“To Cultivate An Active Interest In Local Art Talent”

argus dispatch

Article from Rock Island Argus, Oct. 10, 1955.

The Rock Island Art Guild was founded in 1955 by a group of individuals who wanted to cultivate an active interest in local and regional artists in addition to promoting and fostering the appreciation of the visual arts in the Quad Cities.

Rock Island Art Guild’s main force was Sally MacMillan, who moved to Rock Island from Florida in the early 1950’s. She had experienced outdoor art shows in Florida, and felt that was just what Rock Island needed. Sally discussed the idea with two friends, Mrs. George McDonald and Mrs. C.E. Laughlin. A few phone calls and conversations later, a meeting was set up on September 7, 1955 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick White, and the Rock Island Art Guild was formed. There were 40 people in attendance who created a statement of purpose and made a meeting schedule for the year. An annual membership fee was established, which would cover modest expenses for the first Rock Island Art Guild Outdoor Show scheduled for October 8, 1955 in Long View Park, Rock Island.

The outdoor show on October 8, 1955 at Long View Park was a resounding success. Fifteen artists brought their words that day -from ceramics made from molds to paint-by-numbers to watercolors. There were approximately 100 spectators  that viewed the show, and in the Guild’s eyes it was deemed a success!

For close to seven decades, the Rock Island Art Guild continued activities “to cultivate and active interest in local art talent” through the Fine Arts Exhibition hosted at the Figge Art Museum, contributing to art projects in the Rock Island-Milan School District through the Rock Island Education Foundation PRIME Grant program, supporting the Quad City Arts Annual High School Invitational, funding special projects through the Outreach Committee and also working with local art organizations to enhance active artists in the Quad Cities Community.

In 2023 the Rock Island Art Guild continued the legacy of the Left Bank Art League’s art awards to local college students. The Art Guild will award $500 stipends to two college art students each year from St. Ambrose University, Augustana College, Black Hawk College and Scott Community College.