The Michigan Water Color Society was founded in 1946 by an enthusiastic group of young artists who envisioned and organization to promote the awareness of watercolor in Michigan. Their aim was to further watercolor education, maintain high standards artistically, while based on the premise of integrity and professionalism, and to be a forum open to all points of view.
A committee of working artists met for months, often lasting late into the evening, to form the policies and a constitution to present to a group of exhibiting painters in our state. The MWCS Founders were Mary Jane Bigler, Wayne Claxton and Helen E. May of Wayne State University; William A. Bostick, Secretary at the D.I.A.; Donald Gooch and Emil Weddige of the University of Michigan; Donald Brackett of Cass Technical High School; Mary Jane Anway; Thad Brykalski of Mason Inc.; and Ernest Scanes and Nelson Welch from the Scarab Club. Except for Ms. May, all these visionaries served on the first Board of Directors.
Wayne State University eventually became the hub of energy for watercolor painting as Professors Mary Jane Bigler and Louise Jansson Nobili, who was also instrumental in developing the MWCS, were strong influences in the Painting Department throughout their respective teaching careers. The late Ms. Bigler remained active as a Board member or advisor her entire life, encouraging innovative ideas and successful fundraising, while keeping a watchful eye for political pressures which could compromise quality exhibitions. Their emphasis on self discovery and personal content, rather than technique alone, produced the painters who kept the MWCS alive.
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