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October 2 - November 1, 2018

In 1963, a group of 
Knoxville artists was invited by the late Kermit (Buck) Ewing, Head of the 
University of Tennessee Art Department, to participate in an exhibition of 
watercolor paintings at the University’s McClung Museum. During the opening 
reception, Mr. Ewing noted the Knoxville area did not have an organization for 
artists who share the common interest of painting in aqueous media. He suggested 
that those artists exhibiting in the McClung show could be the nucleus for such 
an association. Thus, was the formation of the Knoxville Watercolor Society with 
Laura Bagwell serving as the first President. 

The purpose of this organization is to educate 
the members as well as the community, to the understanding of watercolor as a 
significant art form. Active membership is juried by the members and consists of 
Knoxville area artists who are currently active in the serious pursuit of 
aqueous painting. Associate membership was added to provide other painters an 
opportunity to benefit from the monthly programs and workshops. 

The exhibitions during the first year were 
held at the Oak Ridge Community Art Center, the University Faculty Club and the 
McClung Museum. Also, the Society cooperated with Sears Stores in conducting a 
juried show for all area artists. In the following years, members’ exhibitions 
were held at the Parthenon in Nashville, Maryville College, Carousel Theater, 
the United American Bank, the TVA Towers, Lawson McGhee Library, and at private 
facilities, such as Crossroads, Windrock Galleries, Rechenbachs, Bennett 
Galleries and Art Source. 

In July 1978, the 
Society observed its fifteenth year with an exhibition, “A Summer Celebration of 
Watercolors,” at the Dulin Gallery of Art. This extremely successful show was a 
milestone in the history of the Knoxville Watercolor Society. Recent exhibitions 
have been held at the University of Tennessee Conference Center, the Oak Ridge 
Community Art Center, the Art Market at the Candy Factory and the Knoxville 
Museum of Art. 

In use since 1978 is a logo by 
Gary Dagnan chosen from designs submitted by members. The KWS Directory cover 
was created by member Harriet Howell. 

exhibit with the Tennessee Watercolor Society, other state watercolor 
organizations, the Southern Watercolor Society, Watercolor USA and the American 
Watercolor Society and consistently win regional, state and national awards. 

Annually, the organization provides a 
scholarship for a University of Tennessee student who is majoring in watercolor 
painting, donates to the University of Tennessee Ewing Gallery and maintains 
membership in the Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville. Additionally, 
grants have been made to the Arts Council of Greater Knoxville, the Knoxville 
Museum of Art, the Tennessee Resource Center, the Tennessee Art Association High 
School Scholarship Program. 

Through the years, 
the area’s increasing interest in watercolor painting is a result in part of the 
growth and development of the Knoxville Watercolor 

Located at Fountain City Art Center

October 2 - November 1, 2018