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The website of the National Acrylic Painters’ Association.  A non-profit making group organised by artists for artists
National Acrylic Painters’ Association
A Tribute to Kenneth Jonah Hodgson. The funeral of Ken Hodgson (Founder of NAPA) took place on Monday 12th June at Emmanuel Church on the Wirral. I attended the funeral and along with others paid a vocal tribute to Ken. These tributes revealed a person who had an influence on many people’s lives from very diverse backgrounds. The chief mourners were his daughters Kathryn and Louise along with their husbands. Anthony Gribbin and his wife, Wendy and Mike Hatjoulis were also at the funeral. The church was full and the service was a true celebration of Ken’s life. I first met Ken over twenty-five years ago at a party, where I was introduced to him and he asked me if I painted in acrylics.  I didn’t, but sensing an opportunity, I said that I did. “Good,” came the reply and then a second question “Do you want to join NAPA?”  I had never heard of NAPA and had no idea what the acronym meant. “Yes” I replied, and my long-term friendship with Ken began. When I joined NAPA, there were only about a dozen or so artist in the group. The first exhibitions were local shows, gradually spreading out into the North West of England. Ken was very good at getting people involved in NAPA, but he did the majority of the organising himself, including finding sponsors for the prizes. Some of these companies still offer sponsorship for the NAPA shows today. For some years the NAPA annual show was held at the The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Gallery. Work was delivered on the Sunday morning, hung, prizes awarded, and opened in the afternoon. A very enjoyable but hectic day.  Ken always wanted to move the NAPA annual exhibition around the country, and over the years we have had exhibitions in Durham, Whitby Bay, London, Cardiff, North Wales, The Wirral, Liverpool, Chichester and St Ives. NAPA is an international association, with members in a number of countries. There is a branch in America, which is quite separate from NAPA in the UK. However, they acknowledge their roots in the Association that Ken founded. UK NAPA members have in the past also exhibited in America. NAPA meant many things to Ken. However, none was more important than a sense of fellowship. This will not come as a surprise to those who knew that Ken was an ordained Church of England priest. He also served as a Chaplin in the RAF.  At one time, he was urged by a mutual friend to turn NAPA into a business. Ken always resisted this suggestion. The idea that NAPA could provide support, an opportunity to exhibit, to belong to an association that had a status in the art world, and occasionally meet other artists, was for him far more important than making a profit. He said to me that his aim was to encourage people to do their best. He wanted an association for artists run by artists. Ken was very much his own man. He came to my house each week for a meal and a glass or two of wine. This arrangement carried on for more or less twenty years. Over this period, I got to know Ken (he also got to know me) fairly well. Ken was not a confrontational person. We would have disagreements about what was best for NAPA, I would put my point and Ken would listen. Then he would go away and do exactly what he thought best. It took me quite a while to realise this particular ‘quality’ in Ken. Towards the end of his life. I would take him for lunch to a little café in New Brighton. Because of his illness the visits became fewer and fewer. However, he always got a great welcome from the staff when we turned up for lunch.  People had a real affection for Ken. Ken appeared as a quiet mannered, self-effacing person. This belied his determination, talents and what will be his lasting legacy. It is no small achievement to be the founder of an international art association. Ken’s achievements will live on in the work of NAPA and its artists. Alan Edwards. June 2017.
Kenneth J Hodgson      1936 - 2017