Founded in 1878, the Peoria Art Guild presents a diverse array of fine and contemporary art. We strive to inspire and educate all levels of art enthusiasts through the Peoria Art Guild Fine Art Fair, exhibitions, classes, outreach and collaborative art initiatives.
In addition to hosting the Peoria Art Guild Fine Art Fair each September, the Peoria Art Guild is dedicated to increasing awareness of the arts in central Illinois. We support our talented local artists by providing exhibit space and by promoting them through shows, sales and as instructors for our programs.
Events & Exhibitions
Each month we feature a new art exhibit in our main gallery space, with an opening reception that often falls on First Friday. In 2020, the Art Guild started exhibiting artists in a small space off the main gallery. This new Project Gallery allows us to exhibit more artists and community projects, in addition to our main exhibits. It is important to us to collaborate with other organizations to make amazing events and projects happen that will improve our community’s culture and aesthetics.
Classes & Education
We take pride in offering a diverse selection of art classes for all ages at our facility, including: painting, drawing, small metal works, ceramics, photography, sculpture, fiber arts and printmaking. We strive to expand people’s creativity and help them find their hidden talents. We also provide financial scholarships for anyone who may not be able to afford tuition.
In 2020, we initiated a Community Arts program, which focuses on providing arts education and experiences to underserved members of our community. We take art classes into community settings, such as the Individual Advocacy Group, Heart of Illinois Special Recreation Association, Community Workshop Training Center, Girls Light Our Way, East Bluff Community Center and more. This program is funded by the Community Arts Grant through Community Foundation of Central Illinois, allowing participants to attend tuition-free.
Mentor Apprentice Program
Our Mentor Apprentice Program (MAP) is designed to give high-school age participants hands-on training with professionals in the field of visual arts. The participants must be recommended by their art teachers to be eligible for the program. We have 10 apprentices each year who are exposed to a variety of mediums over several months, working directly with professional artists to build a portfolio to further their education in the arts. This program is funded by PNC Bank, allowing the apprentices to attend tuition-free.
Peoria Art Guild Fine Art Fair
This year is our 59th annual Peoria Art Guild Fine Art Fair, and we are excited to bring 130 artists to the Peoria Riverfront! The Fair includes a mix of all media, showcasing both local and nationally-known artists. We are committed to showcasing a wide variety of art and artists to attract more people to our city.
In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Peoria Art Guild was unable to host an in-person Fine Art Fair. Instead, we looked outside the box and contracted with Interactiva Studios to host a Virtual Fine Art Fair. It was a new concept for us, but our reach was significant. We were able to showcase our artists to 42 states and even other countries. We were rated #20 among the top fine art fairs in the nation in 2020 by Sunshine Magazine.
We look forward to using the virtual experience alongside our in-person Fair from now on. In addition, the Virtual Riverfront is now available for other organizations in the Peoria region to utilize for virtual events. We are proud to provide this virtual format to the Sun Foundation for their 2021 Clean Water Celebration.
How to Help
The Fine Art Fair is the largest community event in central Illinois that showcases quality art, music, food, and hands-on art activities for kids and adults. It takes more than 200 volunteers throughout the weekend to make this event a success. We are always looking for new volunteers, members for our planning committee, and sponsors.
The Guild works to collaborate with a wide variety of artists and arts organizations, enhancing the programs and classes we offer. Gifted artists, with skills to teach to our community, are invited to contact us so we can continually provide new projects in the future.
Shannon Cox, Executive Director
Nikki Wheeler, Education Coordinator