A painting by Albert P. Murrow, circa 1965, of the building at 801 Palmetto Park Road that first housed the Boca Raton Museum of Art and was the Artists’ Guild’s first home. It’s now the Museum Art School.
By Lucy Lazarony
Back in 1950, a group of socially active women in Boca Raton formed a civic club with the aim of building their small city a library. They held an arts and crafts fair in the city’s original town hall, and when more than 1,000 people showed up, the Artists’ Guild was born.
“I always underscore that this is a museum founded by artists,” says Irvin Lippman, executive director of the Boca Raton Museum of Art. “It makes it very distinctive. When you’re founded by artists, it really underscores the importance of working artists.”
The Boca Raton Museum of Art is celebrating the Artists’ Guild 65th anniversary with an exhibition at the museum’s Wolgin Gallery through Dec. 13.
The juried exhibition of art by guild members kicked off on Oct. 29 with a backyard bash featuring food trucks, craft wine and beer, live rock and surf music and a birthday cake.
“It celebrates the creativity we know is here in South Florida, particularly in Boca Raton,” Lippman says of the exhibition and birthday bash.
And it was the creativity, passion and dedication of Guild artists all those years ago that led to the creation of the Boca Raton Museum of Art and The Art School.
After 1950, Artists’ Guild exhibits were held at the Boca Raton Hotel & Club. And in the early 1960s, land lots were purchased and one was donated in Boca Raton’s Old Floresta neighborhood. This campus-style facility was completed in 1962, and became the site of the Boca Raton Museum of Art in 1983, with classrooms for teaching as well as exhibition space.
In 2001, the Boca Raton Museum of Art opened a new 44,000-square-foot facility in Mizner Park, and The Art School took over the Old Floresta location. Guild members continued to create and display their art in exhibition spaces around Boca Raton.
In 2008, the Artists’ Guild moved to 512 E. Atlantic Ave. in downtown Delray Beach (for a better location and traffic) and opened the Artists’ Guild Gallery.
“The space is beautiful,” says John Frazee, a participating signature member of the Artists’ Guild and the gallery’s director. “Every time, I finish a painting I take it to the Guild.”
The Guild’s 287 members create art in oils, pastels, acrylics, mixed media, wood, glass, metal bronze, stone, clay, collage, plus photography and digital imagery.
“Many of the signature artists who have work in this gallery can regularly sell pieces in oil painting, watercolors, lithograph and sculpture,” says Mike Gora, president of the Artists’ Guild. “And some of the transactions are up to $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, $4,000.”
A photographer who took classes at the museum’s Art School before joining the Artists’ Guild, Gora says artists in the Guild learn from and support each other.
“All artists want to improve their art and one of the ways to do that is observe other people who share genres of work,” Gora says.
Each month, the gallery presents juried shows of original art by signature members of the Artists’ Guild. Award winners are announced at opening receptions with live music and food and wine, and the public is welcome.
The first opening of the season was Nov. 5., and an opening and holiday party are planned from 6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 10.
“The camaraderie is wonderful,” says Teresa Frazee, a participating signature member of the Artists’ Guild since 2008.
“You get to network and be with fellow artists, like-minded people. It’s very rewarding and interesting. Being around creative people is always stimulating.”
Juried shows by Artists’ Guild members also can be seen at the Living Room Theaters at Florida Atlantic University and at Boca Raton Community High School.
For more information on the Artists’ Guild, call 278-7877 or visit www.bocaguild.com.