The History of the Wongan Arts Society Exhibitions began around 1967 when it was bought to the attention of the Wongan Ballidu Shire that there was no painting from this Shire hanging in Parliament house. Council decided to deputise Mrs Morva Davey to make inquiries amongst local artists living in the district to try and find a painting suitable for presentation to Parliament house.
The Wongan Ballidu Shire arranged the first Art Exhibition which was held on the 5th of July 1968 in the Wongan CWA rooms to foster the interest in arts locally.
At the first Exhibition the Minister for Education and native affairs Mr Edgar Lewis MLA was present and the senior member of the state art gallery accompanied him.
As a result of this Exhibition the Shire purchased a painting Painted by Mrs Barbara King and presented it to Parliament house.
Because of the outstanding success of this Exhibition it was moved by council that the Exhibitions become an annual event sponsored by council with the assistance of other groups.
The Exhibitions were held in various locations such as the Police and Citizens youth club, Wongan Ballidu Museum and the Old Shire Hall.
Exhibitions held in the old hall were mounted with difficulty, the floor had deteriorated, swallows nested above in the rafters and the displays where arranged with a lot of difficulty.
In 1971 the Wongan Arts Society was inaugurated with Mrs M Davey elected as president.
The society assisted the Shire with the next Exhibition and in 1972 the Shire handed the organisation of the Exhibitions over to the Wongan Arts Society.
The exhibition were run annually for 10 years then they became Biennial in nature.
Although the Exhibitions remain Biennial in nature the scope of the Exhibitions has increased to include a number of arts in various mediums, photography and craft in the different mediums as well as incorporating Guest Artists and demonstrators.
The art section covers categories in printing portraiture, sculpture, painting drawing and the craft section covers works in most mediums including works in wood, metal, Jewellery, glass, ceramics, fibre and any other medium
The local Schools from the Shire and surrounding district mount a display at each exhibition.
Prize money for the Exhibition has increased to around $6500.00 which includes prizes for school children.
Artist that have feature in past Exhibition are Leon Perricles, Ian Hill, Hans Van Vorst, Christine Hunt, Phillipa Niculinski, Lesley Barrett, Suzanne Smith, Richard Apel.
Some of the distinguished persons that have opened the Exhibitions are Sir Paul Hasluck the then Gov of Australia, Ann Conti, John Hansen, the then director of the Churchill Gallery, Keith Sinclair then the director of the West Australia Arts Council, John Sanders, yachting Triple circumnavigator of the world, Max Jenkin, Shire Councillor, Life member and benefactor of the Arts Society, Pat Barrett-Lennard , Mr Campbell then director of Art/Craft in the Education Department and Phillipa Niculinski a renowned painter of native flora.
In 2008 the Wongan Arts Society celebrated their 25th anniversary Exhibition which has grown in statue from when the first Exhibitions were instigated back in 1967. They have become well known throughout WA and attract many renowned artists and entrants biennially.