There's little doubt that Brentwood and the surrounding Delta region is a happening place, art-wise. Each year brings something new, in the form of theater, music and the arts, with many separate organizations of artists working toward their own pursuits.
Last fall, four artists -- Sandra Berksen, Sherry Cummings, Rosalinda Grejsen and Mary Lamb -- decided to combine their talents, to form the Art Guild of the Delta, a new East Contra Costa County nonprofit organization that offers artists encouragement, networking, support and show opportunities, as well as fosters creativity and promotes the arts.
"We thought we needed to put something together, something a little bit solid and inspiring here in our area, to make a supportive place for artists to come together," said Grejsen, the guild's president. "It would be an exciting thing to have that."
With mission statement in place, monthly meetings scheduled and an inaugural show ready for unveiling, the guild is proceeding slowly but has big plans for all it would like to offer.
These plans include critique groups, field trips, workshops and lectures, open studios and fundraisers to provide scholarship money to students enrolled in the art department at Los Medanos College.
The guild at present has 43 members, representing visual arts, literary arts, fiber arts and at least one actor.
The members include high school art teachers, professional artists and some current Brentwood Arts Commissioners.
"We have a little bit of everything, a very diverse group," Grejsen said.
"We all have a common interest in creating a supportive group, a resource and alliance of artists so that our organizations here in the Delta region will have a group of people to pull from."
The guild has received generous support from the Brentwood Art Society, which has agreed to serve as the guild's fiscal sponsor, allowing the newly formed organization to operate under their nonprofit 501(c) 3 status for the purpose of fundraising for the scholarships.
"They've been helpful, informative and supportive, giving us the seed money -- $1,000 -- to get us off the ground," Grejsen said
"It's a start to create a great relationship with the organizations here in Brentwood, so we're very excited about that."
The Art Guild plans to add a link on the Brentwood Art Society website with their mission statement, list of members, contact information and membership form.
While many facets are still in the planning stage, one event is ready to open on Saturday, Feb. 8, at CR Framing in Brentwood. Starting with a reception from 2 to 5 p.m., the Art Guild of the Delta Members Only Art Show will feature work from many of the guild's 43 members, and Grejsen hopes to see the community come and show support.
Those interested are also encouraged to attend the guild's monthly meetings, held the third Tuesday of each month.
"We alternate meetings between daytime and night to accommodate different members' schedules," Grejsen said.
"They're open to everybody who wishes to come and just have a listen. There's no pressure to become a member or participate."
Grejsen, a ceramist for the past 17 years, also hopes the formation of the Art Guild will help put the word out about the upcoming Open Studios on May 3 and 4, seeing the event as beneficial to the artist and community alike.
Attending open studios provides a glimpse into an artist's creative and work processes and supports the artist's endeavors, a win-win situation.
Echoing the belief of so many artists, Grejsen states that "art enriches our lives and our communities."
"The Art Guild of the Delta would like to be of service to our community by promoting creative arts through activity, education and awareness," she said.
"The membership as it's developing has been very exciting with the people who are participating and their links to outside resources."
Follow Art Guild of the Delta on Facebook.
For more information contact Rosalinda Grejsen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 925-240-7739.