A visit to Alexandria, Virginia became the initial inspiration for what would become the Baltimore County Arts Guild. Long-time Baltimore County Catonsville resident, Jack Murphy, and his artist wife, Judy, took a day trip to The Torpedo Factory Art Center located on the waterfront of the Potomac River in Old Town of Alexandria. Historically it was a torpedo factory and munitions storage site. It now houses artists’ studios, galleries, workshops, and more. They loved it and Jack believed Baltimore County could benefit culturally and economically from a similar project.
He took his vision to the Catonsville Chamber of Commerce and, with their encouragement, he began an outreach effort to attract others to this vision. Local community leader and business woman, Kirby Spencer, was serving on the Baltimore County Commission on the Arts and Sciences. She agreed to support the endeavor and invited fellow commission member, Kate Martiyan, to participate. Together they began meeting, planning and adding interested artists and others to their team.
By the Spring of 2012 they had a core organization and in December 2012 the were incorporated as B’more Artists Guild. Their first art exhibit and show was held that December in the Catonsville Bloomsbury Community Center and was a success! In April of 2013 they repeated their success with another art show at Bloomsbury Center
During 2013 and 2014 the Guild expanded its Board and its reach throughout Baltimore County. To reflect its broader mission and goals, in 2014 the Board changed the name of the organization to Baltimore County Arts Guild. In addition to an outdoor Artstravaganza in April of 2014, the Guild added an Art-AGstravaganza in October. This venture was a collaboration with the Maryland Agricultural Research Center in northern Baltimore County which encouraged arts in an agrarian setting.
In early 2015 the Guild leased approximately 5000 square feet of commercial space in southwestern Baltimore County. This site is the first official home for the Guild, including space for offices, artists’ studios, exhibitions and classes. With this location, the Guild begins to fulfill its mission of “bringing the arts home.”