Butler County Art Guild expanding reach in region | News
MORGANTOWN – The Butler County Arts Guild has crossed county borders and attracted members and performers into its group.
“What we have discovered is that we have a lot of people come to our meetings and events from outlying counties,” said Karen Lain, vice president of the arts guild.
People from Logan, Ohio and Warren counties have attended events and membership meetings, she said.
“We will continue to highlight Butler County, but we are working on becoming a regional arts facility. We are excited that we are getting enough attention from people in other counties that they have started to notice what we are doing and participating,” Lain said. “I think there’s some things that other communities aren’t doing. We started a writers’ group, and we have recently started a songwriting group and we have people from out of town come to those. We do something all the time. I think we fill a void that other communities don’t have.”
Lain and other arts guild members use social media and other tools to promote the group’s activities.
“We are not just about having a place to do arts and music. We are concentrating on promoting the arts in the region,” she said. “Even though we are a rural area, we think the arts can benefit the community in numerous ways. … It helps the community’s financial bottom line because what we have found is that people from out of town will eat here and stop and get gas, so we just think the arts are important on various levels, not just mental health but also financial health.”
Josh Hampton formed the arts guild in 2013, according to Lain, but it wasn’t until the group had a permanent location thanks to a donation from Butler County Attorney Dick Dye in 2016 that the arts guild really started to see a turnaround.
“When that building was donated to us, that was the turning point for us,” Lain said. “Roger Givens, president of the arts guild, has done a fantastic job. He’s from the area and has done a great job. At the same time, the whole group works together as a team and we are truly a team effort. … Right now, we have around 40 members, and we have a junior arts guild that is for middle and high school kids. We feel like if it wasn’t for our arts guild a lot of kids and adults wouldn’t be exposed to this type of thing.”
Givens said he “always thought” Butler County needed an arts guild or similar group.
“I’m an author, and I’ve written a couple of books,” he said. “I love music and art in general. I think arts are important in the community. I love doing it. We have been really successful.”
Lain said she encourages anyone who wants to join to do so.
“We have a member that lives in Utah and in Las Vegas,” she said. “We take people from all over. I don’t want people to think it is just for Butler County.”
The cost for membership is $20, and $10 for the junior arts guild.
The arts guild is currently closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the next monthly meeting is at 6 p.m. March 31 at 115 W. Ohio St. in Morgantown. The arts guild will evaluate its options at that time, Lain said.
– For more information and a list of upcoming events, visit the arts guild’s Facebook page at facebook.com/ButlerCountyArtsGuild.
– Follow Daily News reporter Will Whaley on Twitter @Will_Whaley_ or visit bgdailynews.com.