Northfield Arts Guild: A Local Treasure

By Kosmo Esplan

For thousands of years, art has captured people’s attention. Whether it be visual, theatrical, or musical, art comes in many forms. And the Northfield Arts Guild proves that.

nagThe Northfield Arts Guild has been a staple of the Northfield community since 1959. From the moment of its inception, the organization has strived to please audiences with its beautiful artwork showcases, entertaining theatrical productions, kid-friendly programs, and stunning musical concerts that’ll leave you singing a song or humming an instrumental tune for days.

All of this is thanks to Myrna Johnson, a founder of the Northfield Arts Guild. Myrna sadly passed away last March, but her legacy is forever embedded in the Guild. Truly a gift to new generations, the Guild is ever evolving and changing to engage young people while still interesting patrons who have been with the organization for years. As Myrna had wished for, the Guild was founded “to last forever.” And because of her dedication and creativity, it likely will do just that.

That being said, the Guild went through a difficult time during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges, the Guild ensured that entertainment and art was still delivered to Northfield. After sixteen months, live theater finally made its return in July with the opening of The Lion in Winter in Central Park. Opening night was sold out. An audience member commented to director Rachel Haider, “Your show was a total triumph, full of energy, humor, humanity, and love.”

And that sums up what the organization contributes as a whole to Northfield. I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with the theatrical branch since 2016’s Robin Hood. From a participant’s perspective, with its diverse skill sets, the Northfield Arts Guild brings joy to everyone involved. The Guild offers a creative outlet that enriches the lives of those who want to take part in the arts. Most importantly, the core of the Guild is the people. It’s all about the people. And that’s what makes a community a community, isn’t it?

its-a-wonderful-lifeThe Guild recently hosted a grand opening of their 62nd theater season. If this eventforetold anything, it was that the 2021-22 theater season is going to be a big hit. In October, the Guild’s first show of the season opened: Deathtrap. Anna Olson, the new Performing Arts Manager, said that the cast and crew were “a dream to work with.” If you missed Deathtrap, worry not! There are still plenty more theater performances to come. During the holiday season, Purple Door Youth Theater will put on a radio version of It’s a Wonderful Life. Bright Star, Native Gardens and Peter and the Starcatcher will round out the season.

Of course, these aren’t the only events the Guild has planned right now. With activities for Winter Walk, stunning exhibitions, and must-see concerts fast approaching, the future of the Guild is looking bright.

Having been involved with the Guild, I can say that partaking in this “local treasure” is greatly rewarding. I wish the same for you. I think that this quote from all-around thespian Rachel Haider perfectly encapsulates the Guild experience:

What I most love about the Guild is its welcoming atmosphere and people. If you love any aspect of the arts there is a place for you at the Guild. If you are a beginner or a professional, you will feel at home with the Guild. Musicians, painters, actors, ceramicists, designers, writers, dancers . . . whatever your passion or your curiosity, the friendly folks at the Guild will embrace and encourage you. Join us!

Myrna would be proud.

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