After more than 10 years sponsoring art shows around the city, the Southern Arizona Arts Guild has its own permanent art gallery and studio.
Opened in April, the year-round gallery is in Casas Adobes Plaza, 7121 N. Oracle Road. It offers a place for guild members to display and sell their artwork. It's also where they can host workshops, speakers and occasional social events, and it offers a place for SAAG members to work on their art with their colleagues.
Work from 30 members is displayed in the store for two-month cycles, said gallery manager Ann Tuuri. Some of the artists are rotated in and out at the end of the cycle and all of the work is moved around to ensure that the gallery remains fresh.
The current rotation ends Saturday, and after closing for two days to bring in new work, the gallery will reopen Tuesday.
The gallery features both 2-D and 3-D art, including paintings, photographs, jewelry, glass pieces and baskets. Guild artists set up their own sections, creating what Tuuri calls "galleries within the gallery."
"We're just pleased with everyone's own little bay areas," she said. "That's where you see the creativeness coming out."
Patrons can buy the art, which usually sells for $50 or less. The most expensive pieces are from award-winning artists and sell for around $900.
"What makes us so unique is that we appeal to everybody," Tuuri said. "You walk in here and if it isn't something that wows you for yourself, it will wow you as a gift for a friend."
Diane Loving, 62, founded the arts guild in 2002 as a way to provide a local forum for art appreciation and advancement. The group has grown to 180 members, ages 16 to 90, featuring both artists and appreciators of art.
Members meet the first Saturday of every month at 8 a.m. at the Windmill Inn and Suites, 4250 N. Campbell Ave. The membership fee is $40 a year and scholarships are available.
Loving, who teaches art history at Wayland Baptist University, said she used to drive around Tucson with artwork in her car looking for galleries or competitions to display her work. Creating the guild not only offered a place for local artists to display their work, but also created a communal environment.
"Being an artist is lonely, and I'm a very social person," Loving said. "You can look at what you're making in a vacuum and think you're onto something, but it's always so nice to have input from other artists."
Around 20 members of the guild are professional art instructors and teach unique classes to their colleagues, like how to use scratchboard or make origami books. Other classes include how to make pop-up greeting cards, money folding and how to draw the different parts of the body.
"We try and give our members what they want," Loving said. "My philosophy is to always think 'yes,' before saying, 'no.' "
The guild also holds quarterly critique sessions as a way for members to receive input from their colleagues.
"Having a community of artists that come together and talk about art and exchange ideas and critique each others' work is really valuable," said 59-year-old Marcia Broderick, SAAG's 2012 Artist of the Year. "We have some wonderful, seasoned artists, who I just love it when they critique my work because I get so much out of it."
According to Loving, another goal of the guild is to reach out to the community and promote the arts, which it does by providing scholarships to local middle and high school students to attend art school.
This past year, it provided scholarships to two college students. Some of the students' artwork is occasionally featured in the gallery.
To Loving, the social aspects of art are just as important as showcasing artwork.
"You can go broke because of this guild," Loving said. "There is a lot of talent in here."
If you go
• What: Southern Arizona Arts Guild Gallery and Studio.
• Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
• Where: 7121 N. Oracle Road (in Casas Adobes Plaza).
• Info: 437-7820 or www.southernazartsguild.org online.
Justin Sayers is a University of Arizona student who is an apprentice at the Star. Contact him at 573-4117 or firstname.lastname@example.org