|Organized July, 1953|
The history of the Des Plaines Art Guild goes back to June 1953, when Jim Bade, a Des Plaines Journal reporter, sent letters to ten artists in the Des Plaines, Illinois area suggesting the establishment of an art league. The first meeting of the group was held on July 7, 1953, in the home of C.J. Lanckhoff. At that meeting the topics discussed were the aims of the group, membership requirements, dues, and a meeting place.
A week later, on July 14, 1953, the second meeting was held at the home of M.E. Lawrence, at which time the following officers were elected to serve on a temporary basis:
A committee was formed to prepare a constitution for the group; those on that committee were Mrs. Erwin Campbell, Mrs. Erwin C. Knocke, Mrs. C.W.M. Brown, Mrs. Veta Jacobsen, Mr. C.J. Lanckhoff, and Mr. and Mrs. Ross Utter.
At the third meeting of the newly organized Des Plaines Art Guild, a decision was made to hold future meetings at the new North School. Mr. Jim Bade moved that the temporary officers elected at the second meeting serve until May 1954; that motion was seconded and carried. Also, the new constitution was presented and accepted.
Article I of the new constitution named the group the Des Plaines Art Guild.
Article II stated the purpose of the group: "to promote artistic activities and to encourage community interest in the field of creative art."
These two articles have remained constant over the many years of our existence. However, much of the rest of the original constitution has been changed. Originally, dues were "$3.00 annually per person or $5.00 per family." Guests were admitted to meetings upon payment of $.50. Inflation caused the dues to be raised several times over the years until today they are $20.00 per member and $5.00 per spouse. Today's guests pay $4.00 to attend the monthly meeting.
Beginning in 1954, the guild began having monthly meetings. Well-known artists participating in early meetings at the North School were Edward Walaitis and Wallace Broduer, a commercial artist. During 1954-1955, under the able leadership of President C.J. Lanckhoff, the membership increased from 15 to 37 members. Today we have an average of 125 members.
From the beginning the guild has conducted art fairs. Initially, the annual fairs were presented on the Des Plaines Library grounds, which were then at Graceland and Miner Streets.
Originally, two fairs were held each year, one in June for members only and one in September for members, as well as non-members, who were juried in and had to pay a fee.
As time went on, it was decided to reverse the shows by having the June fair for both members and non-members, and the September fair for members only.
At the invitational June art fair, people from all over the country have participated. These annual fairs have been held in the central business area every year.