Central Ontario Art Association fonds

Central Ontario Art Association.
Central Ontario Art Association fonds. - 1944-2005.

ca. 1.96 m of textual records and other material.

View full finding aid of Central Ontario Art Association fonds (PDF)

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, organized a series of meetings for art instructors. These meetings led to the formation of the Five Counties Art Association Teachers’ Council, which held an exhibition and several sketching trips that year. In 1957, the organization became an open members’ association, with the teachers’ council responsible for learning opportunities and the jurying of exhibitions, and the association responsible for organizing events. 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 merged to become one entity.

The main activities of the COAA have remained consistent over the years, including 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. (Source: contents of the fonds and the COAA website.)


Fonds consists of records documenting most aspects of the development of the COAA, the events and activities of the association, and its administration and membership in the period from its formation in 1954 to about 2000, with some gaps in coverage. The records were accumulated by various members and some organization was imposed by the association for the purpose of researching its history. Includes correspondence, membership lists, flyers, announcements, programs, newsletters, exhibitors' catalogues, minutes, reports, the association constitution and by-laws, histories, forms and questionnaires, clippings, lectures and articles, photocopied information, photographs, slides, and other material.

Fonds is arranged in the following series:

  1. Administration and Membership
  2. Files of Gordon Couling
  3. Events and Exhibitions
  4. Publications
  5. Subject Files
  6. History Working Files
  7. Photographs


  • Title based on content of the fonds.
  • The extent is measured in linear metres of shelf space occupied by the fonds.
  • Includes 351 photographs, 110 slides, 74 negatives, and 1 computer disk.
  • Donated in 2010.
  • Some files may be restricted.

Call number: GA 209