A BRIEF HISTORY OF DUNFERMLINE ART CLUB – FOUNDED 1883
An article in the Dunfermline Press from Saturday 23 March 1883 reported “A meeting of gentlemen called together by circular for the purpose of forming a Fine Art Association for the town and district was held in the committee rooms of St. Margaret’s Hall, Dunfermline on 22nd March 1883. It was agreed that a committee should be appointed to carry out preliminary arrangements as to the constitution, rules, place and time of exhibitions etc. Provost Walls, W. Inglis (Baillie) John Smith (Banker) Andrew Blair (Landscape painter) George Robertson (Draper) and John Lawson (Designer) were elected”. As a result of this meeting The Dunfermline Fine Art Society (now known as Dunfermline Art Club) was formed.
The Club’s first exhibition was opened on the 1st of December 1883 by the Honorary President Lord Elgin, and the show ran until the 18th of January 1884. For this launch, the Carnegie swimming pool was turned into a temporary gallery, with the pool covered by flooring and the gallery illuminated by special gas lighting. The works of a number of well-known artists were shown, together with those of 30 local artists. A total of almost 800 works were exhibited.
With only a short break during World War ll the Art Club continued to encourage and support amateur art in the community. For many years the Club has held an Annual Exhibition of Members’ work and there have been a number of exhibition venues including: 3 Randolph street (1910,1911), Abbey Park Place (1920,1921), Abbot House (1932,1934,1935), Canmore Congregational Church Hall (1950,1952) and more recently, the Kingsgate Shopping Centre.
In 1953 new studio premises were acquired at 68 New Row and thereafter the former Music Institute was made available to the Club from the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust who owned the building. Today, the club has around 70 members who make full use of the dedicated studio premises in the basement of Townhill Community Centre. Anyone over 18 years of age, who has an interest in art is welcome to join the club.