A Community of Creatives
History of SOYRA
The Society of York Region Artists is a non-profit organization based in Aurora, Ontario run entirely by volunteers.
SOYRA was founded on September 9, 1987 by Bill Lewochko, Lynn Daly, Amanda Purvis, Evelyn Leskiewicz, Mark Philpott, BettySmall and Gary Gatti.
At first, originating with only a dozen artist members, this groundbreaking group from Holland Landing, Ontario, was keen to share their passion for the arts and learning. The goal was to provide a forum for artists of all levels to exchange ideas, opinions and assist each other in the advancement of their artistic goals.
Since then, SOYRA has been a key arts organization. It includes all nine municipalities (Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughn and Whitchurch-Stouffville) belonging to the Regional Municipality of York. SOYRA has grown leaps and bounds since it began, having over 100 members at any given time.
Today, all levels of artist are welcome. SOYRA encourages artist to make connections with other likeminded creatives and learn from each other in the process.
SOYRA represents artists working in all media. Members work in Oils, Watercolour, Acrylic, Mixed Media, Photography, Alternate Media, Sculpture and Illustration.
Our members are inspired to learn through taking part and volunteering in annual art shows and exhibitions, field trips, plein air activities, peer group discussions, workshops and monthly Members Meeting presentations by recognized art professionals.
Bill Lewochko and Amanda Purvis - 1988
New art organization SOYRA logo design challenge
In 2012, to mark SOYRA's 25th year, a modern logo was unveiled. It was designed by SOYRA member Jennifer Blacquirere and remains SOYRA's current logo.