THE Bendigo Arts Society will celebrate its 20th anniversary this Sunday with a high tea at Bendigo Pottery - the location of its first meeting in 1994.
Enthusiastic residents formed the group to create an outlet for like-minded creatives to enjoy, make and critique art.
The group grew quickly through the years and now has 100 regulars on its books.
People involved in all facets of the arts, particularly painting, gather to share information, learn new skills and support each other.
The group holds regular art events such as life drawing classes, exhibitions and 'paint outs', where members travel to a location to paint outdoors.
On Tuesday members gathered for an 'appraisal' session to show off their most recent art works and receive constructive criticism.
Joy Tatt is one of the founders of the Bendigo Art Society and said she is proud the group has made it this far.
She said Sunday's celebration at Bendigo Pottery would include an oil portrait demonstration, just like the first meeting two decades ago.
Ms Tatt said her desire to start an arts group in Bendigo came from her need to discuss art with other people.
"I never had family or friends interested in art," Ms Tatt said.
The group's president Ben Winspear said the Bendigo Art Society provided a crossover between "grassroots and hobby painters" and professional artists.
Mr Winspear, a professional artist, said his aim was to give inspiration, guidance and direction to all creatives, no matter the level of experience.
During Tuesday's session he offered ideas and encouragement to members about their work.
Mr Winspear said most members were oil painters, water colourists or print makers.
He said it would be great to get some sculptors to join the society.
As president Mr Winspear said he hoped to boost the group's numbers with younger members, perhaps with meetings on weekends so workers could attend with their families.
Original member from 20 years ago Belinda John said it would be wonderful to have more younger members.
"They could learn from the older people," she said.
Long time member Margaret Richmond said the Bendigo Arts Society gave her the opportunity to talk to other people who understood how she felt and what she was talking about.
"We talk the same language," Ms Richmond said.
She said the group had given her many friendships and taught her a lot about art.
Anyone can attend the 20th anniversary celebration at Bendigo Pottery Function Centre from 12.30 to 5.30pm at 146 Midland Highway, Epsom.
Tickets are $25 if booked early, or $35 at the door. Call Joy Tatt for details on 0419 539 237.
For information about joining the Bendigo Arts Society or attending events, go to www.bendigoartsociety.org