The origins of the Artisans' Guild Gallery go back to October 1970, a time when there were few opportunities for local artists and crafts people to display and market their work. Miriam Greenfield, a local potter, teamed with Jim Brown, a University of Florida economics and sociology professor, and author of a book entitled The Troika Incident (about cooperative artisans' markets), to brainstorm the concept of a Gainesville artisans cooperative. Other local artists were asked to join in the discussion and soon, the local "Artisans' Guild" was born.
The initial core of 27 artists came together to create the gallery. Requirements for joining were quite relaxed: a small membership fee and the ability to work 4 to 8 hours a month. The first location of the guild was an old, vacant store downtown that was scheduled for demolition. The building's impending demise allowed the new cooperative to rent it from month-to-month for a nominal fee. Along with the cigar box cash register and rickety old table and chair for a sales counter, this was the guild's first home for the first 2 years. In the beginning, it was furnished with orange crates, wire spools, recycled lumber and other found objects. What the furnishings lacked in sophistication, they made up for in character. The grand opening featured homemade bread, cider and live music by member Doug Dewey.
The Guild has moved 7 times since 1970, including the last move to our current location in August 2020. With each move, the Guild has improved in the quality of work and gallery aesthetics. The requirements for joining have become more stringent, with an emphasis on originality and craftsmanship.
The Guild has had a diverse and interesting membership since its founding. One of the most unique was the group of maximum security prisoners from Raiford who were art students under University of Florida art professor Don Murray. Money from the sales of their paintings went to purchase more art supplies for them. There was also a hand dipped candle making group who listed their address simply as "the woods". A small leather working group calling themselves Damian's Leather made billfolds, handbags and other leather items. A nine member Micanopy sewing cooperative who created clothing items such as peasant blouses, women's dresses and children's clothes participated. One 80 year old member made quilt tops using designs handed down in her family for over 100 years.
From the humble little gallery of 40 years ago to the present, the glue that has held the guild together and kept it flourishing has been the commitment of individuals to the gallery's success. Currently, the gallery has grown to over 50 artists. Of course, being blessed with a wonderful, loyal customer base has been crucial to its success and longevity. Best of all, the guild has been supported and inspired by one another in the process and have developed a real sense of community that the gallery hopes will continue for future generations of artists and craftspeople.
ARTISANS' GUILD GALLERY BOARD MEMBERS 2019 Jeanne Bunting, President Abby Hogan, Vice-President Jacqui Collett, Treasurer Joyce Marie Lottinville, Secretary
ARTISANS' GUILD GALLERY COMMITTEE CHAIRS 2019 Linda Pence, Co-Chair of Display Trude Spillane, Co-Chair of Display Jacquelyne Collett, Chair of Finance Joann Alarid, Chair of Advertising Harriet Huss, Chair of Social Media Wendy Free, Instagram/Newsletter Dave Hall, Chair of Building and Housekeeping Rick Shamel, BIO-Keeper Webmaster
Gainesville Artisans' Guild Gallery 224 northwest 2nd avenue, Gainesville, Florida 32601 Phone:352-378-1383 Gallery Hours: Sunday - Thursday 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM Friday - Saturday 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM By Appointment: Call or Email us to schedule
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