are dedicated to transparent watercolor and seek an avenue for its expression.
Watercolor Society of Indiana – http://www.watercolorsocietyofindiana.org/ –
The organization welcomes 25 years of service and growth to the state of Indiana. We encourage anyone who is a water media artist to join our organization and take part in a variety of functions and services we have to offer.
Iowa Watercolor Society – http://www.iowawatercolorsociety.org/ –
The purpose of the Iowa Watercolor Society, a nonprofit organization, shall be to support and encourage the advancement of the watercolor medium, and to foster the appreciation and interest of both the artist and the viewing public. 200 members, meets annually in September, newsletter published four times a year.None found.
Kansas Watercolor Society – http://www.kansaswatercolor.com/ –
The Kansas Watercolor Society was founded in 1970 for the purpose of encouraging the advancement, appreciation, and creation of watermedia through exhibitions, juried competitions, painting workshops, scholarships, and memorials.
Kentucky Watercolor Society
3209 Broeck Pointe Cir, Louisville, KY 40241-2569
Contact Phone: (502) 326-9256
Louisiana Watercolor Society – http://www.lwsart.org/ –
The Louisiana Watercolor Society, which was founded in 1968, exists to advance the art of painting with water media, defined as painting in transparent and/or opaque watercolor on paper, and in unvarnished water-soluble casein, acrylic, and gouache on paper.
- Maine: Regional societies in area.
Baltimore Watercolor Society – http://www.baltimorewatercolorsociety.org/ –
In 1885, a small group of women founded the Baltimore Water Color Club “to encourage cultural interests in the development of Professional quality, original works of art, executed in aqueous media.”
Western Maryland Watercolor Society – http://www.westernmarylandwatercolorsociety.org/ –
This society was formed to allow watercolor enthusiasts in the Western Maryland region to share common interests and explore new directions in watercolor painting. We strive to provide educational programs, give members opportunities to show and sell, and raise public awareness of watercolor painting.
New England Watercolor Society – http://www.newenglandwatercolorsociety.org/index.html –
The New England Watercolor Society (NEWS) was founded in 1885 as the Boston Society of Watercolor Painters, becoming the Boston Watercolor Society in 1896 and subsequently the New England Watercolor Society in 1980.
Michigan Watercolor Society – http://www.mwcsart.com/ –
Founded in 1946, the Michigan Water Color Society is a non-profit organization. The mission of the Michigan Water Color Society is to promote education in the contemporary arts. These goals are accomplished through sponsoring juried exhibitions and awards along with lectures, demonstrations and presentations for the mutual exchange of ideas.
Minnesota Watercolor Society – http://www.minnesotawatercolors.com/ –
The mission of the society is to further the development of the watercolor artist by providing a supportive environment with education and exhibition opportunities and to promote public appreciation and greater visibility of the arts.
Mississippi Watercolor Society – http://www.mississippiwatercolor.org/ –
The stated purpose of the Mississippi Watercolor Society (MSWS) since its founding is to achieve the objectives of: 1) promoting the artists of the State of Mississippi through the holding of art exhibits; 2) advancing the standards of the arts in general by the holding of art exhibits which include major artists from other states in the nation; 3) raising the interest of the general public in the arts by offering quality exhibitions; 4) and recognizing achievements of artists both within and from without the state by the bestowing of awards, and recognizing those whose dedication to the arts in general has benefited the state of the arts by the bestowing of various other honors.
Missouri Watercolor Society – http://www.mowsart.com/mainNN.htm –
This nonprofit corporation was formed to increase public awareness and appreciation of water based media; to educate the public and provide support to artists through publications and exhibitions; and to maintain the highest aesthetic standards through competitive exhibitions for artists working in water based media.
Montana Watercolor Society – http://www.montanawatercolorsociety.org/ –
Its purpose is to encourage the advancement, study, appreciation, and creation of watercolor painting in Montana and elsewhere.
- Nebraska: None found.
Nevada Watercolor Society – http://www.watercolorsociety.com/ –
The Nevada Watercolor Society was founded in 1969 to encourage, promote and advance watercolor painting through the education of the artist and general public.
- New Hampshire: Regional societies in area.
- New Jersey:
The New Jersey Watercolor Society – http://www.njwcs.org/index.htm –
The aims of the NJWCS as put down in its constitution are to exhibit watercolor paintings of professional quality; to increase and expand opportunities for New Jersey watercolor artists, and to promote public interest in watercolor paintings.
- New Mexico:
New Mexico Watercolor Society – http://www.nmwatercolorsociety.org/ –
NMWS was founded May 2, 1969, as a statewide chapter of the Southwestern Watercolor Society of Dallas, Texas. In January 1975, the NMWS became an independent entity. The Southern Chapter of the Society (NMWS-SC), located in Las Cruces and serving all of the state’s southern counties, was formed in the fall of 2001.The purpose of the Society is the elevation of the stature of watercolor as an art medium and the education of the public as to the significance of watercolor as an important creative permanent painting medium. The ultimate goal is to make New Mexico known nationally for its watercolorists.
- New York:
American Watercolor Society – http://www.americanwatercolorsociety.com/ –
The American Watercolor Society is a nonprofit membership organization that began in 1866 to promote the art of watercolor painting in America.
Central New York Watercolor Society – http://www.centralnewyorkwatercolorsociety.org/ –
The Central New York Watercolor Society was formed in February 1982 with fourteen charter members from the central New York region. Today the Society boasts a membership of over one hundred eighty artists from throughout the United States.
Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society – http://www.nfws.org/ –
The Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society is an organization for persons interested in transparent watercolor.The primary purpose is to advance the stature of watercolor as a major medium through education and to foster the appreciation of both the artist and the viewing public.
North East Watercolor Society – http://www.northeastws.com/ –
The mission of the society is to promote and preserve the art of watercolor painting.
- North Carolina:
Watercolor Society of North Carolina – http://www.ncwatercolor.net/ –
The Watercolor Society or North Carolina, Inc. (WSNC) is a non-profit art organization; its purpose is to promote watercolor throughout the state and to elevate the standards of excellence in this medium.
- North Dakota:
Red River Watercolor Society – http://www.rrws.20m.com/ –
The RRWS is a non-profit, international organization of volunteer art lovers who strive to advance the appreciation and education of the community and artists at all levels about watercolor.
Ohio Watercolor Society – http://www.ohiowatercolorsociety.com/ –
The purpose of O.W.S. is to advance the stature of watercolor as a major painting medium, to assist in the education of Ohio residents in the area of aqueous painting, and to foster a greater appreciation and interest of both the individual artist and the general public. To acomplish this, the society sponsors an annual juried exhibition, watercolor workshops, critiques, demonstrations and lectures, and publishes a newsletter which contacts, informs, and shares interests and efforts in the field of aqueous painting.
Oklahoma Watermedia Association – http://www.watercolorok.com/ –
The associations purpose is to encourage the recognition of the State of Oklahoma as a center of artistic endeavor and to educate its artists in water media. This is facilitated through programs, seminars, demonstrations, workshops, critiques, exhibitions, sketching opportunities and other work pertaining to water media.
Watercolor Society of Oregon – http://www.watercolorsocietyoforegon.com/ –
Founded in 1966 with 85 artists, the Watercolor Society of Oregon (WSO) is a statewide organization of more than 800 members. The primary activities of WSO are holding exhibitions of members work and providing education opportunities, both for the members and others interested in the creation and appreciation of the visual arts.
Pennsylvania Watercolor Society – http://www.pwswc.com/ –
The mission of the society is to encourage, promote and advance water media painting on paper through the education of artists and the general public.
- Rhode Island:
Rhode Island Watercolor Society – http://www.riws.org/ –
Founded in 1896, Rhode island Watercolor Society (RIWS) is one of the oldest watercolor organizations in America. With over 300 members, RIWS provides artists and the general public the opportunity to view, purchase, exhibit and learn about watermedia art.
- South Carolina:
South Carolina Watercolor Society – http://www.fineartsemporium.com/scws/SCWS.htm –
Since 1977, the South Carolina Watermedia Society has been promoting the artistic and professional interests of its members as well as providing visual arts programs to the public. The Society works towards achieving its goals by making the accomplishments of its members available to a broad base of South Carolinians.
- South Dakota:
Northern Plains Watercolor Society – http://npwatercolors.com/ –
The society is located in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Tennessee Watercolor Society – http://www.tnws.org/
The Tennessee Watercolor Society became an organization in 1971. The first annual exhibition was held in 1972 at the Hunter Museum in Chattanooga. Today we are a Biennial Exhibition organization with a statewide membership of more than 230 members.
Society of Watercolor Artists : http://www.swa-watercolor.com/ –
The Society of Watercolor Artists shall further the interests of painters in watercolor by its educational programs and competitive exhibits, and shall encourage art students and others engaged in watercolor painting. No bias shall be sanctioned among varying schools of art.
Southwestern Watercolor Society : http://swswatercolor.org –
Granted a charter by the State of Texas in May of 1964, Southwestern Watercolor Society began as the North Texas Watercolor Society, founded by Reese Kennedy, its first president. As membership expanded rapidly, the organization’s name was changed to encompass a wider spectrum of potential members. SWS has grown to be an international organization and is one of the largest watercolor societies in the nation.
Texas Watercolor Society – http://texaswatercolorsociety.net/ –
In 1949, TWS was founded by Margaret Pace Willson and Amy Freeman Lee with the mission to advance the art of painting in watercolors, and hold annual exhibitions of watercolor paintings.
Watercolor Art Society of Houston – http://www.watercolorhouston.org/ –
Founded in 1975, the Watercolor Art Society – Houston (WAS-H) is a non-profit organization with over 500 members. For over 30 years, WAS-H has brought the excitement of water-media to the greater Houston area with outstanding exhibitions, world-class instruction and dedicated community outreach. Year-round opportunities are provided to every level of painter, from novice to the seasoned expert. Art lovers can also enjoy year-round exhibitions in our gallery in the Museum District.
Utah Watercolor Society – http://www.utwatercolor.net/ –
The Utah Watercolor Society was founded Dec 30, 1974, and continues to operate as a Utah Nonprofit Corporation and Cooperative Association, exempt from taxes under IRC 501(c)(3). The mission is to promote the advancement of the art of painting in watercolors*, and to hold annual exhibitions of watercolors.
Vermont Watercolor Society – http://www.vermontwatercolorsociety.com/index.php
The Vermont Watercolor Society was founded by a small group of painters in 1995. With over 100 members today, VWS aims to extend the appreciation of transparent watercolor in all its diverse applications.
Virginia Watercolor Society – http://www.virginiawatercolorsociety.org/ –
The purpose of the Virginia Watercolor Society shall be to foster the advancement and study of aquamedia painting and to provide information about aquamedia painting to the public.
Potomac Valley Watercolorists – http://www.potomacvalleywatercolorist.org
This organization is a nonprofit and seeks to promote the art and excellence of watercolor painting. Members include many watercolor instructors who teach at all levels, and artists who exhibit at prominent galleries, museums and in nationally acclaimed shows.
Northwest Watercolor Society – http://www.nwws.org/dnn/
The Northwest Watercolor Society was founded in Seattle, Washington, in 1939 to promote an interest in and an appreciation for watercolor as an artistic medium.
- West Virginia:
West Virginia Watercolor Society – http://www.wvwatercolorsociety.org/ –
The mission of the West Virginia Watercolor Society is to promote and insure the high standards of the art of watercolor painting in the state of West Virginia.
Wisconsin Watercolor Society – http://www.wisconsinwatercolorsociety.com/ –
The society was founded in 1952 and was the first art organization to be devoted to watercolor painting.
Wyoming Watercolor Society
160 W 6th St, Sheridan, WY 82801-3003
Contact Phone: (307) 672-8379
Southern Watercolor Society – http://www.southernwatercolorsociety.org/ –
The Southern Watercolor Society was founded in 1975, the Southern Watercolor Society is a non-profit corporation (non profit corporation. # EIN 65-0967157 ) formed to elevate the stature of watercolor and educate the public to the significance of watercolor as an important creative permanent painting medium. The corporation is dedicated to the highest aesthetic standards.It is the aim of the organization to further the interests of painters in watercolor/watermedia by its programs and competitive exhibits, and to encourage the study of watercolor by art students and others engaged in watercolor painting.
Membership in the Southern Watercolor Society is $30.00 per calendar year and is open to persons living in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia