In 1989, three accomplished watercolorists, Wanda Boydstun, Connie Fassett, and Mary Minamide, founded the Coachella Valley Watercolor Society (CVWS). They envisioned a gathering of creative watercolor painters for the entire valley and grants for the appreciation and continuation of education in water media art for local youth programs. Today, they support art education for children in the Coachella Valley with a dynamic and growing membership.

The monthly meetings are open to guests as well as members. CVWS is open to all levels of skill from the emerging artist to the credentialed water media artist.  Members are provided with opportunities to exhibit and sell their artwork in CVWS sponsored shows.  The shows are free to the public with attendance records of over several thousand annually.

Here a just a few highlights of the Society’s beginnings:

During the Society’s first year, the dedicated handful of members offered raffles to raise money. The funds raised then and which continues today, fulfills one of the Society’s goals of providing for various art programs in the Coachella Valley.

The first “Painter of the Month” award went to Carl Moore.

In May 1990, the first Annual Members Art Show took place at the lovely Aerie Art Garden owned by Society Charter Members Clonard and Bruce Thomas. Also in 1990, the first plein air “field mice” were born. They can be seen as they roam the desertscape for locations to paint.

The list of contributors to the Society’s success is extensive. Presidents, officers, committee chairs, and the commitment of many individuals, sponsors and donors deserve special recognition for the amazing development of the Coachella Valley Watercolor Society.

Founding Members

  • Wanda Boyston
  • Connie Fassett
  • Mary Minamide

Charter Members

  • Wanda Boyston
  • Pat Boyston
  • Connie Fassett
  • Mary Minamide
  • Helene Himot
  • “Miss T” Imschweiller
  • Alice Rosman
  • Clonard Thomas
  • Bruce Thomas
  • Vivian Williams