Published by the Brevard Cultural Alliance:

—Brevard Cultural Alliance, Dec 2012 

The Loft at 909 East New Haven Avenue in Melbourne conjures an old soul. In habited by the Art Students Guild for the past 43 years, it has seen the peculiar as well as the uplifting, and its eclectic personality mirrors the 50 members who paint in its nurturing womb. Though located in the middle of downtown Melbourne, it transcends location; it transports.

The loft has served as a hurricane shelter to members families and pets, never sustaining much damage. An octogenarian couple was married here. One member, unbeknownst to anyone till a body imprint on the models platform was noticed, lived here for three months during his divorce. It simply looked as though he had arrived early to paint when members showed up! Three times a week this 2,500 square feet of paradise welcomes members for workshops featuring live models for artists to draw in charcoal on giant sheets of newsprint pinned to wooden easels.

International artist Frits van Eeden presented an action packed workshop here in March, followed by portrait painter John Houghton. Yearly Christmas parties are a rite of passage. With exhibits of members latest creations lined up on the wall and the house4 ever-present Christmas tree, the unforgettable parties dazzle with original live bands.

The karma here is great, says longtime member Virginia Raymond. You can feel it when you walk up the stairs. I've NEVER come across a place like this good happenings, always live models, with great landlords who attend our parties, and it has a real art spirit.

When two lives touch, they can never be separated. That is the way I felt the first day I stepped foot in the Guild's loft. Guild members and guests work side by side, yet each in his own world, to realize a vision or hone their skills. A model’s break is time for coffee and art “shop talk.” Dozens of hats hang from the open rafters in the unfinished space. Members may use studio space at any time. Props, some as old as The Guild, wait to provide inspiration.

"The Guild" is different things to different people - but to all it's a revelation of a place they did not expect to find in Brevard County, Florida. New artists are welcomed, and none should feel intimidated by whether they can match the skills of those long time participants - we are all students of art and support each other.