The Guilford Art Center is non-profit school, shop and gallery established to nurture and support excellence in the arts. Through classes for adults and children, gallery programs, a shop of contemporary crafts, and special events, the Center fulfills its mission to provide opportunities for the public to participate in the arts. The Center seeks to preserve craft traditions and foster innovation by providing an environment where artists can gather, practice, exhibit, teach and exchange ideas.
Founded in 1967 (as the Guilford Handcraft Center), the Center evolved from the first Handcraft Expo, held on the Guilford Green in 1957, in which local artisans displayed and demonstrated their crafts. Ten years later, the Center was incorporated, and since that time has become a vital part of the town and shoreline community and culture. It serves as the most comprehensive art organization, and includes the largest public exhibition space, between New Haven and Old Lyme.
The school annual serves over 2,000 students, from preschool-aged through senior citizens, in four semesters of approximately 350 classes, including ceramics, jewelry, metalsmithing, weaving, glass, drawing and painting, fiber arts, photography, blacksmithing, stone carving and kids and teen classes. Tuition assistance is available to help insure that the Center's programs are accessible for community members of all means.
The Center's gallery presents juried and invitational exhibits of art in all media and is open seven days a week, free of charge. The Shop, open year-round, features fine, handmade American crafts; an annual highlight is the Holiday Shop, which includes work by more than 250 artisans. Craft Expo, CT's largest outdoor juried show of fine American craft, is produced by Guilford Art Center each week in July. Each year, 180 of the country's most distinguished artists and makers come to the Guilford Green to exhibit and sell their work.