About Guilford Art Center


GUILFORD ART CENTER is a non-profit organization that inspires and promotes community participation in the visual arts through education, exhibitions, and outreach.

As a comprehensive and inclusive community environment for arts education and appreciation on the shoreline and in greater Connecticut, Guilford Art Center believes in and provides:

  • Public participation in the arts
  • Classes and workshops in the visual arts in a wide range of media, with quality instruction, and a collaborative, supportive, and inclusive environment for people of all ages, abilities and skill levels
  • Preservation of craft traditions and encouragement of innovation
  • Support of American art and artists through our Gallery exhibitions of contemporary art and our Shop of unique works by local and nationally-recognized artisans
  • Events for the community that creatively engage and inspire
  • Arts education to help to develop critical thinking skills, visualization of complex ideas, holistic problem-solving, creative thinking, and opportunities for mindfulness, which are all essential in today’s global world

Founded in 1967 (as the Guilford Handcraft Center), the Center evolved from the first Handcraft Expo, held on the Guilford Green in 1957, in which local artisans displayed and demonstrated their crafts. Ten years later, the Center was incorporated and, since that time, has become a vital part of the town and the extended shoreline community and culture. It serves as the most comprehensive art organization, and includes the largest public exhibition space, between New Haven and Old Lyme.

The School annually serves over 2,000 students, from preschool-aged through senior citizens, in four semesters of approximately 400 classes annually, including ceramics, jewelry, metalsmithing, weaving, glass, drawing and painting, blacksmithing, and stone carving. Tuition assistance is available to help insure that the Center’s programs are accessible for students of all means.

The Gallery presents juried and invitational exhibits of contemporary American art in all media and is open seven days a week, free of charge.

The Shop, open year-round, features fine, handmade American crafts; an annual highlight is the Artistry Holiday Sale, which includes works by more than 200 artisans.

Craft Expo, held on the Guilford Green each July, features works by more than 180 of the country’s most distinguished artisans. As a celebration of the arts and a signature happening for the town of Guilford and the Connecticut shoreline, Craft Expo is a must-see summer event, considered one of the top craft shows in New England and the country.

SUPPORT AND ADVOCACY FOR THE IMPORTANCE OF ARTS EDUCATION IS KEY TO GUILFORD ART CENTER’S IMPACT. Here are just a few links with more information about the benefits of the arts and the positive impacts that studying, enjoying and practicing them can have on people’s lives and communities:

Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Education
Visual Thinking Strategies