The Muncie Artists Guild owes its humble beginnings to local artist, Don Browning, who in the fall of 1951 initiated an art club named, the Amateur Artists Associations together with 12 other local artists. The Association met in Browning’s home studio; their first organized meeting took place at the studio in January 1952 when the Association's first president was elected.
Within six months, the membership grew to 18 and held their first exhibit at the Ball Stores Blue Room. The 18-member group continued to meet regularly at Browning's studio to paint, but with the arrival of warmer weather, summer paint outs were planned. Those were all day meetings; the first was at the covered bridge at Mathews, IN.
“…with the long daylight saving time starting last of April we met at interesting places about 5:30 PM with a sandwich and painted till darkness made us stop. One of our favorite places for many years was the old stone quarry on Cornbread Road, just west of Hoyt Ave. One could imagine the Grand Canyon or Colorado Rockies, once we saw a den of baby foxes playing half way up the rock wall.
Shively woods and ponds about 3 miles north of New Castle was another favorite place for members who did not work days and could spend a whole day.
Many times we took bacon and eggs and cooked brunch before starting to paint and one rainy spring after we planned for 6 weeks to find a good day, we decided to go anyway. It was raw and cold and rainy. We built a huge campfire (before the days of EPA) and I put my huge granite coffee pot in the fire and we painted away in rain suits and gloves. One painter looked very colorful in purple rayon gloves. We created some of our best paintings that day and some great memories.
One reason this particular day remains etched on my memory, I spent the whole next day scouring and cleaning the burnt coffee pot inside and out!” Gwen McCoy, member.
Former Ball State University Art Gallery Director, Dr. Alice Nichols encouraged Guild members, some of which who had studied at the university. Nichols often went to the studio to give critiques of the members’ work before the Guild’s annual exhibit. In November of 1956 the exhibit was held at the Ball State Art Gallery and continued to exhibit at the university for several years. Dr. Nichols or another art professors judged the members’ paintings at the exhibit.
The name was officially changed to, Muncie Artists Guild several years later.
Today, the membership is 31 strong. The members display their work at various local businesses throughout the year, participate in philanthropic works, and hold their annual juried show in early August at the Minnetrista Cultural Center. Please visit our events page for details.