The History of The Art Guild of Orange Park

Early History of the Art Guild…

On May 23rd, 1973, eight Orange Park Artists met at the Lanier Densmore Studio for the purpose of forming a multi-media art group.

These eight artists sketched out the framework for an organization known previously as the “Fine Arts Guild of Orange Park”.  Every endeavor was made then as is now to live up to the “Fine Art” standards in the name. The group was comprised of a select choice of talented artists who had achieved much success with their work. Lanier Densmore, a commercial artist, designed the original logo.  The corporation’s reputation has gained historic recognition for nearly 50 years.

The first exhibit was held October 6th and 7th in 1973 at Orange Park Town Hall.  Exhibiting artists were: Cathie Anders, Valerie Boardman, Agnes Chalker, Toni Charneco, Lanier Densmore, Jerry Ellis, Joan Geyer, Courtenay Hunt, Margie Keeter, Teddie Jo Ryan, Fran Stone, Marilyn Taylor, and Martha Web. More than 300 art lovers viewed this exhibit.

The Guild has displayed, exhibited, and promoted the visual Fine Arts and other related crafts throughout Clay County and Northeast Florida since its inception. During 1979, a revision was made to the Constitution and By-Laws opening up membership to artists throughout Clay County. In 1998, the juried membership selection requirements were dropped opening up countywide opportunities and by 1999, artists from any area could join. The Guild was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit on April 11, 2002.  Tax exempt status provided us the means to solicit donations and issue donor tax credits.

The Courtenay Hunt annual scholarship fund was established in 2003 for High School Seniors. The Guild has recognized High School art students with financial assistance to enrich their own pursuits in the Arts. Public relations campaigns, fund raising efforts, and community outreach activities during 2003-2005 raised a substantial amount of capital that was set aside for future growth.  These funds also contributed to a Patron level position with the Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts. The Art Guild of Orange Park is officially recognized on an inscribed seat plaque in the main performance hall.

The Guild is a strong supporter of its members encouraging artists to express their own individuality, talents, and skills. Throughout the years, both professional and non-professional members, have stated that the Art Guild of Orange Park was a crucial stepping stone to the betterment of both careers and interests.

Current History

We  currently support our members with monthly meetings, each with an excellent presentation from fantastic artists, as well as enrichment workshops, and both juried and non-juried shows to display our art.

In addition to our membership, we continue to meet the needs of surrounding communities, other artists, arts organizations, schools, and charitable groups for. When monetary contributions are not feasible, artist members, donate time and energy, or have offered product donations toward certain types of fund-raisers.

To date, the group is currently comprised of over 100 members and supporters.

Content Contributors:

  • Toni Charneco – Past Historian/ Charter Member (1973) (2010)
  • Leslie Kruzicki – Past Historian (2010) (2014)
  • Debbie Cusick  – President (2018)

– Last update (2021)