In 1965 The Chiltern Antiques Group was founded by Patricia Fay and a pioneering group of young women eager to be educated about the arts.
Just a few years later, in 1968, eleven such Societies came together to form the National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS).
In the 1970s NADFAS became a registered charity and underwent a period of rapid expansion with the creation of many new Societies across the UK, and the launch of key initiatives such as Church Recording, Young Arts and Heritage Volunteering.
For her inspiration and vision Patricia Fay received an OBE in 1975. The Patricia Fay Memorial Fund was established in 1980 following her death a year earlier, aged 46.
In 1984 we welcomed our first overseas Society in Germany, soon to be followed by Societies across mainland Europe, in New Zealand and Australia.
In 1994 a central London premises – NADFAS House – was purchased in the heart of Bloomsbury, which is still home to head office today.
On 17 May 2017, following a major rebranding exercise, The Arts Society replaced NADFAS as our operating name. After 50 years, we needed to evolve to keep up with changing times in order to reach out to more people in more places.
In 2018 celebratory events will take place worldwide to mark our 50th anniversary.
The Arts Society would not be where it is today without the dedication and enthusiasm of our volunteers who work tirelessly to run Societies and support the arts and heritage sector.
As a registered charity, we have a board of trustees who set the strategic direction and priorities for the organisation, while the executive team advise the board and undertake the day-to-day operations.
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester GCVO
Dr Loyd Grossman CBE, FSA
Martin Drury CBE, FSA / Philippa Glanville OBE, FSA / Alison Richmond ACR, FIIC /Desmond Shawe-Taylor LVO
Hilary Alcock, Vice-Chairman / Shaun Pitt, Treasurer / Felix Appelbe / Julia Charlton-Weedy /Billy Dawson / Roger Duckworth / Alison Galvin-Wright / Julie Goldsmith / Jillie Moss /Michael Shirley / Jacqui Varley