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Bell-Smith at Alma

In 1881, when Alma College, a private school for ladies opened in St Thomas, Ontario, F.M. Bell-Smith established an Academy of Fine Arts where students studied all varieties of drawing and painting in oils and water colours and learned the arts of the day, like painting on silk and china, and colouring photographs. At Alma he developed a three-year program of instruction in fine arts that was designed to provide students with knowledge of fundamental principals as well as practice in drawing and painting. Bell-Smith, himself, was a member of many Canadian art organizations and founder of some. He and his students won many awards in Canada and elsewhere. He brought experience and an international perspective to the art program at Alma and left a lasting legacy for both his students and Alma, and Canadian art as a whole.
You can read more about other aspects of the life of an artist in Canada in the late nineteenth century in a companion volume by Judith Colbert, F.M Bell-Smith: A Canadian Pioneer.