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The Arts


Pablo Picasso once said, "Art washes away the dust of everyday life." At the Elmhurst Artists’ Guild, art is a part of everyday life. Housed within the Elmhurst Art Museum (150 Cottage Hill), the Guild strives to encourage, promote, advance and assist art education and instruction through the advancement and development of the arts.

On October 16, 1946, the first meeting of the Elmhurst Artists’ Guild was held in what was then Jane Duncan’s Gift Shop at 551 Spring Road. The 11 founding members in attendance included Mildred Curtis, Lee Daniels, Lillian Doyle, Jane Duncan, Evelyn Elwell, Evie Fort, Mrs. Paul E. Fox, Eleanor King Hookham, Mrs. William J. Horn, Florence Horning and Gertrude Vinton. These 11 artists were mainly realists, working in oils and watercolors.

Although the founding members were talented, the real stand out was Eleanor King Hookham, who was nationally known for her artwork. She worked in a social realist style, which is similar to the style of such artists as Charles Burchfield and Francis Chapin. It is because of the generosity of Hookham and her family that the Elmhurst Art Museum was founded.

Because of the legacy of the founding members, the Guild continues to inspire and acquire members. Frank Tumino (pictured on page 23), President of the Elmhurst Artists’ Guild, became involved with the Guild several years ago after attending an exhibit and learning he could have his art displayed as well. “The whole museum was beautiful, and the prospect of showing my own art in such a venue was irresistible,” said Tumino. “I joined the Guild that same day.”

Even though there are similar organizations in the area, the Elmhurst Artists’ Guild (EAG) is unique for many reasons. “I was drawn to EAG because they have a gallery located in a museum where they exhibit their work,” said Dianne Martia, current EAG secretary and president emeritus. “The other local guilds don’t have that type of exhibit space. EAG provides a valuable vehicle that brings the artist to the art, and the art to the community.”

The Guild showcases works of art created by artists who live and work in the Elmhurst community. Its gallery is permanently located in the Elmhurst Art Museum, and it offers exhibitions, workshops, lectures, classes and monthly meetings that enrich and educate members of the community. “I quickly learned to value the opportunity to get together regularly with other artists and discuss whatever was on my mind, be it art related or not,” said Tumino. “I’ve met a lot of great people and have made some good friends.”

Throughout its 62-year history, the Guild has experienced significant growth. “It would be great if we could grow to the point where we could afford to hire full-time employees. At that point, I think we would really see things starting to happen, especially in the areas of fundraising and public relations,” said Tumino.

Being a 501(c)3 organization, the Guild is able to take donations and apply for grants, but the majority of its support comes through membership fees (annual dues are $36). Artists retain most of the sale price from their work, but the Guild does receive a small portion. There is a hanging fee for members’ shows and a jury fee for the national show. These fees generally cover the costs of the exhibitions.

In an effort to open the gallery up to a greater cross section of artists, the Guild recently added a national juried show and an invitational to its schedule, which usually consists of 10 shows per year. There are three group member shows, the National Art Premiere, one invitational show and approximately five spots that are typically taken up by member solo shows. The Guild is currently working on the National Art Premiere 2009, which will occur in February for its third year. The juror will be Olga Stefan, Executive Director of the Chicago Artists’ Coalition.

Because the Guild strives for a wide variety of shows and artists, the Guild members are artistically very diverse. Some are beginners and self-taught, while others are classically trained. Some members create art solely for their own pleasure, and for some members the only source of income comes from the selling of their artwork. Artistic styles include Philippine art, traditional realist, abstract works and surrealist collages, to name a few.


“The best feature of the Guild is bringing artists together for the love of art,” said Charlene Freislinger, long-time member and current treasurer. “Networking is another advantage to being a member, and just meeting other people that love art like you do.”

Since the Guild welcomes diversity and originality, it is easy to become a member. There are no geographical restrictions, and no one’s artwork is required to be juried. Members are not even required to be artists or to have any artistic talent. Dues are $36 a year for each individual. For more information, contact the Guild by phone at 630-279-1009 or e-mail at

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