Our History

Julian Arts Guild

Founded 1971

Who we are

In the mid 1960s, a group of backcountry artists participated in an art and wildflower show, organized by local artist Dawn Kirkman, and held at the Julian Town Hall. The show, sponsored by the Julian Chamber of Commerce, featured art works on the main floor, with wildflowers on view in the basement. Dawn had joined forces with the Julian Woman’s Club’s wildflower show so the art show would run the same week.

The shows were a hit. The Town and Country News in Alpine wrote about the first official, week-long art and wildflower show in an August 26, 1965 article, reporting “over 1,500 people attended this show during the first weekend.”

An article in the Laguna Revue, in its April 1965 issue, also highlighted the show, stating, “Paintings will be on display in the Town Hall and Mrs. Dawn Kirkman, local artist, will be in charge. There is no admission charge for either show, so why not plan on attending both shows and get acquainted with the people of Julian, California?”

These local artists began regularly meeting after that first art show, holding their monthly meetings in members’ homes and at the local Methodist Church. Then, in 1971, the Julian Arts Guild was officially founded, with members electing Stan Cornette as its first president. Today, Cornette is still a charter member, as is co-founder Dorothy Mushet.

The Witch Creek School, built in 1888, relocated 10 miles away to 4th Street in downtown Julian and became the County Library and Museum, where Guild members held meetings. Then, when the library vacated the former one-room schoolhouse in 2004 for the newly built Julian County Library a mile away, Guild members began holding their monthly meetings there, a tradition that continues today, with some members works on display inside the library.

The art show tradition that began in 1965 continues today, with the Julian Arts Guild hosting two annual art shows a year, plus an open-studios tour in 2021 to celebrate its 50th anniversary, as well as running the downtown Julian Arts Guild Gallery on B Street in Julian. In 2018, the membership voted to include a literary branch of the Guild, adding local authors and writers.

The Guild is made up of a diverse group of artists working in varied mediums, along with choral and literary groups. It welcomes new members. To join, contact today’s president, Bonnie Gendron, at info@julianartsguild.org.


Email: info@julianartsguild.org

PO Box 494 
Julian, CA 92036