Our Story

Pictured: The original Creative Arts Guild building in Downtown Dalton, located at the old fire house on Pentz Street, circa 1960s. Photo courtesy of the Bandy Heritage Center

Pictured: Our current building, located at 520 W. Waugh Street in Dalton. The decorative stripe was added in 2023 in homage to the stripe painted on the old firehouse and in celebration of our 60th anniversary.

The Creative Arts Guild is the oldest community-based multi-disciplinary arts organization in the state of Georgia.

Founded in 1963 by a group of civic leaders, the Creative Arts Guild began as a community grass-roots movement originally housed in the Old Firehouse on Pentz Street. The Guild began offering art, music, dance and theatre classes as well as gallery shows and exhibitions. As programming and class attendance grew, plans for a larger facility were developed. In 1981, the Guild moved to its permanent home at 520 West Waugh Street. The vision of that small group of patrons has grown into an organization that now houses four educational departments as well as our Arts in Education outreach programs, events, gallery exhibits, music and dance concerts and recitals and acts as a hub of culture for North West Georgia and South East Tennessee

The Guild's Visual Arts, Music, and Dance Departments as well as the Guild's administrative offices are housed at our 520 West Waugh Street location. The Guild's Waugh Street location houses all private music lessons, group music classes, visual art classes, culinary classes, and dance classes. Waugh Street is also the home of the Guild's galleries and performance spaces - Gallery FIVE20 and Gallery ONE11  - hosting regular gallery exhibits and opening receptions as well as music concerts and performances. Our Spigel Pavilion is underneath our building and hosts various events, concerts, and performances.

The Creative Arts Guild is a non-profit organization as defined under section 510(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Service Code that is supported by instructional fees, commission sales, rental fees, donations from individuals, corporations and foundations as well as funds from the Georgia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Guild Also provides services to the City of Dalton to support the City's vision of progress and growth.

The Symbol of the Creative Arts Guild

The Guild’s logo was first used as a symbol for the Buonarroti Family (of Michelangelo renown) in Florence, Italy around 1150 A.D. The symbol became an integral part of the Buonarroti family crest and became synonymous with their honor, wealth and prominence. 

During his childhood, Michelangelo saw this symbol everywhere from archways above the front door to letters written by his family. He started to use the symbol as a motif in many of his architectural designs to represent family, home, security and wealth. 

The founders of the Guild in 1963 chose this symbol as it embodied many of the values they hoped the Guild would come to represent – security, family, home, honor, and a prominent spot in the hearts of the community as well as honoring the tradition of guilds where artisans learned their trades.