OGDEN — Arts International is celebrating its 50th year next month with a Founder’s Day dinner at the Ogden Golf and Country Club.
The group’s founder, Faye Shirra, started the group in 1961, shortly after moving to Utah from Australia.
“I really wanted to create a women’s group that would be self-developing,” she said. “I wanted it to have many different areas of interests that included international interests.”
Shirra called a few friends who agreed to be part of the group.
“We started off small. There were 14 of us,” she said. “Today the group has 30 members plus a waiting list.”
The purpose of the group is to create interest and understanding among its members in the fields of politics, science, art, culture, fashion and decoration for the purpose of self improvement.
“We learned about sculpture, architecture, education, literature, drama, fashion trends, current affairs,” she said. “Although the group is not an international group, I used the word international because I wanted it to have that feel to it. I wanted us to learn about international things.”
Shirra said over the years, the women have met at the home of a member every first Monday of each month. The group has enjoyed listening to speakers in all capacities.
“We had legislators come and talk, we held fashion shows, learned the etiquette of different countries,” she said. “We even had a gold necklace created for the group.”
Shirra said she’s impressed the group has lasted so long and hopes to see it go another 50 years.
“It’s very amazing and says a lot about the group. The women are very well-educated. Some of them are school teachers, some have master’s degrees,” she said. “Every time I went, I learned something from each of those women.”
Shirra herself was a ladies hat designer, handwriting analyst, executive director of the March of Dimes who created the annual Walk-A-Thon and a Million Dollar Club Realtor.
Shirra isn’t as involved with the group as she was in the past, but said it has evolved in such a way it can carry on without her. The current president of the group is Roberta West.
“They’re doing very well,” she said. “They all are fun to be with. We enjoy each other’s company. I really enjoyed their sense of humor. It’s a great group. That’s why there’s a waiting list.”