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A Golden Year for the Guild

A Tribute to 50 Years of Artistry and Community for the Ridgefield Guild of Artists

The Ridgefield Guild of Artists celebrates 50 years in 2024. A half-century of championing the ideas and talents of thousands of local artists. 

The Guild's mission is to support all kinds of local artists who are bringing their ideas to life. It is a dynamic place set in an updated barn with an abundance of character and space. Their renowned exhibits which bring all kinds of artists to Ridgefield are frequent and open to the public.  The Guild has given thousands of artists a chance to display their art and sell their work. 

As the Guild celebrates this significant milestone, we want to bring you some photos and insights into this institution that has become part of the fabric of our town and a cultural treasure. We spoke with Pam Stoddart, the Executive Director of the Ridgefield Guild of Artists about the evolution of the Guild and its contributions to our community. 

CL: How did the RGA get its start? 

Fifty years ago, seventeen local artists decided they wanted a place to call their own to
create and exhibit their art. They came together and formed the Ridgefield Guild of
Artists.

In the fifty years since, this original group has grown to several hundred, drawing members from all over Connecticut and New York. The Guild has evolved from a local artists’ “clubhouse” to a regional arts organization recognizing, promoting, and supporting artists at all levels.

CL: How long have you been Director of the Guild?

This year marks 10 years for me as Executive Director.  'It's challenging but very rewarding
overseeing all that happens at the Guild.'

What type of artists work with the Guild?

The Guild is home to roughly 350 artists members who work in a plethora of mediums.

CL: How are your exhibitions/ shows different?

The diversity of art genres certainly makes us different. We support anyone with an idea and are proud to be a premier organization for cultivating talent and supporting all types of start-up artists. A typical show will have 100-plus people from all over the area popping in and out to enjoy wine, cheese and of course, good conversation. We have built an extraordinary community to support a variety of artists. 

We hold roughly eight exhibits a year. We start every year with a themed member-only exhibit where we present a theme and the artists create art based on that theme. Past themes have been called: “Hot & Cold Extremes”, “Humor Me”, “Conversation”, “Compassion”, “Shake it Up”, “Color”, and “Anything Goes”, to name a few. This year the themed exhibit was called “Celebrate: 50 years of art”. Our exhibits are often thought-provoking and theme-oriented.

In addition to our themed exhibits, we offer exhibits in just photography, two annual juried exhibits with high caliber jurors who curate the show. We have a series of exhibits called Focus On and past years have been Focus On: Landscape, Focus On: Portraits, Focus On: 3D. Festive Home rounds off each year with our month long gallery transformed holiday emporium.


CL: What do you consider the greatest contribution of the Guild to the Ridgefield
community? How many people do you serve? 

Here  is a recap of our offerings from last year and the lives we have touched (in order of greatest contribution)


ArtWalk: Thousands of patrons visited ArtWalk and 46 artists participated. Our Annual
ArtWalk event brings art to the streets and storefronts of downtown Ridgefield for this
town's favorite end-of-summer event. Downtown Ridgefield turns into a strolling art
gallery.


Festive Home: Thousands of Ridgefield residents attend the one-month-long holiday
show. Our annual holiday emporium showcases our hand-crafted artisans. Thousands
of Ridgefield residents look forward to this fun, elaborate holiday bazaar every year.
We collaborate with local designers who create vignettes in the galleries to help
transform the space into a winter wonderland of items for gift-giving and living. Artwork
and unique items are sold.


Gallery Exhibitions: 700 participating artists, roughly 3000 visitors
The Guild presented 7 exhibitions throughout the year covering a variety of topics and
mediums including a photography-only exhibit, 2 juried shows and our Festive Home
show highlighting handcrafted artisans. 

Arts Education: 280 students served annually
The Guild offers art education through classes and workshops year-round for both adults and children.


ARTalks: Roughly 600 visitors annually
A long-standing collaborative relationship with the Ridgefield Library where the Guild provides artists for their popular lecture series, ARTalks. ARTalk lectures are informative and free to the public.


Summer Camp: Roughly 75 students participated
Summer art programs for children, providing multimedia art programs throughout the summer weeks.

Satellite Galleries: Satellite gallery venue locations have thousands of visitors during the duration of each artist's show. Collaborations with downtown store locations, providing artists opportunities to grace the walls of their large main street locations. Jill Rae, William Pitt Sotheby’s and The Ridgefield Playhouse are all Satellite Galleries.

Other Ways We Reach the Community: Community outreach is vital to the Guild of Artists. As part of the Ridgefield Art Council and as a proud member of the cultural district, we like to work within the Ridgefield community creating community partnerships.


CL: What is one thing you would like the public to know about the RGA?

Where we are located! LOL I often wish I could pick up our beautiful barn building and
drop it in downtown Ridgefield.


In all seriousness, I want the public to know that we have been serving this artistic
community of local artists for 50 years through art education for both adults and children
and in the past decade through ArtWalk, Summer Camp for Kids and Festive Home.

CL: How do you plan to celebrate 50 years? 


We have many great things planned for our 50th year! We started last December by introducing a new branding logo campaign straight from the 70’s. We opened the year with our January themed member show called “Celebrate: 50 years of art” and we had a record number of entries where people were invited to submit artwork from any of the past 5 decades!

We have a nice mix of old and new and the show has been very well received. We are also having a 70’s themed pop-up show in late summer and a 50th birthday party planned with a disco theme. It should be great fun!

We are planning Ridgefield’s first Arts Festival in Ballard Park this summer, where the park will be filled with tents of artists from near and far displaying and selling their art. We are proud to be part of the Cultural District in Ridgefield and love giving our artists these opportunities.

What is one thing you would like the public to know about the Ridgefield Guild of Artists?

Where we are located!

 I often wish I could pick up our beautiful barn building and
drop it in downtown Ridgefield.- Pam Stoddart, Executive Director of the Ridgefield Guild of Artists

  • Pam Stoddart, Executive Director of the RGA
  • Original Founding Members Circa 1974
  • ART WALK on Main Street