OBJECTIVES OF THE WEST BANK ART GUILD
The objective of this Guild is to promote knowledge of and participation in the visual arts by the community through exhibitions, teaching programs, workshops and scholarships. The Guild is dedicated to providing the encouragement of artists of all proficiency levels and for the education of the public. The Guild is non-sectarian, non-partisan and non-profit.
HISTORY OF THE WEST BANK ART GUILD
The West Bank Art Guild was begun in February 1964 when eleven people met at Behrman Recreation Center on the West Bank. One participant, Mildred Lewis, felt there was a need for an organization for artists in the community. Working through the New Orleans Recreation Dept, the Guild organized with Joseph Darce as its first instructor and began meeting weekly at the Behrman Gym to paint and share their knowledge of Art. As the group continued to grow, the need for more space forced a move to the bathhouse of the swimming pool, where there was a larger working area. On September 29, 1965, under Milton E. Landry as president, the first by-laws were adopted and the Guild continued to move forward.
William Collins became president in 1967. In June of that year, a contest was held to select a logo for the Guild, and “Bill” Collins’ design was adopted by popular vote. The first newsletter was mailed on August 1, 1967.
Next in line for the presidency was Warren “Chick” Weber who served from 1969-1971.As the membership steadily increased, it became evident that the Behrman facility was no longer adequate to accommodate its needs, and in January, 1969 the decision was made to seek larger quarters. In October, 1969 the Guild moved to the Steeple Gallery where it continued to meet for several years. Over the past 35 years the Guild continued to move to different locations for meetings until the Mayor, the Historical Society and the City Council of Westwego offered the newly renovated historical bank building on Sala Avenue to the WBAG as its home.The Westwego Art Center was opened by the WBAG in October 2005. It is a non-profit community arts organization providing the community with quality visual arts education. Conveniently located at 401 Sala Avenue in the historic district of Westwego, the center features exhibits of West Bank Art Guild members and guests, and classes and workshops for all ages and ability levels from novice to professional. Over the years, the Guild has exceeded all expectations, enjoying a full membership of dedicated and talented artists. Its reputation is highly respected in the art community of this area. A number of award-winning artists are on its roster. The Guild continues its mission of encouraging the development of art and the artist in the community. It takes great pride in its accomplishments.