The Australian Society of Marine Artists (ASMA) was officially formed and incorporated in Sydney, New South Wales on 5 December 1996.
The Society’s Mission Statement as set out in the Constitution is “To support the interest of members by promoting maritime art in Australia. In doing so the Society will provide a forum for all those interested in maritime affairs: artists, sculptors, model-makers, historians, students, lay-persons and other maritime organizations, to co-operate in recording Australia’s maritime history past and present.”
The idea of forming the Society came from Mr Robert Carter OBE during a business trip to the USA in 1975. During that time Robert visited Mystic Seaport and it was where he subsequently began to exhibit his paintings. Being aware of the American Society of Marine Artists, Robert sought membership but was denied as he was not a US citizen.
Some years later while exhibiting back in Australia, he met Mr Dean Claflin who had established a gallery dedicated to marine art. It was through this meeting that the two later discussed the possibility of forming a maritime art society and over time they each began to contact a number of marine artists in order to gauge whether the formation of such a society was a possibility.
The first meeting of interested artists took place on 6 June 1996 and was attended by 14 artists. It was agreed at this meeting to establish the Society with Mr Dennis Adams, mariner, painter, sculptor and official Australian World War 2 artist being appointed as the first President. A further 12 artists joined up to form the 26 Foundation Members.
The Society has always enjoyed representation in each of the Australian States by a State Vice President and Membership has grown steadily over the years.
The advent of Covid in 2020 saw a shifting of art exhibitions to the safer and further reaching online format. The Society rose to the challenge with a capable new website with which to embrace the opportunity and ensure its members were able to benefit by exhibiting in this new domain.
In 2021 as the Society celebrated its 25th Silver Anniversary, artists from various fields make up its 100 strong membership and exhibitions have been held in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania. In retrospect it can truly be said that from humble beginnings, it is today an established and significant presence in the promotion of both traditional and contemporary Australian Marine and Maritime Art.