The Caddo River Art Guild (CRAG) was founded in 2006 by five local artists who painted together for many years and saw a need to promote the art and artists in the area. With that goal in mind, they organized the first Round About Artist Studio Tour in the fall of 2007. This was the genesis of the Caddo River Art Guild which was officially incorporated and received non-profit status, 501(c)3 in 2007. This status allowed the guild to seek and receive funds and grants from several sources. These were used to provide advertising for the studio tour bringing in hundreds of visitors from Arkansas and beyond. The Round About Artist Studio Tour continued to grow each year, thanks in large part to this initial funding.
The studio tour, as well as many other events, was cancelled in 2020 due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. It was decided to change the tour in 2021 into an arts event that included not only visual arts, but food vendors and live music. Working with the City of Arkadelphia, the 1st annual Arkadelphia Festival of the Arts was born. Read more about it under the Arkadelphia Festival of the Arts heading.
The guild members are very active in the community, offering various art related workshops to the public, two years of Youth Art Workshops, participation in the Christmas parade, decorating the façade of the Arkadelphia Arts Center for the downtown Celebration of Lights. The guild has sponsored Pop-up Benefits for the Clark County Humane Society. The 2017 effort raised supplies and funds valued at $1400 and the 2018 effort topped that at $1500! The summer 2021 exhibit at the Arts Center “Dog Days of Summer” displayed various forms of art depicting dogs (and cats) was also an opportunity for collection of items needed at the shelter.
Each monthly CRAG meeting features a program that highlights a facet of the art world and is led by members or visiting artists. Some past programs include framing, interior design, flower arrangement, art in the state capitals, paint pour, image transfer to fabric, beginning steps to drawing, pen and ink, bookplates, printmaking, photography, collage, portraiture, art with children, fabric art, and color exploration. Twice a year the program is Show and Tell. Members bring something they have been working on, or anything relating to art, then show and tell about it, always a fun program.
Members range from the casual art admirer to the professional artist and include public school art teachers and professors of art in higher education. Membership is open to anyone who wishes to join.