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History of the American Society of Marine Artists

The First 25 Years


OCTOBER 1, 2003

by Charles Raskob Robinson F/ASMA

Brush Hill, Washington, CT

Readers of this column know that it is designed to introduce members of the Society to each other and thereby encourage dialogue among them. Hopefully, this will lead to a broader understanding of marine art, techniques, approaches, practical pointers, etc. and work to the reader’s advantage. We usually interview two or three artists in the Society but devoted the last issue to the life history of Fellow David Thimgan who, at the young age of 48, died this past June.  

This issue is devoted to another special life history, that of the Society itself on this, its 25th, anniversary. I had been asked to deliver the after-dinner address at our Annual Meeting later this month in Carmel, California and relate this history. Not only are after dinner speeches usually unwelcome and downright deadly if addressed to artists without redeeming visuals, but to talk about “history”? To a group of Americans, focused as we are on the next twenty-four hours, next week and maybe next year? Isn’t there truth in the words of that important American, Henry Ford, “History is bunk!?” And, if history is the sum of humankind’s experience, isn’t the present more relevant than the past since more people are experiencing the present than have ever lived on the planet in the past? Besides, things now are changing so fast. What is possibly relevant in the pre-computer, pre-fax, pre-Fed Ex – not to mention pre-Internet – age when our Society was established to our 21st Century horizon? Is there not a strong underpinning of American culture in the words of the late American poet, Carl Sandburg, who declared, “History is a bucket of ashes.”?   READ MORE

The 35th Year Update


July 1, 2013

By Charles Raskob Robinson F/ASMA

 “Ya gots to work with what you gots to work with.”

The Key to ASMA’s Most Successful Decade Ever: 2003 - 2013

         Stevie Wonder’s famous quote is key to understanding the unprecedented success ASMA has had this past decade for, English aside, this is the philosophy the Society, in fact, adopted following a decade where things went from bad to worse, culminating in the exodus of a number of Fellows who had been stalwart leaders in earlier years. As we celebrate the thirty-fifth anniversary of our Society this year, it is worthwhile to reflect for a few minutes on what the organization has done during these past ten years that has given its name such luster in the public eye, provided challenging opportunities for its members both nationally and regionally, and fundamentally sharpened our understanding of the Society’s mission to advance appreciation of marine art.

On our twenty-fifth anniversary in 2003 I documented in this column the 1978 founding and the unfolding history of the Society. That prose was supported by a massive spreadsheet that presented the officers, board and committee members, dates and locations of exhibitions and Annual General Meetings, awardees, etc. on a year-by-year basis. Because of its size, it has not been published but is available digitally to any member and is maintained in the Society’s files.  READ MORE

 40th Year Update


March 1, 2018

by Charles Raskob Robinson F/ASMA


The Mission 

Over the 40 years of its existence, the Society has never lost sight of its original mission:

To recognize, encourage and promote marine art and maritime history; to encourage cooperation and free intercourse among artists, art teachers, art students, craftsmen, publishers and others engaged in artistic activities relating to marine art and the history of marine art; to provide a registry for artists; to hold exhibitions and to promote the study and improvement of marine art; to take any action incidental to or connected with the foregoing purposes in an advancement thereof, but for (except) the pecuniary profit or financial gain of its members, directors or officers except as permitted under Article 5 of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law.

By-laws of the American Society of Marine Artists, Inc., Article I, Section 2.

Although the Society has sought to hold steady to this course, the manner in which it pursued its mission has changed and evolved and holding that course has not always been smooth sailing. Fortunately, we have learned from our experience – especially from some rough weather we experienced twenty years ago. Since then the learning curve has been steadily steeper – particularly in recent years – and has put the Society in a position of strength and promise it has never before seen.  READ MORE


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