The Arts Society is the operating name of  The National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (“NADFAS”). NADFAS is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. 

It is registered with Companies House (no. 4307984), the Charity Commission (no. 1089743) and the Office of Scottish Charities (no. SC039240).

Charitable Objects

The promotion and advancement of the education of the public in the cultivation, appreciation and study of the decorative and fine arts; the conservation and preservation of the artistic heritage of the United Kingdom and other countries for the benefit of the public; and the advancement of the arts, culture and heritage, in particular, but without limitation, the decorative and fine arts.


In March 2016 the Trustee Board agreed on a repositioning to create a more proactive and outward-facing organisation in the arts and heritage sector with greater influence in promoting accessible arts education. 

The identity, values and mission of The Arts Society have been defined to further our charitable objects and accelerate and improve the delivery of our programmes in education, volunteering and grant-giving. 

In order to achieve this we have embarked on a programme of transformation aimed at fulfilling our four key strategic objectives: 

/ membership growth 
improving communication 
widening our education remit 
greater sustainability and capacity building 

These objectives form part of a new 5 year strategic framework. Our work now and over the coming years is focused on delivering these objectives through modernisation, recruitment and growth initiatives, improved public relations and an outward-facing audience development strategy. 


  1. Membership growth 

    This requires us to ensure that we increase the number of Members in our Societies to more than 100,000 by 2021 and form meaningful relationships with external audiences in excess of 200,000. It requires us to deliver services and content that will attract and engage people over an extended period through arts education, volunteering and grant giving and generating new sources of income to support our charitable objectives. 

  2. Improving communication and support 

    This requires us to focus on how we support and communicate with our Members, member Societies and existing stakeholders as well as new audiences and the wider public. It requires us to acknowledge that communication is at the heart of our operations but equally a vital part of our ambition to connect with people outside The Arts Society, engaging with cultural, business and community partners in the UK and across the world. 

  3. Widening our education remit 

    This requires us to review and expand our activities in arts education and skills development to a recognised ‘assay mark’ standard. It requires us to refresh the Directory with new lecturers and new titles, to broaden the range of arts we include in our programmes and to consider new audiences. It also requires us to include volunteering and grant-giving within our educational remit to promote arts and heritage skills development at the highest level for public benefit.

  4. Greater sustainability and capacity building 

    This requires us to consider the economic health and business performance of The Arts Society and its Societies in order to be able to retain our position as a leading provider and supporter of cultural excellence. It requires us to take action and to define clear commercial goals for sustainable business, such as revenue growth, increasing customer loyalty, reducing risks and lowering costs. 

    Implementing the 5 year strategic plan will commence in 2017 and is now in the first stage. Funds have been set aside, from designated funds and surplus reserves, to support our new strategies. 

    We will also actively seek external funding from trusts and foundations as well as individual giving to enable us to deliver our strategy across a wider section of society and through additional education offers. 


The Arts Society means the fun of friendship, the stimulus of learning and the satisfaction of volunteering. It also means adhering to Charity Commission requirements, maintaining good standards of governance and a sound financial structure.


The Arts Society is an international organisation supporting nearly 400 Member Societies in the UK and abroad. 

Member Societies

Each Member Society is run by a volunteer committee that manages the Society's affairs. In turn, Member Societies all belong to a local Area. Areas are run by teams, headed by an Area Chairman who reports to the Chief Executive of the National Association.

The Trustee Board

The Trustee Board is responsible for leading The Arts Society and decides on matters of policy, strategy and finance, while setting the objectives for the Chief Executive and Management Team. It is headed by the National Chairman - assisted by the National Vice-Chairman and Honorary Treasurer. The Board consists of Trustees elected by the membership and supported by additional Trustees co-opted for their skills. No Trustee may serve for more than two consecutive three-year terms.  

Area Meetings

Twice a year Society representatives meet to discuss views and raise concerns. The Area Chair and his/her team are also responsible for the pastoral care of the Societies within their Area

Staff at The Arts Society

The day-to-day running of the Association is administered by the Chief Executive and a small paid staff, who work closely with volunteers.


The Arts Society's AGM usually takes place in the month of May.  This year it was held on 24th May 2023 at St George's Bristol.  It was also live-streamed via Zoom.

The Zoom recording can be found here.

The AGM minutes can be found here