Quilting, crafting, Zentangle, sewing, quilling, card making, painting and other fine arts are all in the wheelhouse of Marion’s Artisans’ Guild. While the group is probably best known for their annual decorating of the enormous Christmas tree in the lobby of the Palace Theatre, they are also a major supporter of Marion’s homeless shelters.
The Artisans’ Guild dates back to 1962 when it was founded by Mabel Probst Stone. In its early years, the membership was comprised of housewives and socialites. Today, membership is still by invitation and includes 50 women, both retirees and active community members. The current president is Cindy Kume.
“The purpose of the Artisans’ Guild is to promote the arts and fine crafts in any medium, as well as fellowship among artists,” said Kume. “We are pleased to be creating the centerpieces for MarionMade’s Celebrate Marion Gala in June and helping to decorate the Palace for the event.”
Members of the Artisans’ Guild are creating 50+ unique centerpieces for the formal dinner at the Celebrate Marion Gala, showcasing a wide variety of their members’ talents, including Zentangle candles, quilling, beadwork, floral arranging, and several other styles.
The group meets monthly at Marion’s First Church of the Nazarene. One of their biggest projects is raising money for the Marion Homeless Shelters, which they do by creating and selling artwork.
“Our members donate their time, all of the supplies, and their talent to this effort,” said Cindy Kume. “It is a passion for us.”
The Artisans’ Guild is not a service club, rather it is an arts enrichment program, explained Kume, “Our objective is to keep the appreciation of arts and crafts alive.”
The Artisans’ Guild holds small fund raisers throughout the year and donates all of the proceeds from their booth at the Eco-Art Show to Marion’s homeless shelters. In 2018, that donation was $1,700 and included two raffles of large quilts made by members.
Each December, the Artisans request a list of what the shelters need–everything from cleaning supplies to coffee–as well as a list of women and children at the shelter so that Christmas gifts–toys and clothing–can be provided for the shelter residents. In addition to the contribution check, a truck full of gifts is donated.
From its inception in the 1960s, the objective of the Artisans has been to revive and perpetuate the love and appreciation of the arts and crafts. The current membership includes both native Marionites, some who have made Marion their home, and some who have moved away and come back to be an Artisan. One of the most notable members—and Past President, 1968-1970—was Mary Ellen Withrow.
“Strong friendships have grown out of this organization from the very beginning,” said Kume. “One of our past members, Susan Bennett, recognized this bond and created a rose in a circle, the circle of friendship, to be our logo.”
Artisans’ Guild members share and educate each other in quilting, crafting, Zentangle, sewing, quilling, card making, painting and many other skills.
“Preserving and promoting any art form, especially handcrafted, is our goal,” said Kume. “We always are looking to learn something new by inviting other artists to be guest speakers at our meetings.”
Each year, the Artisans display their unique and creative projects at the Marion Palace Theater in the form of the annual Christmas tree in the lobby and in the window of the Marion Public Library. Each ornament is designed and handcrafted by the local members.
“At the library, our individual artistic skills are exhibited to show how various art mediums are used to create art,” said Kume. “This year, examples of our creativity will be used as decorations at the Celebrate Marion Gala for MarionMade.”
The Artisans’ Guild’s work is displayed and sold annually at the Eco-Art Show held each November since 2010 at the Marion Palace Theatre. Sponsored by Marion County Recycling and Litter Prevention, the show features fine art and handcrafted items made from recycled, upcycled, and repurposed materials. Like the Artisans’ Guild itself, the Eco-Art Show promotes community art.
“We make art from recycled materials to sell at the Eco-Art Fest. Our members donate the material and time to create new products to sell at our booth, which include beautiful one-of-a-kind quilts that are raffled. All proceeds are given to the Homeless Shelters,” said Kume. “In addition to this monetary donation, members donate clothing, cleaning supplies, bedding, and miscellaneous items. We are Marion people preserving the arts in the Marion community.”
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