Welcome to The Arts Society and to its Essex Area’s 12 societies, all situated within the borders of Essex, in towns and countryside from the edges of Greater London to the Essex Coast. The programmes and opportunities offered by the societies are as varied as their locations. 

The Arts Society already has over 2,500 members in Essex, and many of the area's societies are actively seeking new members. Please visit the Find a Society page to locate your nearest society. You can send an enquiry regarding membership through the Contact Us page, or by clicking on the relevant Society details on the Find a Society page.

Join us to start enjoying the great variety of talks on all aspects of the arts from fine art to landscape design, from architecture to music, history and gardens. The Arts Society's member societies have exclusive access to the Society’s Directory to find the right expert speaker on an enormous choice of subjects. 

Your chosen society may also offer opportunities to participate in heritage projects and to join visits in the UK or abroad. Societies and Essex Area also offer Days of Special Interest where we focus on a particular topic in greater depth. More details on societies' volunteering activities and special Area events and visits can be found by visiting the Events and Our Activities webpages above.

The Arts Society (formerly known as NADFAS) works to advance arts education and appreciation, alongside promoting the preservation of artistic heritage throughout the UK and abroad. It is a UK-based charity with over 91,000 members supporting a network of over 360 local societies in the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.  It was founded in 1968 by Patricia Fay and rapidly expanded to a national network of societies with new ones still opening. Membership enhances enjoyment of the arts and allows opportunities to learn new skills and make new friends. 

We have been celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Arts Society in 2018. We hope that many more members will join us for the next exciting decades as we develop to fit the changes in society. We welcome new members and their ideas.

Alicia Herbert 

Chairman, Essex Area of The Arts Society



Acknowledgements as follows: Copped Hall photo (c) Peter Warne; Finchingfield photo (c) Oxyman/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-3.0/GFDL; Colchester Castle by kind permission of Colchester Borough Castle; Wivenhoe photo (c) Dr Stephen Kennedy; Sir Alfred Munnings, Barge on the Stour, 1930s, (c) The Munnings Art Museum, Dedham, Essex; John Constable, Wivenhoe Park, by kind permission of National Gallery of Art, Washington; Thames barges photo (c) Peter Carter; Michael Rothenstein, Butterflies 1, 1982, by kind permission of Goldmark Gallery, Uppingham, Rutland,; Audley End photo (c) Misterzee/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-3.0/GFDL; Audley End print, public domain

Latest News

The Arts Society Blackwater is holding a Day of Special Interest on Monday 1 April 2019 with Leslie Primo, on Design, Invention, Creation: The Multiple Lives of Leonardo Da VinciThe three one-hour lectures will explore the life, work, interests and legacy of a Renaissance icon. Speculations regarding the true life and meanings of Leonardo’s works have been rife for centuries, culminating in recent times with books such as the Da Vinci Code. Click here for more details and the booking form.

On 8 April 2019 there will be an Area Day of Special Interest at Little Baddow Memorial Hall, 10.00am - 2.30pm, where Siân Walters will give three lectures on 'Raphael and his Rivals in Rome'. Full details and booking form can be found here.

The Arts Society Colchester is holding a Study Day on 21 March 2019 at Nayland Village Hall, 11.00am - 3.00pm. The cost is £30 per person, including coffee and biscuits and lunch, and the booking form can be downloaded here. Full details can be found on their website.

In May 2019 The Arts Society Thames Estuary are planning a five day, four night trip in partnership with Tailored Travel, beginning on Thursday 16th May and entitled 'The Historic Houses & Heritage of Winchester & the Isle of Wight'. Full details can be found here.