A brief history of the Pumphouse Artists
Every morning during the summer of 2001, Mary Thompson walked along the Grimsby shoreline and dreamed of bringing life back to the old pumphouse. Since the waterworks had been replaced in 1998 by a new facility, the pumphouse had sat empty and forlorn. When the idea struck, she moved quickly; wrote a letter to the town, and received a "yes" — the town agreed that the building could be used for an art group. The town had been thinking of tearing the building down, but decided to renovate instead. Wendy, a councilwoman, said she would attend, help with the plans, and be there for the opening.
Mary's next move was to call a meeting on October 3rd of the artists who had been painting in her basement every Wednesday for years. Mary had been an art mentor, a "guide on the side," providing many opportunities for individual growth to the Lakeside Artists.
Her idea caught fire. At a meeting on October 11 at Margaret McClory's home, they voted to call themselves the Grimsby Pumphouse Artists' Association and voted in an executive with Joyce Richardson as the first President and newsletter editor. It was this group that dealt with organizational considerations.
They decided the president would get the key; meetings would be every Wednesday afternoon; with a Saturday workshops each season, demonstrations, art shows, refreshments, and cleanup duties. They purchased mugs and kettles, while Mary and Joyce bought the cupboard to house the supplies along with the library books and videos. Originally, there were nine people involved, 21 members joined the Association and 18 more by spring of the first year. Fees were then $10 with a $2 weekly cover charge.
Their first workshops featured Julie Snider, America Del Col and Jack Reid. Demonstrations were given by Jim Knighton, Mary Thompson and Pat McGuire. A Christmas Wine and Cheese started what is now a beloved tradition as the Christmas Social, and plans were underway for another with a summer social.
After consultating with the St. Catharines and Pelham Art Associations, Joyce Richardson created our first constitution, which she submitted to the executive for approval. A bank account had to be opened and new operating procedures in place. Another important aspect of her job was to notify the community of the Association's existence, which she accomplished by speaking at the meetings of other groups, such as Garden Club, Historical Society, Anglers and Hunters at their meetings. Ads were placed in the local paper, and Joyce convinced the editor of the Grimsby newpaper to highlight individual artists; which ran as individual articles on each of the twenty-nine members.
Now we have a membership of over 70, and a widening reputation thanks to:
- the website established in January 2011, and our Facebook page in 2017
- the many liaisons with other galleries such as the Grimsby Public Art Gallery, McMaster Inovation Park, and the Hamilton Art Gallery
- reputable shows of our own and at the GPAG and Etobicoke Community Centre
- the reputation of our own membership with their winning exhibits
Founding Members — Elsie Baster, Eileen Bird, Barb Blake, Joyce Carter, Dennis Chilton, Judy Davidson, Shirley Dolby, Laurie Hamerton, Jim Knighton, Carol Lee, Diane McChesney, Marg McClory, Jean McDermid, Pat McGuire, Sharon Mogridge, Jane Perrin, Wendy Quirk-Begin, Joyce Richardson, Lois O'Sullivan, Mary Thompson, Sofia Vuorinen.
First Executive — President: Joyce Richardson; Vice President: Mary Thompson; Secretary: Wendy Quirk-Begin; Treasurer: Sofia Vuorinen
Committees — Telephone: Marg McClory, Pat McGuire, Jane Perrin, Mary Thompson; Newsletter: Dennis Chilton, Pat McGuire, Wendy Quirk-Begin, Joyce Richardson; Library: Shirley Dolby
— Based on original written by Joan Morse
To read more about the history of the Pumphouse building, CLICK HERE