GREENVILLE — According to the Greenville Art Guild’s history, Anna Bier, of Greenville, Ohio, born in 1873, taught art in the Greenville public schools for 36 years.
Upon her passing, in 1939, Bier willed her home and all of its contents to the future hope that Greenville would become “a place where people of all colors, all creeds, and all walks of life could work for the development of artistic skills and higher cultural standards for their community”, the history said. Grateful for her contribution to their small community, residents established the Greenville Art Guild, Inc. in 1939, incorporating both visual and performing arts.
It is with that spirit that the Greenville Art Guild continues on, nurturing artists to explore their talents. One annual event of the guild brings artists to the home of Isabel Culbertson, of Greenville, for a “Paint Out” or a plein air experience on her lawn, and lunch. About 15 artists attended the event Thursday, June 29. Culbertson has been a guild member forever, she said. She has been painting for more than 50 years.
“It is my favorite thing,” Culbertson said. “I have always been artistic. You are kind of born with it but you learn the discipline of cultivating it. The last 25 years I have concentrated on it heavily, usually producing about three paintings a week, including my own greeting cards.”
Another great contributor to the establishment of the Greenville Art Guild was Martin W. Wogaman, who was born in 1905. According to the Greenville Art Guild history, Wogaman was associated with Bier for many years. He not only taught art at the Greenville Art Guild and at his home, but also directed the Art Guild plays, until 1963. Art guild member of 15 years and teacher Sandy Cable – Barringer received lessons from Wogaman. He saw talent in her as a child, however, Cable – Barringer’s dad saw talent in her brother Lee, and set him up in art classes with Wogaman.
“Dad didn’t think I had a lot of talent, and because money was tight I think they didn’t see spending money on the second child,” she said. “The whole time my brother was gone at the class, I would draw. Wogaman always had an exhibit at the end of the year. I took paper and pencil and sat in a room at the Anna Bier House and drew and drew during the exhibit. I thought, ‘He will see that I am this fantastic artist and will insist that I have art classes’, and sure enough, he did. He told dad, ‘I think Sandy has talent; so dad sent me too.”
The purpose of the Greenville Art Guild is to encourage talent of all ages, to provide instruction through informative meetings and plein air experiences and to enrich the life of the community through the promotion of the visual arts. The artists work in a variety of genres, such as: impressionism, realism and abstract expressionism, using a variety of media, such as: colored pencils, oils, pastels and watercolors.
“It it is a conglomeration,” Culbertson said. “It’s fun, it gets me out of the house and it is a great hobby for anyone.”
Watercolor artist Marilyn Banks, of Arcanum, has been the president of the guild for a couple of months, replacing the late Jan Boyer. She has been a member since she retired from teaching, in 2002.
“I am just feeling my way,” she said of the new position. “Today we are choosing a door prize painting for our fall show. That is a piece that the guild pays $100 to the artist and B & B Frame Gallery frames as a contribution to our show.”
The Greenville Art Guild is always seeking new members. Member dues are $15 active, $10 senior 62+ and $5 student. Benefits include: a Guild Exhibit at the Anna Bier Gallery, Registry presence on the guild website and Facebook page, discounts, door prize contests, events and connecting with other artists. For more information, visit http://www.greenvilleartguild.com/
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.