The Berrien Artist Guild, Inc., was founded by a small group of women who had the idea to start an art club. First conceived during a round of “coffee klatchs” in February 1962, Hedwig Dilley and Dorothy Witkoske contemplated the bringing together of art enthusiasts to work, learn and have fun together. Rosemary Di Greggario and Dorothy Schwerdt later expressed interest in the forming of an organization, this making up the four original members of the Guild. Their first meeting on March 15, 1962 attracted 15 art enthusiasts and by their June 2, 1962 meeting the group reached 30 members.
As the years went by the Guild members consistently publicly exhibited their art. In the spring, at Blossomtime, you could see their work in store windows. Others displayed work in galleries and coffee houses. Members also created events and opportunities to inspire and encourage the youth to be involved in the arts. The Artist of Tomorrow was launched in 1967. Local high school students were invited to participate and were awarded prizes for their work. Art-O-Rama, launched in 1969, was an event featuring 50 artists demonstrating a wide range of artistic techniques to help expose the public to new forms of artistic expression.
Ultimately, the Berrien Artist Guild sought to have a place of their own to continue its mission. In 1995, the Guild purchased the historic Williams Bros. Paper Box Mfg. building. This small group of enthusiastic artists painstakingly converted the old factory building into today’s multi-use arts facility known as the Box Factory for the Arts where all the arts are celebrated. Three floors of the 55,000-sq-ft multi-use art center includes artist studios, galleries, a performance stage, classrooms, Art Market, meeting space and more.