In 2007 The Wickenburg Art Club celebrates its 43rd year. We were organized formally on November 23, 1964. Our long association with February’s Gold Rush Days actually began before the Club was formed when Chuck Brown was asked to chair an art show for the 1961 event. That first show was held in the parking lot next to what is now Ben’s Saddlery on Tegner Street. In 1964 the Gold Rush Art Show was held on the American Legion lawn where one hundred paintings were exhibited. It moved to its present location in and around the Wickenburg Library in 1971 and has grown in size and professionalism. Our volunteers expend a lot of energy and hours planning the 3-day event each year.
Over the years the art club members have met in many locations from Beefeater’s Hall to Coffinger Park to the Community Center’s banquet room to our current club-owned building.
In November 2001, we used $65,500 to purchase property at 188 S. Tegner Street that had previously served as an Assembly of God church. Innumerable volunteer-hours have made the studio useful to our artists who wish to learn, work, and enjoy the camaraderie of other artists. During the summer of 2002, the building was given a southwest façade. In addition, it has had many improvements that have enhanced its value. A total of $54,115 has been expended on all building improvements since buying the building. The most expensive upgrades have been a new gas heat and electric cooling unit ($4785); facade remodel and roof repair ($9000); low-volt lights installation in the foyer ($913), floor tiling ($839); studio track lighting ($500), studio ceiling painting ($589); electrical rewiring ($6724); library and back room roofing ($1513) and new swamp cooler installation ($1300). The County recently assessed the property at $223,904. Wow!
Energetic and innovative volunteers have implemented new activities that use our building. We have had “Artists at Work” and “Open House” events. In February 2005, Walt and Dolores Eckes organized the first Fine Art Festival. This is held the week preceding and during Gold Rush Days. In 2005, Dave Hill planned the first monthly plein air outing. We have our own research library, a kiln and clay tools, and mat cutting capabilities. Possibilities are endless. For more information, check out our web site at www.wickenburgartclub.org.