The Rotary Club Meeting

The Club Meets Here  - Thomas Kincade - 1990

This article appeared in the Rotary News Basket, November 2, 1994:    
The world's newest Rotary club, officially one day old today, owes its existence to a painting.
R.I. President Bill Huntley presented the new 31-member club with its charter Tuesday evening in Long Grove, Illinois. The painting which led to formation c7b of the Rotary Club of Long Grove was created by Thomas Kinkade, a contemporary artist recognized for his nostalgic paintings of Americana. In his picture titled The Rotary Club Meeting, Kinkade depicted a scene outside a country inn where members of an unidentified Rotary club are arriving for the meeting announced on a sign bearing a large Rotary emblem. Automobiles and a pickup truck of 1920s and '30s vintage are parked in front of the inn.
About a year ago, the original oil painting, valued at $40,000, was on display in a Long Grove art gallery owned by Thomas Hilligoss. Jim Runnfeldt, a member of the Rotary Club of nearby Wilmette, happened to see the picture at the Hilligoss studio and suggested an ideal opportunity for the gallery owner to display it at a special five-club meeting that was scheduled soon.
Hilligoss agreed and personally brought the painting to the meeting. He stayed on for the program and was caught up in what he heard about Rotary's humanitarian purposes.  He and Runnfeldt determined to charter a club in Long Grove.  The results: a first provisional club meeting on June 14, 1994 the recruitment of 31 club members, and finally the charter night celebration this week.
To recognize the special role that The Rotary Club Meeting played in the birth of the club, Jim Runnfeldt made special arrangements with the publisher of prints, for the painting to appear on the charter night printed program.