Art Guild of the Delta

Art Guild of the Delta

Inspiring Creative Influences

As an artist herself, Rosie Grejsen was aware of the need for an outlet and a connection for local artists. Having been part of a previous art organization in East Contra Costa County, Rosie knew that once that group dissolved, it was up to her and a few fellow artists to carry on. So, in the summer of 2013, Art Guild of the Delta was formed. “We ran a few interest meetings and saw that there was a lot of interest among local artists in coming together to have a place to talk about art, be social, and create opportunities,” said Rosie. “A few fellow artists and I decided to form Art Guild of the Delta and broaden the focus to pull in the interested artists, as well as create fundraising opportunities for the local community college and high school art programs to help promote art within the community.”

The goal of Art Guild of the Delta is to promote art in East Contra Costa County communities with the objectives of stimulating and encouraging creative work in the arts while always projecting ethical practices and principles of art; to champion diversity, equity and inclusion and to pursue cultural consciousness as fundamental values to the organization; to promote and enrich community-wide awareness of local art activities; to provide scholarships to East Contra Costa County community college and local high school students furthering their education in the arts. One of the most accessible ways that Rosie and her fellow artists were able to communicate those ideas to the public was through the Delta Gallery that was previously at The Streets of Brentwood. “Having the gallery wasn’t originally part of our plan, but the timing just happened to be right,” said Rosie. “Eventually we took on Delta Gallery and made it cooperative style. Art Guild members were the resident artists, but other artists and art groups were encouraged to display their pieces and other nonprofits held art shows and fundraisers there.” After nine and a half years, Delta Gallery was sadly closed. “The gallery allowed us to talk to the community about art, process, and understanding while giving them a look at different types of artwork. It also allowed us to provide art classes for people of all ages. It certainly served its purpose being a community art resource over those years.”

In addition to the displays and classes previously held at Delta Gallery, Art Guild of the Delta also runs an art program called Banner Up!, which is a free community public program. Anyone and everyone is offered the chance to paint a banner that is later displayed throughout downtown Brentwood and auctioned off at a fundraising gala. “There are no guidelines or restrictions,” said Rosie. “If you want to paint a banner, you can paint a banner. People are invited to use their own individual expression.” The Art Guild always partners with a local nonprofit organization during the Banner Up! program, which becomes the benefactor of half of the auction proceeds. The other half goes directly to the artists. Art Guild has partnered with the Brentwood Library Foundation, Ghostlight Theatre Ensemble, and the past two years have benefited the Veterans Memorial Building Fund. “We generally change benefactors every two years,” said Rosie. “So, we will be looking for a new group for next year.”  
One of the most important elements of the Art Guild of the Delta is that they create a space for artists to meet and talk about art, art experience, art opportunities, art shows, and creating that overall network of artists. “Art is something that is around us every single day, whether we realize it or not,” said Rosie. “There’s always something in your life that you do that’s artistic; it’s just a matter of appreciating that it’s there.” The Art Guild is trying to create that awareness in the community, and start it at a young age. “It is critical to create a balance for our young people. Some are more inclined to excel in the arts, whether it is music, drama, or visual arts. They need an avenue of expression on a regular basis.”

While the Art Guild of the Delta is currently in a transitional period, Rosie and the rest of the artists are hopeful for the future. “Without Delta Gallery we are constantly looking for other showing opportunities, but hopefully we will find another place to call home in the near future,” said Rosie. “We do have community support, which is wonderful.” The group would love to continue the Banner Up! program, polishing it up a bit and increasing awareness and appreciation. “It’s a fantastic program for both the artists and the community. These beautiful banners that are large, original pieces of artwork are going for such a little price!” The Art Guild would also love to grow their scholarship program. “Over the past 10 years we’ve give $45,000 in scholarships and in support of other organizations. We would love to expand that program. This community really appreciates the arts, and we’d love to continue to help foster that.”

By: Michelle Lassle   Photos by: Provided


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