Three Gimli, Manitoba residents, Rosalie Dixon, June Valgardson and Ann Rudd were the driving forces behind the establishment of a group of local artists in 1969. It was their desire to establish a group of artists that would create an environment of exploration, learning and support for one another while they developed their skills.
On April 14, 1969 the first meeting was held and 32 people enrolled as the first members. The first class was held April 21, 1969 in the George Johnson Elementary School. In 1972 the R.M. and Town of Gimli Development Corporation donated the use of a small building on the waterfront area where the group met once a week. Membership grew steadily and the need for a larger building arose. Tremendous dedication and an exceptional amount of work done by the members and community volunteers made the addition of a new building possible. Fund raising and financial assistance from area Government agencies enabled the Club to build the addition and upgrade the old facilities. This extra space for the growing Club was opened in 1983.
The Gimli Art Club has endeavoured to enrich the lives of area residents by providing exposure to and appreciation of the visual arts. In the beginning years each July, an art show was held in the building's Gallery. It attracted hundreds for the annual event. The Club has actively participated in local events contributing where they can to the advancement of the arts experience and the community as a whole.
In 1997 the first strokes of paint were applied to the start of the 977 foot Seawall structure in the harbour. This was the beginning of a commitment from the member artists to beautify the harbour by painting colourful murals that portrayed history and events from our Interlake area. This Mural Gallery has become a unique and well-known landmark and is visited by tourists from around the globe. The long-awaited Seawall Gallery Book published in 2009, marked the Club's 40th Anniversary, and an addendum is being published to reflect paintings done since.
It is the intent of the Gimli Art Club to leave a legacy to the residents through their community participation. Over 50 years of dedication and hard work have been rewarded with pride and the satisfaction of making a contribution to the community.