Desert Artist Guild (DAG)

The Desert Artist Guild is a member of the Ajo Council for the Fine Arts.

DAG members are a versatile and multi-talented group. They work in a variety of media — paint, watercolor, ink, pencil, digital images, clay, fabric, glass, wood, metal and more.

Ajo’s art “club” actually had its beginnings in 1985, the same year Phelps Dodge closed its copper mine in the town. Diane Carnright, long-time Ajo resident and current DAG member, recalls how the group began.

“Several artists and quilters were having a show in the Plaza. Someone from Phelps Dodge was in town. He came over afterwards to speak to us. He asked one woman to start a quilting club and he asked me to start an art club. And it’s been going ever since.

“We used to meet around town, sometimes in the Legion Hall or the Federated Church. And we had shows in the VFW. Membership has been up and down. Once we were down to 5 members. Another time we had 60.”

The art “club” has gone through many changes since those early years. Now called the Desert Artist Guild, it offers a range of programs and events for its members:

Art Shows
For many years DAG held two shows a year, a one-day show in late fall and a one-month show early in the new year. With the opening of the new Art Under the Arches artist-cooperative gallery in November 2015, a decision was made to forego these shows for the time being and focus instead on the Gallery and hosting shows there.

Business Meetings
Meetings are held once a month, usually from October to April. Check the Calendar for dates and locations.

Lunches and Programs
Members often get together over a monthly lunch to visit and talk about art. Sometimes the lunches are combined with art-related programs. Check the Calendar for dates.

Plein Air Paintouts
En plein air is a French expression meaning “in the open air.” It often refers particularly to painting outdoors. It was a common technique in France in the 19th century. The Desert Artist Guild offers occasional plein air sessions in Ajo during the winter months. Check the Calendar for dates, times and locations. Want to know more about the history of en plein airClick here