By Space Living magazine in 2001

From Spacecoast Living Magazine

The Guild

For almost 40 years people who love to draw and paint have come together here to enjoy what they do. This is a non-elitist group, a special place for special people. With a wait of well over a year for membership, its long-standing and continuing success is attributed to informality, a minimum of rules and mutual respect.

In the 25,000 square-foot, top-floor loft of the The Arcade on a typical Saturday morning you’ll find a dozen or so individuals working from a portrait model. They are a diverse group: an MFA who has painted all her life, founded a major Brevard County art show and won many top awards, a career graphic artist who took up painting just three years ago, a nationally known portrait painter, an advanced teenage artist, a retired science teacher, a young man who lost his vision for several months from sun exposure who now wants to spend the rest of his life painting.

For almost 40 years people who love to draw and paint have come together here to enjoy what they do. This is a non-elitist group, a special place for special people.

Here is pure “art for arts sake” and quiet time for creativity. In this very informal organization a bulletin board announces who’s posing and every one pitches in to do whatever needs to be done. Members contribute based on their predilections: a box of clippings, postcards and exhibit brochures; exotic and commonplace props; cleaning; refurbishing; refreshments for a session.

There are 45 members and a long waiting list. An artist must be nominated for membership by a current member in good standing but only after they’ve attended as a guest at least ten times. There is little friction as members, who must work shoulder to shoulder, practice instinctive courtesy and keep out issues and egos.

Ask about the Guild’s history and you’ll hear the names of many of the best-known artists in Brevard, a little fuzziness on exact dates, and, most notably, a tone of genuine affection. One member called it “our attic.” “I may have been the group’s first secretary. I couldn’t come for two periods in my life: while I had small children and again when I moved away. But now happily, I’m back.” Each Thursday from 8 to 20 artists come to The Guild to draw quickly as the nude model constantly changes position. A member explains: “This kind of drawing is intended to improve your skill in your craft- like practicing scales for a musician or hitting balls for a golfer- to get better by repetition. In each artist’s life art and craft run parallel like railroad tracks. But once in a while one will get ahead of the other. The individual artist then needs to bring the lagging one up to speed. Mastery of craft gives the artist more power to express ideas. All the brilliant ideas in the world won’t do any good if an artist does not have the skills to express them.” The Art Student’s Guild – the original name reflected the founding members’ belief that they were perpetual students- is now called The Artist’s Guild, or simply, The Guild.

Tasgob