The History of the Society

Looking Back on 45 years of the Society of Estonian Artists in Toronto (EKKT) It was 45 years ago on May 16, 1956 when a group of 13 Estonian artists met to form their own non-profit visual art organization called the Estonian Art Club in Toronto (Eesti Kunsti Klubi Torontos). Prior to the founding of EKKT Mr. Hans Lupp, who was president of the Toronto Estonian Society, had organized three Spring Art Exhibitions by Estonian Artists. They had been held at the Exhibition Hall in St. Andrew's Lutheran Church (1954-1956). The thirteen founding members, in random order, were: Woldemar Päts, who wrote the EKKT constitution, Benita Vomm, Alice Kurs, Hilda Mikkelsaar, Ervin Milvek, Egon Vellesoo, Elmar Koppel, Abel Lee, Udo Leppik, Ants Vomm, Lia Lepik, Lembit Rand and Joann Saarniit.

The first President of EKKT was Abel Lee with temporary board members E. Milvek, H. Mikkelsaar, A. Mihkelsoo, L. Lepik, and L. Rand. Richard Antik was the first secretary from 1957-58. He was also the art critic for the Toronto Estonian weekly "Meie Elu" (Our Life). Hannes Oja has been the art critic for "Vaba Eestlane" (Free Estonian), another Toronto Estonian newspaper that appears twice weekly.

From St. Andrew's Church the group moved its shows to St. Peter's Church Exhibition Hall, where it continued to exhibit for many years. Over the years the Society has had its own club rooms in various locations, the first being at 105 King Street West, in Toronto; then at 301 King Street West and then 81 Queen Street West. From 1965 to 1974 the Society was located at 594 Markham Street in Mirvish Village. Endel Kõks, a well-known Estonian artist from Sweden, used the club rooms on Markham Street during his Toronto tour. From 1974-1990 the Society's head office was on Barker Avenue in East York. From 1990-1998 its meetings were held on Blythwood Road in North York and since 1998 its address has been 175 Hilda Avenue, Suite 610, Toronto, M2M 1V8.

In the early years the Society would hold children's art exhibitions as well as many one-man shows in its club rooms; and for twelve years its members got together for drawing classes with live models.

In the early 1950's a well-known Canadian columnist, Lotta Dempsey Fisher, visited the Society with her husband, architect Richard A. Fisher, and a review of the Society's club rooms and exhibition was published in the Globe & Mail. Years later, in 1996, Ms. Fisher's daughter-in-law, Carolyn Davis Fisher, wrote about the Society briefly in her book "The Lady Was a Star".

The Society's second President was Benita Vomm (1958-60), a graduate of the Pallas Art Academy. Its third President (1961-1968) was internationally recognized graphic artist and painter, Eric Pehap, who was also a graduate of the Pallas Art Academy. In 1969 Benita Vomm was once again elected as President, which post she retained until 1990. Under her able guidance the Society flourished for 25 years. The Society has also been very fortunate to have had two good secretaries, one being Ants Erik Vomm for 27 years and Erna Relvik for the past 16 years. With the nomination of Mai Järve as its Public Relations representative, the Society started to spread its wings on a larger scale in the Toronto community.

In 1964, under the leadership of Eric Pehap, EKKT organized the III Estonian Festival Art Exhibition. In 1968 an exhibition entitled "Samples of Estonian Art 1918- 1968", was held where 103 artists were represented.

In 1972, under the leadership of Benita Vomm, EKKT organized the I Estonian World Festival Art Exhibition at Tartu College. A review of this exhibition was written by well-known Canadian art critic Kay Kritzwiser in the Globe & Mail (July, 1972). Over one thousand visitors attended this exhibition during a one-week period.

In 1984, with advice from Endel Kõks, EKKT organized "Pallas Art Academy 65th Anniversary Exhibition" at the Estonian House Gallery in Toronto. The same year it also organized an exhibition entitled "Salute to Esto '84", which was held at the Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library. During the past 45 years, the EKKT has held annual art exhibitions, sometimes twice yearly. It has held shows at the Northern District Library on Stairwell Gallery, the Fairview Branch in North York and the Central Library in North York. It has also exhibited outside of Toronto at Uppsala College, New Jersey, in Montreal, at the Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario as well as in New York, Baltimore (Esto '76), at the International Gallery in Stockholm, Sweden, and in Australia and Estonia. Many of its artists have also won national and international awards for their work.

In 1991 Ms. Mai Järve (born Vomm) was elected President. In 1990, from September 24 to October 31, the Society held its 35th Anniversary Juried Art Exhibition at the Samuel J. Zacks Gallery at Stong College, York University. The official opening and the launch of the EKKT 1956-1990 Art Album took place on September 25th, followed by a reception. Greetings were received from many prominent individuals who were in attendance including Professor Allan Koretsy, Master of Stong College; Professor Ian MacDonald, President of York International; Professor Joy Cohnstaedt, Dean of Fine Arts at York University; Mrs. Celyne Gagnon, representing the Minister of Culture for Ontario; Audrey Klausen from the North York Arts Unit; Mr. Harry Chong, representing the Department of Multiculturalism from the Secretary of State; Hon. Ilmar Heinsoo, Consul General of Estonia in Canada and Mr. S. Veidenbaum, Editor of the Art Album. Greetings were also received from the Honourable Tony Ruprecht, MPP; Nataly Nagy, Ontario Arts Council; and His Worship Mel Lastman, Mayor of North York. Jaak Järve was Master of Ceremonies.

The opening was a huge success and on October 17, 1990 CFTO-TV filmed the exhibition and interviewed EKKT Public Relations representative Mai Järve. Members of the Jury were: Ms. Kay Kritzwiser, Dr. Igor Kuchinsky and Mr. Christopher Hume. The Exhibition was officially opened by EKKT President Benita Vomm. A film crew from Estonia was also present. On October 30, 1990 the Tallinn film crew interviewed Benita Vomm and Abel Lee as well as other EKKT members who were present.

On November 5, 1990, The Hon. Lincoln M. Alexander, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, granted the Society an audience in his office at Queen's Park, where he was presented with a copy of the Society's 1956-1990 Art Album. A second copy of the art album was presented to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In attendance at this presentation were Mai Järve, Hannes Oja, Otto Rannamäe and Siegfrid Veidenbaum.

In May 1991, at the suggestion of the Society's secretary Erna Relvik an art exhibition was organized at St. Peter's Church to help fund the Church's hymn book.

In 1992 the Society organized two art exhibitions: one at Northern District Library, Stairwell Gallery, the other at East York Civic Centre. The exhibitions were entitled "Celebrating Canada's 125th Anniversary". His Worship David Johnson, Mayor of the Borough of East York, opened the exhibition at the Civic Centre and a painting by Estonian Artist Ants Gross was presented to him. Greetings were received from Ontario Premier Bob Rae and Ontario Minister of Culture Karen Haslam.

In 1993, from September 25 to October 3, the Society organized an exhibition entitled "Toronto 200" and an oil painting by EKKT artist Ants Vomm was presented to the City of Toronto. Unfortunately Mayor June Rowlands was unable to attend the opening. Consequently the painting was presented to her later at her office in City Hall. The unveiling of the painting was attended by East York Mayor Michael Prue, members of the Toronto Historical Board, and Miss Cassandra Nicolaou, co-ordinator of Toronto ArtsWeek '93. On July 20, 1994, a reception was held at Queen's Park by Ontario Lieutenant Governor Hal Jackman for Canada Day Achievement Award recipients. EKKT recipients for that year were Viivi Jaanimägi and Otto Rannamäe, with guest Mai R. Järve.

In 1994 the exhibition from September 30 to October 2 was well attended. It was advertised on CBC-TV and filmed by CFTO-TV during Toronto ArtsWeek. The Society's 40th Annual Juried Art Exhibition, held from September 23 to October 1, was another ArtsWeek event. Honourary patrons at this exhibition were the Honourable Henry N.R. Jackman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario; Honorable Michael Harris, Premier of Ontario; Her Worship Barbara Hall, Mayor of the City of Toronto; His Worship Michael Prue, Mayor of the Borough of East York; Honourable Ilmar Heinsoo, Consul General of Estonia in Canada; Mr. Laas Leivat, President of Estonian Central Council in Canada; Mr. Hans Lupp, President of the National Estonian Foundation of Canada; and Mr. Vello Hubel, President of the Estonian Federation in Canada. Members of the Jury were: Ms. Kay Kritzwiser, Ms. Barbara E. Mercer, and Professor Gerry Needham. City Councillor John Adams represented Mayor Barbara Hall. Miss Viive Pruuli, EKKT's Public Relations representative, read the greetings from Ontario Lieutenant Governor Henry N.R. Jackman, Ontario Premier Michael Harris, Ontario Citizenship and Culture Minister Marilyn Mushinski, Latvian Charge D'Affaires, Mr. M. Lacis and Professor Ian MacDonald of York University. After the official opening a reception was held at the Crystal Hall in the Estonian House. Dr. Rein and Mrs. Ene Silberberg from Bethesda, Maryland were also in attendance. The Society published its third art album for this event and over 300 copies were distributed around the world to museums, universities and libraries.

From August to October 1996, EKKT exhibited in Tallinn, Estonia at the Kastellaanimaja Gallery. It also took part in the World Festival Esto '96, and was the largest visual art group of artists of Estonian heritage from Canada and North America to exhibit there since Estonia became independent again in 1991. Mr. Peeter Kaups, Vice-President of EKKT, was the Society's representative at the exhibition's official opening, which was attended by Estonian Minister of Culture Mr. Jaan Allik. Mr. Allik brought greetings from President Lennart Meri; Mr. Enn Põldroos, President of the Estonian Artists League; Ms. Marina Asari from the Canadian Embassy in Tallinn; Mrs. Marika Valk, Director of the Estonian National Art Museum; Ms. Mai Levin, Art Curator; and Mr. Elem Treier, Director of the Kastellaanimaja Gallery, who extended the invitation to the Society to exhibit in Estonia. On August 9, 1996 the exhibition was attended by Canada's Charge d'Affaires, Mr. Gerald Skinner, who arrived from Latvia for the occasion. The exhibition was very successful. It was attended by many, and Estonian television filmed it and showed it throughout the country. Greetings were also received from his Excellency Mr. Ernst Jaakson, Estonian Consul in New York, for organizing such a large exhibition in Estonia.

In 1997, from September 27 to October 5, EKKT organized ja Juried Exhibition entitled "Canada" to celebrate Canada's 130th birthday and the 50th anniversary of Canadian citizenship. A preview opening was held on September 26th with greetings from the Federal Minister of Citizenship and Culture, the Honourable Lucienne Robillard, read by Miss Ann Lau. Greetings were also received from the Honourable Sheila Copps, Federal Minister of Heritage; the Honourable Michael Harris, Premier of Ontario, the Honourable Marilyn Mushinski, Ontario Minister of Citizenship, Culture & Recreation; Her Worship Barbara Hall, Mayor of the City of Toronto; and his Worship Mel Lastman, Mayor of North York. Hon. Sarmite Bulte, MP attended personally and brought greetings from Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Guest speaker for the occasion was the Honourable John Parker, MPP, who represented Marilyn Mushinski and presented EKKT with a recognition plaque. Personal greetings were delivered by His Worship Michael Prue, Mayor of the Borough of East York, and the Honourable Ilmar Heinsoo, Consul General of Estonia in Canada, delivered the opening address. Members of the Jury were Dr. Andrew Pawlowski, member of the Sculptors Society of Canada; Miss Natalie Shymko, B.A., M.A. Art History, President of "Art Classique"; and Ms. Ernestine Tahedl, Member of R.C.A., O.S.A., President of the Ontario Society of Artists. A wine and cheese reception followed the official opening, with background music provided by well-known Estonian-Canadian pianist Armas Maiste. CITY-TV was present and both the Gallery and Crystal Hall were full of guests.

On January 24, 1998 EKKT organized a lecture with slides at the Estonian House Gallery. The lecture was given by Ruth Tulving, R.C.A. and was entitled "50 Years of Art to Present". Fifteen paintings were donated by member artists as door prizes and for a lottery, to support the Estonian School in Narva, Estonia and the Estonian House in Toronto Kitchen Fund.

In February 1998, the Society organized an art exhibition to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Estonian independence. Honourary patrons were Estonian Ambassador to the United States of America and Canada His Excellency Grigore Kalev Stoicescu from Washington, USA and Honourable Ilmar Heinsoo, Consul General of Estonia in Canada. The same evening, on February 20, 1998, the Estonian Central Council held a reception for foreign dignitaries and many of them visited the show. The Exhibition ran from February 20 to 24, 1998.

In March of the same year, a joint gathering was held with a proposal from the Estonian Art Centre (The Pahapills) to commemorate the 100th birthday of well-known Estonian graphic artist Eduard Wiirald. This was held at the Estonian House restaurant.

September 26-28, 1998 was the Society's 43rd Annual Art Exhibition with greetings from EKKT Vice-President Peeter Kaups. Miss Heli Kopti, President of the Estonian Federation in Canada, delivered the opening address.

September 24-27, 1999 was the Society's last Annual Exhibition of the 20th century, with guest speaker Mrs. Helju Salumets, President of the Estonian War Invalid's Relief Society. City Councillor Michael Prue attended and brought greetings. The Honourable Ilmar Heinsoo was presented with a painting by EKKT member Elva Palo. Ms. Palo, who as a child had won an award for her drawing from the Heinsoo Insurance Company, presented the painting in person as her way of thanking him after all these years. Greetings were also sent by Ontario Lieutenant Governor Hilary Weston and by recent new member, Mr. Harry Nurmet from Oregon, Illinois. This was also the Society's tenth year participating in Toronto ArtsWeek.

During the past 45 years, EKKT has published three art books. This EKKT 2000 Art Album is its fourth book. The 1990 and 1995 albums have been distributed to museums, universities and libraries throughout the world, in recognition of which the Society has received hundreds of thank-you letters from around the world. Particulars about EKKT exhibitions have appeared in the Toronto Star, the Globe & Mail, North York News, East York Observer, East York Mirror, Our Life, Free Estonian, Teataja, Vaba Eesti Sõna, Ohtuleht, and Päevaleht. Its exhibitions have been visited by thousands. Since 1956 the Society has kept a guest book, where youngsters visiting the shows have written their names and they can now return with their own children or grandchildren. Many of the artists or founding members have died. New members have joined, and at present EKKT is the largest visual art non-profit organization of artists of Estonian heritage in Canada and North America. The majority of its members are Canadian citizens now, and many of its younger members were born in Canada. The Society's oldest living member is Mr. Richard Sööt, born April 13, 1903. The second oldest and one of EKKT's founding members is Benita Vomm, an honourary member and past President who served as President for 25 years. Benita Vomm was born on July 28, 1908. EKKT's third oldest member is Mr. Harry Nurmet, born on April 25, 1909. EKKT also has two living members who have been active in the group for 45 years. They are Ants Erik Vomm and Benita Vomm. The Society also has had several generations from the same family at many of its shows. They are the Järves and Vomms, representing three generations, and the Gelzins and Palo, and Kaups and Taylor-Self, representing two generations. In EKKT's 2000 Art Album there are several artists whose parents were members in the Society before they passed away, namely Arne Roosman, son of Axel Roosman, Ruth Tulving, daughter of Hilda Mikkelsaar. Abel Lee has a son, Margus Lee and Riho Pild has a son, David Pild. Both have exhibited with the group in the past.

Many of EKKT's members have received volunteer service awards from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture as well as Canada Day Achievement Awards at City Hall and Queen's Park.

The Society's artists have many different artistic backgrounds. Some are self-taught, some have attended private art classes and workshops and some have graduated from Colleges and Universities and/or studied in different countries around the world.

The Society has four honourary members. They are, in alphabetical order: Ms. Kay Kritzwiser, well-known Canadian art critic; the Honourable Ilmar Heinsoo, Consul General of Estonia in Canada; Mr. Hans Lupp, President of the National Estonian Foundation of Canada, and Benita Vomm, past President of EKKT and one of its founding members. Two honourary members have died. They were sculptor Rudolf Saaring and editor-journalist Siegfrid Veidenbaum.

In the year 2000, EKKT is organizing the esto2000 Juried Art Exhibition at the Estonian House Gallery from July 8-16, 2000 at 958 Broadview Avenue in Toronto. From September 22nd to October 1, 2000 it will be holding its 45th Anniversary Art Exhibition at the Estonian House Gallery. It will also be sending out 350-400 EKKT 2000 Art Albums around the world.

For many years, EKKT has been an affiliate member of Visual Arts Ontario. As President of EKKT for nine years, I'm happy to mention that our exhibitions have become more popular with each passing year. I'm very grateful to all who have visited our exhibitions and contributed generously to the publication of this album.

Our deepest gratitude to the Canadian government, which has given us the freedom to express ourselves and our feelings in artistic form during the years. Thank you to all people of all ages and all nationalities who have visited our exhibitions, and also a big thank you to ArtsWeek (Toronto Arts Foundation) for letting us participate for so many years.We hope to continue to exhibit our art and our artists as Canadians of Estonian heritage.

Mai R. Järve, President, February 18, 2000


Vaadates tagasi on 45 aastat Eesti Kunstnike Koondist Torontos Nelikümmend viis aastat tagasi, 15. mail 1956 tulid kokku 13 Eesti kunstnikku ja asutasid Toronto Vana-Andrese kiriku ruumides Eesti Kunsti Klubi Torontos (EKKT). Need 13 asutajaliiget olid Woldemar Päts (kes kirjutas põhikirja), Benita Vomm, Alice Kurs, Hilda Mikkelsaar, Ervin Milvek, Egon Vellesoo, Elmar Koppel, Abel Lee, Udo Leppik, Ants Vomm, Lia Lepik, Lembit Ränd, Joann Saarniit. Esimene esimees oli Abel Lee ja sekretär Richard Antik (1957-58). R. Antik oli ka palju aastaid kunstikriitik Toronto ajalehe juures "Meie Elu", Hannes Oja on olnud palju aastaid kunstikriitikuks ajalehe juures "Vaba Eestlane".

Toronto kunstinäitustele pani aluse hr. Hans Lupp, kes oli Toronto Eesti Seltsi esimees ja T.E.S. korraldas kolm kevadnäitust Vana-Andrese kiriku saalis juba enne, kui asutati EKKT.

Palju aastaid esinesid EKKT liikmed Peetri kiriku näitusesaalis.

Aastate jooksul on EKKT-l olnud mitmeid asukohti või klubiruume. Esimene neist oli aadressiga 105 King St. W., siis 301 King St. W., sealt edasi 81 Queen St. W., kuni 1965-1974 üüriti ruum Mirvish Village'is 594 Markham St. Seda ruumi kasutas tihti ka kunstnik Endel Kõks, kui ta Torontos käis.

EKKT korraldas oma algaastatel laste kunstinäituse ja paljud liikmed kasutasid ruume oma ühe-mehe näituste jaoks. Uks esimestest artiklitest, mis ilmus Toronto Globe & Mail'is viiekümnendatel aastatel, oli tuntud Kanada kirjaniku Lotta Dempsey-Fisher'i poolt, kes külastas EKKT klubiruumi koos abikaasa arhitekt Richard A. Fisher'iga. Hiljem, 1996.a. kirjutas nende pojanaine Carolyn Davis Fisher oma raamatus "The Lady Was a Star" ka EKKT-st.

EKKT teine esimees oli kunstikool "Pallase" lõpetanud kunstnik Benita Vomm ja kolmas esimees Eric Pehap (1961-1968), kes samuti lõpetas "Pallase" kunstikooli ja oli internatsionaalse kuulsusega graafik ja kunstnik. 1969.a. valiti Benita Vomm uuesti esimeheks, millist kohta ta pidas kuni 1990. aastani, kokku 25 aastat. Koondisel on õnne olnud kahe hea ja tööka sekretäri näol on Ants Erik Vomm oli EKKT kirjatoimetaja 27 aastat ja Erna Relvik 16 aastat kuni oma surmani 24. jaan. 2000.

Kui Mai Järve valiti koondise välis-sideks, hakkas EKKT oma näitusi korraldama suuremates Toronto keskustes, haarates sellega kaasa rohkem publikut Toronto suurest multikultuursest ühiskonnast.

1964.a. korraldati Eric Pehap'i juhtimise all III Eesti Päevade Kunstinäitus ja 1968.a. näitus "Eesti Kunst 1918-1968", kus oli esitatud 103 Eesti kunstniku ja nende töid.

1972.a. korraldas EKKT (esimees B. Vomm) I Ulemaailmse Eesti Päevade Kunstinäituse Tartu College'is, Torontos, kus külastajaid oli palju ja millele ilmus tuntud Kanada kunstikriitiku Kay Kritzwiser'i poolt väga hea kriitika Toronto suurajalehes The Globe & Mail (juulis 1972).

1984.a. korraldas EKKT Endel Kõksi nõuandel Pallase 65.a. juubelinäituse Toronto Eesti Maja Galeriis.Samal aastal korraldas EKKT "Salute to ESTO '84" kunstinäituse Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library's.

Neljakümne viie aasta jooksul on EKKT korraldanud iga-aastaseid näitusi, vahel ka kaks näitust aastas. On esinetud Uppsala College'is, New Jersey's (USA-s), Montrealis, Laurentian Ulikoolis, Sudbury's (Ont.), New Yorgis, Baltimore'is (Esto '76), International Galeriis, Stockholmis, Rootsis, Austraalias ja Eestis.

Paljud EKKT liikmed on saanud tunnustusi ja auhindu nii Kanadas kui ülemaailmselt.

1987.a. korraldas EKKT züriinäituse J.D. Carrier Galeriis, Columbus Centre'is, pühitsedes Kanada 40. Kodakondsuse juubelit. Tervitusi koondisele saadeti nii föderaal- kui provintsiesindajatelt.

24. sept. 1990.a. avati EKKT 35. juubeli züriinäitus Samuel J. Zacks Galeriis, York Ulikoolis, mis kestis kuni 31. oktoobrini. Pidulik avamine ja EKKT Art Album 1956-1990 ilmumine toimus rohke publiku osavõtul 25. septembril. Tervitusi ja sõnavõtte oli palju. Teadustajaks oli Jaak Järve, kohal olid ka Eesti filmimehed. 17. okt. filmis CFTO-TV näitust ja galeriis tehti intervjuu Mai Järvega. Züriisse kuulusid Kay Kritzwiser, dr. Igor Kuchinsky ja Christopher Hume. 30. okt. intervjueeris Eesti TV esimeest Benita Vommi ja Abel Leed ning ka teisi kohal olnud liikmeid.

5. nov. 1990 võttis Ontario kuberner Lincoln M. Alexander EKKT liikmeid vastu Queen's Park'is (Parlamendihoones) oma büroos, kus toimus EKKT 1956- 1990 Art Albumi üleandmine. Sellest võtsid osa Mai Järve, Hannes Oja (reporterina), Otto Rannamäe ja Siegfrid Veidenbaum.

1991.a. mais korraldati Erna Relviku nõuandel näitus EKKT liikmete poolt annetatud töödest Peetri kiriku näitusesaalis, et toetada Peetri Koguduse Lauluraamatu väljaandmist.

1992.a. toimus EKKT-l kaks näitust Northern District Raamatukogus on Stairwell Galeriis ja East York Civic Centre'is. Külaliskunstnikuna esines Ants Gross Eestist (Viljandist), kelle üks maal kingiti East York'i linnapeale hr. David Johnson'ile.

25. sept.-3. okt. 1993 toimus EKKT näitus "Toronto 200", pühitsedes linna kahesajandat juubelit. Seekord kingiti Ants Vommi õlimaal "60 Toronto linnapead" Toronto linnale, kus olid kujutatud kõik 60 linnapead, kes on Torontos olnud algusest kuni 1993. aastani. 60. linnapea oli June Rowlands. Kohal olid ka Toronto Ajalookomisjoni esindajad ja Toronto ArtsWeek'i esindaja, samuti East York'i linnapea Michael Prue.

1994.a. korraldas Ontario leitnant-kuberner Hal Jackman vastuvõtu Queen's Park'is (Parlamendihoones) ning anti välja Kanada Päeva tunnustusauhinnad. Sel aastal olid tunnustuse saajad Viivi Jaanimägi ja Otto Rannamäe.

EKKT 40. juubeli züriinäitus toimus Toronto Eesti Maja Galeriis, seda reklaamiti CBC TV-s ja avamisel oli kohal CFTO-TV. Tervitusi oli palju nii föderaal- kui provintsijuhtidelt. Linnanõunik hr. John Adams esindas Toronto linnapead Barbara Hall'i. Ilmus ka EKKT 40.a. juubelialbum ja toimus vastuvõtt kristallsaalis. Kaugemalt olid kohale sõitnud dr. Rein ja pr. Ene Silberberg (EKKT toetajaliikmed) Bethesda'st, Maryland'ist.

1996.a. augustist oktoobrini toimus EKKT grupinäitus Tallinnas, Kastellaanimaja Galeriis, see näitus oli ka ühenduses Esto '96 programmiga. EKKT grupinäitus oli esimene kõige suurem grupinäitus Põhja-Ameerikast uues Eesti Vabariigis. Näituse avamisel esindas koondist EKKT abiesimees Peeter Kaups, kohal olid Eesti Vabariigi kultuuriminister Jaak Allik, Eesti Kunstnike Liidu esimees Enn Põldroos, Eesti Kunstimuuseumi direktor Marika Valk, kuraator Mai Levin, Marina Asari Kanada Saatkonnast Tallinnas ja palju teisi külalisi. 9. aug. sõitis Riiast EKKT näitusele Kanada Charge D'Affaires hr. Gerald Skinner, teda võtsid vastu P. Kaups, M. Asari ja Elem Treier, galerii direktor. Näitust filmis Eesti TV, näidati seda üle Eesti ja rahvast käis näitusel rohkearvuliselt.

Tema Ekstsellents hr. Ernst Jaakson, Eesti konsul Ameerika Uhendriikides, saatis EKKT-le tervituse ja õnnesoovid selle suure näituse korraldamise puhul. Meie poolt suur tänu direktor Elem Treierile, kes meile kutse saatis ja igati abistas.

27. sept.-5. okt. 1997 korraldas EKKT züriinäituse "Kanada", pühitsedes Kanada 130. sünnipäeva ja Kanada 50. Kodakondsuse juubelit. Tervitusi oli rohkesti nii föderaal- kui provintsiesindajate poolt. Parlamendiliige Sarmite Bulte oli isiklikult kohal ja tõi tervitusi Kanada peaministrilt Jean Chretien'ilt. Järgnes vastuvõtt kristallsaalis, kus taustmuusikat mängis tuntud klaverikunstnik Armas Maiste.

Jaanuaris 1998 toimus Rutt Tulvingu loeng "50 a. kunsti tänapäevani" koos valguspiltidega. EKKT liikmed annetasid töid loteriile, et toetada Narva kooli (Eestis) ja Eesti Maja Köögi Fondi (Torontos).

Veebruaris 1998 korraldas EKKT Eesti Vabariigi 80.a. juubeli puhul kunstinäituse, aupatroonideks olid E.V. suursaadik USA-s, Kanadas ja Mehhikos Grigore Kalev Stoicescu ja E.V. aupeakonsul Kanadas Ilmar Heinsoo.

Sama aasta sügisel toimus iga-aastane näitus, kus avakõne oli Eesti Liit Kanadas esimehelt Heli Kopti'lt. Mõlemal näitusel oli külastajaid rohkesti.

24.-27. sept. 1999 oli EKKT-l kahekümnenda sajandi viimane näitus. Avakõne pidas pr. Helju Salumets, Eesti Invaliide Toetav Naisring Torontos esimees. Tervitusi olid saatnud Ontario leitnant-kuberner Hilary Weston ja kunstnik Harry Nurmet Oregon'ist, Illinois'ist. Toronto linnanõunik Michael Prue tervitas külalisi ja EKKT liige Elva Palo kinkis omalt poolt E.V. aupeakonsul Ilmar Heinsoole tänutäheks oma maali. See oli EKKT-l küm-nes aasta võtta osa Toronto Kunstinädalast (Toronto ArtsWeek'ist).

45 aasta jooksul on EKKT trükkinud kolm kunstialbumit, praegune on neljas. EKKT 1956-1990 albumeid ja 40. juubelialbumeid oleme saatnud üle maailma muuseumitele, ülikoolidele ja pearaamatukogudele. Oleme saanud väga palju tunnustuskirju üle maailma. Meie näitustest on kirjutatud Toronto Star'is, The Globe & Mail'is, Meie Elus, Vaba Eestlases, North York Times'is, Vaba Eesti Sõnas, Teatajas, Ohtulehes, Päevalehes, Sakalas jne. Meie näitusi on nende aastate jooksul külastanud tuhanded inimesed. EKKT-l on külalisraamat, kuhu on paljud sisse kirjutanud, nende hulgas ka lapsed, kes EKKT algaastail külastasid näitusi koos vanematega. Nemad käivad meie näitustel nüüd oma laste ja lastelastega.

Mitmed meie asutajaliikmed on läinud manalasse, kuid uusi liikmeid on juurde tulnud ja praegu on EKKT kõige suurem Eesti päritolu kujutav-kunstnike organisatsioon Põhja-Ameerikas. Paljud on nüüd Kanada kodanikud ja on uusi liikmeid, kes on Kanadas sündinud. Meie vanim liige on Richard Sööt (sünd. 13. aprillil 1903), vanuselt teine on EKKT auliige Benita Vomm (sünd. 28. juulil 1908) ja kolmas Harry Nurmet (sünd. 25. aprillil 1909). EKKT-l on kaks liiget, kes on järjekindlalt kõigil EKKT näitustel esinenud ja on mõlemad ka asutajaliikmed, need on Ants Erik Vomm ja Benita Miralda Vomm (s. Mölder).

Teise generatsiooni kunstnikke on meil: Margi Taylor-Self (tema isa on Peeter Kaups), Arne Roosman (isa oli kunstnik Axel Roosman), Rutt Tulving (ema oli kunstnik Hilda Mikkelsaar). Abel Lee'l on poeg Margus Lee ja Riho Pild'il poeg David Pild, kes on mõlemad varem esinenud EKKT näitustel.

Meie paljusid liikmeid on tunnustatud vabatahtliku töö eest Ontario Kodakondsus- ja Kultuuriministeeriumi poolt, samuti on pälvitud Kanada Päeva tunnustusauhindu Toronto Raekojast ja Parlamendihoonest (Queen's Park'ist). Liikmetel on erinevaid kunstikoolitusi erinevatelt maadelt, osa on iseõppinud, osa privaatselt, osa lõpetanud kunstikoolid. EKKT-l on neli auliiget, need on: tuntud Kanada kunstikriitik Kay Kritzwiser, E.V. aupeakonsul Ilmar Heinsoo, Eesti Sihtkapital Kanadas esimees ja esimeste näituste korraldaja Torontos hr. Hans Lupp ja endine EKKT esimees (25 aastat) Benita M. Vomm. Kaks auliiget on manalasse läinud, skulptor Rudolf Saaring ja ajakirjanik-autor Siegfrid Veidenbaum.

Uuel millenniumil on aastal 2000 korraldab EKKT esto2000 Uldkunstinäituse Toronto Eesti Maja galeriis 8. juulist-16. juulini ja EKKT 45.a. Juubelinäituse 22. septembrist-1. oktoobrini.

Oleme Visual Arts Ontario liikmed. Meie näitused on viimaste aastate jooksul muutunud iga aastaga üha rohkem populaarsemaks. Oleme tänulikud kõigile, kes meie näitusi on külastanud ja toetanud. Oleme tänulikud Kanada riigile, kus meil on olnud nende aastate jooksul vabadus luua ja endid vabalt väljendada. Täname Toronto ArtsWeek'i, kus meil on võimaldatud esineda kümne aasta jooksul. Loodame edasi tegutseda vabade kunstnikena, korraldada näitusi ja tutvustada Eesti päritoluga kunstnike loomingut.

Mai R. Järve (s. Vomm), EKKT esimees, 18. veebruar 2000