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Broward Art Guild Provides a Voice and Visibility for Visual Artists

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

As creative beings, artists need outlets for their work and a way to communicate with and support other artists. That's where Broward Art Guild (BAG) in Ft. Lauderdale steps in. But BAG is not new. It's been around since the late 1940s and is now a not-for-profit organization benefiting working artists in Broward County, where it's the oldest and largest county organization of its kind.

Community Relations Chair Regina Skane informs us that "the mission of the Broward Art Guild is to create opportunities for visual artists to grow professionally and expand audiences for their work." Group shows put on by BAG in their gallery let professional artists show and sell their work "in an accessible venue". This provides them with financial stability and visibility in the sometimes saturated art world.

BAG does work to provide a bridge between the arts and the business community. Skane firmly believes, "Art breeds business opportunities." In fact, Skane tells us, "Since the gallery opened in 2011, at least three new restaurants have moved into the neighborhood."

According to Skane, "The Guild strives to educate, encourage and promote artistic growth in a multicultural community, which in turn enables emerging artists to advance their careers by providing artistic and community development." Past BAG workshops and exhibits include Acrylic Pours, which was so popular it will return in July, and Minding Your Money: Running Your Art as a Business. Art and Poetry is a new exhibit running June 1-16.

Running on volunteer energy during its first 30 years, it wasn't until 1986 that a paid administrator was hired. Although BAG has grown, it is very much a volunteer-run organization, with many different recruitment needs throughout the year, including webmaster, handyman, office workers and exhibit curators.

Memberships support BAG and help the organization fulfill its mission. Aside from individual artist and student memberships (with proof of school status), interested individuals can join as a patron or benefactor. Benefactors get a membership for themselves and also sponsor an artist's membership for one year where the benefactor gets to choose the lucky artist. Privileges of joining give you discounts on framing, giclee reproduction, imaging, art supplies and more from local businesses. Plus, artists get discounts on exhibit fees and workshops/classes.

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