The Houston Calligraphy Guild was founded in 1979 by charter members Linda Abel, Skip Blakely, Anne Cheney, Cindy Haller, Dick Hedges, Lee Jared, Betsy Rivers, James Storrs, Pat Vecellio, and Peggy Wells. Anne Cheney and Cindy Haller remain members of the guild that now has almost 150 members, including six from out of state and three international members. Through the years, the guild has remained a wonderful community resource for those in love with lettering arts.
Every second Saturday of the month from September to May, the Houston Guild meets at the Tracy Gee Community Center. The meetings include a business meeting and a program offered by guild members or guest lecturers. Further, the guild offers a free Early Bird Program prior to each meeting that provide opportunities for hands-on creating from calligraphy to general book arts. Meetings are free to attend for both members and the public. During July and August, the guild offers summer study opportunities for members and non-members alike.
In an effort to provide even more educational opportunities, major workshops are coordinated by the guild workshop chair three times a year. In addition, two-three mini-workshops are also offered annually. Every other year, the guild hosts a weekend retreat at a local hotel that includes classes, evening demos, and freebies to participants. Members are non-members are eligible to attend. Guild members also travel to local schools, museums and other organizations to lecture, demonstrate, and offer hand-on opportunities to those attending.
Being a part of the Houston Calligraphy Guild is advantageous for a plethora of reasons. Besides the local educational opportunities, guild membership also exposes members to national conferences and keeps them abreast of what is happening in the calligraphy community all around the world. Members also receive HANDSCRIT, a newsletter created for and by guild members.
Community outreach and local teachers help the Houston guild continuously maintain and increase membership. Monthly meetings build loyalty, and collaborating with other Texas calligraphy societies in the annual Southwest Calligraphy Conference keeps the guild aware of whose on the national teaching circuit, what new products are available, etc. To encourage members to study on their own, the guild offers two scholarships annually to promote more intensive study. Recipients then share what they learn by presenting guild programs.
The programs and the mini-workshops held by the guild, as well as many of the major workshop, are suitable for beginners. Guild members strongly suggest that those just starting out in calligraphy find a teacher and take classes. Joining a guild helps beginners find those opportunities. If you are interested in joining or just learning more about the Houston Calligraphy Guild, you can visit their website at: www.houstoncalligraphyguild.org.