Amana Arts Guild

Home to a retail outlet for local artist – offering art classes and special exhibits as well

The Amana Arts Guild is located in the tiny village of High Amana and is housed in the form village church.  It offers a rich diversity of programs and activities providing a wide range of cultural experiences in all area of the arts. Established in 1978 as a non-profit organization, the Guild continues to expand its list of programs and serves as a valuable resource for the Amana community, the state of Iowa, and the entire Midwest region.

Arts + Crafts

The arts and crafts of the Amanas were originally German in origin, functional in design, and practiced in order to help maintain the community’s self-sufficiency. Although the church elders frowned upon frivolous activities including art, practical items were often embellished with beautiful designs and color. The 20th century has brought about many changes to this community, yet today many of the traditional art forms exist. The Amana residents still practice woodworking, willow basketry, needlework of all kinds. quilting, blacksmithing, rug-making, and weaving. The culinary arts of cooking, smoking meat, making wine, baking bread and brewing beer are other thriving traditions.

Today, as Amana artisans grow older, every effort is being made to pass on their knowledge to the next generation, so that the future will have a living past.  The Arts Guild educational program includes seasonal classes and summer (July) workshops for children and adults. They include but are not limited to painting, blacksmithing, basketry, tinsmithing, woodworking, rug weaving, and photography.

The Amana Arts Guild desires to bring all the arts to all citizens and encourages efforts of all citizens in the preservation of local cultural heritage. In addition, it offers the public a variety of seasonal events including Woodfest, a Festival of American Basketry, a Festival of the Arts, a Fall Fiber and Clay Art Show, a Communal Meal Celebration as well as Biannual Song and Poetry Festival. Each year the Guild presents a “Friends of the Arts Award” to individuals who have made important contributions towards the growth of artistic life in Amana.  Along with the arts center in High Amana, the Guild maintains a wagon and blacksmith shop in West Amana.

learn from the locals