A nonprofit organization’s roots in historic downtown Miamisburg date back to 1966, when local artist and instructor Gene Woods gathered artists from the area who loved and supported the fine arts. 

Using tools such as a paint brush, a palette and a canvas, these artists became members of the Miamisburg Art Guild, which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016. 

In addition to the organization’s love for painting, drawing and craft, the guild opened the Miamisburg Art Gallery as a place for the community of art lovers to promote, create, maintain and encourage the development of artistic skill. It was built as a studio where artists could collaborate, too. 

Bonnie Milligan, treasurer of the Miamisburg Art Guild, says that artists can learn a lot from each other, discovering new techniques that they might not have discovered when working by themselves. 

While the name of the guild and gallery implies that it’s strictly Miamisburg-related, that’s not quite true. 

“At that time [of the organization’s founding], not all the guild members were from Miamisburg,” says Milligan. “Even today, our members are scattered around the [Greater Dayton] area.” 

In 1999, the guild’s original gallery was partially destroyed by an electrical fire that burnt much of the building’s contents, except for a closet near the front of the building. The discovery of Woods’ artwork in that front closet was a silver lining for the organization. 

“The founder’s artwork did not burn,” says Milligan. “That in itself meant he was still there with us, helping us regroup.” 

The guild discussed possibilities for a new space and studio before moving operations down the street to 16 N. Main St., an old gallery that needed a lot of work. 

After three years, the new Miamisburg Art Gallery opened in November 2002, showing off the skills and talents of artists once again. 

There is always something new to see at the gallery, which rotates artists-of-the-month and changes the entire selection of the show multiple times a year. It even has one show entirely dedicated to area high school students who want to show their artwork to the community.

“We are not here to make money; we are here to show the world the artists’ talents,” Milligan says, adding that the one art form not shown at the gallery is photography. 

However, there are many art mediums represented, including acrylic and oil paintings, jewelry, pottery, origami, pencil, ink and more. The subjects of each artist’s work are wide in range, including animals, landscapes, buildings and portraits. 

“When the artist is into a subject, they have an inner feeling about it, bringing it to the picture,” Milligan says. 

The guild also hosts classes in its studio for different skill levels. Individuals and groups can learn about different mediums and techniques from guild members and instructors from the area, like a recent watercolor class taught by Beavercreek watercolor artist Yuki Hall. 

“You don’t have to be experienced,” says Milligan. “That is what a class is for: To learn.” 

Think it might be hard to get involved? Think again. The guild is always looking for new members who share their passion for the fine arts. Potential members can present a few artistic pieces to the board for review and then can share the spotlight in the gallery. 

“It’s free to come,” says Milligan. “We just want people to continue to visit.”