Showcasing the Arts

Community Arts Award

Murray Art Guild

Calloway County

Murray Art Guild was founded in 1967 when several Calloway County residents established a place for local artists to create, exhibit and sell their artwork. While keeping visual arts at the heart of the guild, the burgeoning organization has grown into a creative mainstay in western Kentucky.

Located near Murray’s court square, the center offers year-round educational programming, an exhibition gallery, individual and community studios and an Art Market retail area. Believing art is for everyone, Murray Art Guild welcomes participants of all ages and abilities, offering art education opportunities for youth and adults. In addition to two community studio spaces and five individual studios, the guild has both a weaving and a clay studio. Ongoing community groups in photography, life drawing, painting and poetry complement a rotating schedule of workshops in areas such as drawing, clay, enameling and art journaling.

The Murray Art Guild Gallery hosts small group and solo exhibitions from local and regional artists, including two student exhibits throughout the year. The guild partners with Murray Convention and Visitors Bureau and Murray State University to offer larger exhibits in different venues making exhibitions accessible throughout the community.

About 40 artists with ties to the area sell their work through the Art Market. The artists and other Murray Art Guild supporters volunteer to keep the Market a favorite venue for buying local, handcrafted goods, while the artists are supported in their business ventures.

Murray Art Guild is dedicated to sharing the joy and gratification that comes with making art. We cultivate collaborative efforts whenever possible, both by initiating projects that bring the community together and by lending time and expertise to other’s endeavors. Our dedicated staff and volunteers and active board are proud creative community partners.

What does this distinction mean to your organization?

Receiving the Community Arts Award is quite an honor. It fully validates our efforts towards our mission of community arts development. As we support artists and creative endeavors in the area, one of our biggest pleasures is bringing people together through art. We know that art can foster communication and understanding, build confidence and relationships, and express feelings, ideas and experiences. With this recognition we hope even more people will get involved in our workshops, exhibitions and events, and that the arts will continue to thrive in Murray and Calloway County.

How does Murray Art Guild contribute to Kentucky art and creativity?

By providing quality programming in the visual arts, Murray Art Guild contributes to Kentucky art and creativity. The guild offers workshops for students from preschool age to older Kentuckians. Our workshops are varied and open to all skill levels. While teaching, artists are fairly compensated; participation fees are kept to a minimum, with scholarships available. Murray Art Guild hosts exhibitions throughout the year, both in our facility and in other community venues. Exhibitions are free and often tie into other community groups or events, such as a recent exhibition by Rick Mjos that featured paintings based on his experience while serving in Vietnam. The exhibition reception was held on Veterans Day with local veterans’ groups invited. For us, art is inclusive, and our mission supports providing art and creative experiences to all members of the community.

Why do you believe the arts are important?

The arts support and encourage communication, giving voice to thoughts and experiences otherwise difficult to express. Touching so many aspects of our lives, the arts provide a chance for increased understanding in a community. Through a shared experience in the arts people with different ideas and diverse cultural and economic backgrounds have the potential of deeper awareness and stronger connections. The arts are important to individual enrichment and thriving communities, because just like the possibilities provided by quality education, opportunities in the arts build a positive human experience.