The LLAL roots began on March 10, 1963, at the home of Erma Van Vickle. A group of art enthusiasts gathered to discuss organizing and forming an art study group. Thus, the Walker Art Club was born.
The founding members of the organization include Ruby Ebaugh, Christine Hammergren, Ellen Holm, Kathryn Larson, Maude Orton, Gladys Peterson, Lucy Phau, Goldie Rucker and Erma Van Vickle. Most members were students of Gary Sheaham, well-known, retired artist from the Chicago area who taught oil and watercolor at the Arts and Crafts building in Walker.
Club members bounced ideas off one another and gave each other lessons in watercolor and acrylic. The artists entered various shows including the Hawley Art Show and the Midwest Watercolor Show at the Tweed Gallery in Duluth. It was not uncommon that members were presented awards during the shows. The club's first annual, local art show was held in the mid 1960s.
In 1975, membership numbers increased and The Walker Art Club was renamed the Leech Lake Art League, and bylaws were formed. And so it stands today, over 50 years later, the Leech Lake Art League.
The Leech Lake Art League has successfully held annual summer art shows showcasing the favored works of the groups worldly artists. This summer, LLAL is celebrating 52 years of visual arts with its annual show in Walker.
Art is merely a topic of conversation without a community. Enthusiasm for art is everything that the 40 member Leech Lake Art League portrays. Art is a creative outlet more than just a hobby. Members creations are inspired by their surroundings and places they have traveled. The northern woods of Minnesota play a large role in the work of many LLAL artists.
The subject matter of the pieces members create are as diverse as the individuals who create them. Just as the monarch butterflies migrate south for the winter, many LLAL artists live in warmer climates during the winters where they take art classes and enjoy the sunshine. Most members also belong to art groups in various locations across the U.S. Each artist feels that being a part of art groups enhances inspiration, styles and use of mediums. Having vast experiences of many cultures, the pieces that these northern artists produce give worldly ideals and depth.
What We've Achieved
- Give scholarships to graduating WHA High School students who choose to pursue a career in the arts.
- Opportunities for student artists to display their work.
- Provide the Walker community the opportunity to attend a fine arts show.
- Create a space for ALL artists to thrive.