The Arts Society Blackwater is a Member Society of the Arts Society (formerly the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies), which was launched in 1968 and now has over 340 local societies in the UK and Mainland Europe, 3 in New Zealand and a sister association in Australia. With 90,000 members worldwide, The Arts Society works towards promoting and preserving the arts. The Society’s concerns include voluntary work to maintain historic buildings, recording churches and their contents, working towards developing the arts for the young and maintaining lecture programmes and tours for members.
The Arts Society Blackwater presents lectures given by carefully selected professional lecturers with a national reputation in their field. Meetings are held at 11am, with tea and coffee available, usually on the first Thursday in the month, at Wickham Bishops (Essex) Village Hall between October and July. The Arts Society Blackwater also arranges a programme of one-day visits to cultural venues together with longer tours in the UK and overseas. Recent tours have included Holland and the Dutch Masters, Stratford upon Avon and the Scottish Borders. The Society carries out church recordings, supports Young Arts and provides volunteer stewards for the Maldon Museum and a group of volunteers conserve books at the Plume Library.
The Society has a membership of about 200 and the subscription fee for the 2021 season is £47 per person. .When membership is full, a limited number of waiting-list members can be accepted on payment of £5 (non-returnable). Such members are able to attend up to three lectures during a season at a cost of £7 per lecture as indeed are other visitors.