Milton Arts Guild has officially opened its new facility on Federal Street, and the response from the guild’s leadership was a sigh of relief.
The guild had originally planned to open in July, but construction and supply delays pushed the plans back to holding the opening weekend Dec. 10.
Guild President Sue Dutton said, “It’s a bigger space here. We have more available to us.”
That includes having their own kitchen and being able to partition the walls for the ability to have classes and shows at the same time. Dutton said even more important is increased visibility from being right in the heart of the town’s central business district, after being located on Walnut Street since 2014.
“I couldn’t believe the amount of people who have walked by here and didn’t realize the Milton Arts Guild existed,” Dutton said. “Since we’ve put the sign in the window, we’ve increased the number of members by 40. We only had 110, so we’re up to 150 members now. Just people knowing we’re alive has been phenomenal.”
The new facility will also have expanded hours, open Thursday through Sunday until 7 p.m., which Dutton hopes will attract people in town to see shows at Milton Theatre. She said the guild also plans to have more artwork for sale to help artists who have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We haven’t been able to do the shows we normally do,” Dutton said.
The guild held its first market at the new building with the Holiday Market, which sells Christmas-themed works. The Holiday Market is one of four special shows the guild holds per year, which also includes the Spring Fling, a summer show and the fall house tour. Dutton said she was a bit nervous opening the new facility with one of the guild’s biggest shows, but she viewed it as a sink-or-swim kind of moment.
“We really jumped in with both feet on this one,” Dutton said.
To pay tribute to people and companies that supported the art guild financially, each of them has a ball in the window with their name on it. Navigating the pandemic was a tricky bit of business for the guild, as it was not able to hold shows or offer in-person classes. To compensate, the guild held classes via Zoom, which Dutton said were very successful and helped attract new members from outside Delaware. She said the intention is to continue Zoom classes into the future, while also adding in-person and hybrid classes.
“I think everybody is really happy because they feel like they have ownership,” Dutton said. “We feel like this is now home.”
For more information on Milton Arts Guild, visit miltonartsguild.com.