Pen Dragons Calligraphy Guild was established to further the art and appreciation of calligraphic lettering. We seek to promote the study, appreciation and practice of calligraphy as an art form, and to foster a wider appreciation of calligraphy in all its historical and present-day applications through the free interchange of ideas and techniques. We encourage individual growth and excellence in calligraphy.
“You are keeping the ancient art of calligraphy alive – what a wonderful thing that is! I’ve spent my career immersed in printed words, but calligraphy adds such beauty and depth of meaning to the written word, impacting the reader in a way that no printed paragraph can match.” – Teresa L. Stannard, Director, Parchment Community Library
Ten calligraphic enthusiasts met on October 3, 1983 in Kalamazoo to organize Pen Dragons West as an affiliate of the Pen Dragons Guild of Ann Arbor. Several founding members and others who joined during that first year remain active members to this day. Dues that first year were $20 and remained at that level until 2012-2013 when dues were increased to $25, then to $35 for 2019-2020.
The Ann Arbor Pen Dragons group disbanded in 1987 and the Pen Dragons West name was changed to Pen Dragons Calligraphy Guild. In 2014 the Guild decided to formally incorporate as a non-profit and successfully applied for tax exempt 501(c)(3) status.
Over the years Pen Dragons has held meetings at a variety of sites including Wheaton’s, the Kalamazoo Public Library/Museum, Crossroads Mall, and the Friends’ Meeting House. Since 1994, the Parchment Community Library on Riverview Drive has been the Guild’s home for monthly meetings, many exhibits and workshops, as well as housing our files and Guild-owned lending library.
In addition to sponsoring workshops for our members, the Guild has brought our art to the public by hosting exhibitions in several West Michigan venues, from Three Rivers to Grand Haven, and by demonstrating lettering at local community events, most notably the Kalamazoo Irish Fest.
Constants in our history from the very first meeting include enthusiasm for our craft, dedication to our Guild, and a willingness to share our ideas and expertise with one another. Our skills have improved as we created a community of life-long learners who have adapted to changing times and technology.
“There are no records for me to review which would tell me how many friends I’ve made in my years of calligraphic activities, how the study of calligraphy has enriched my life, or how great is my debt to Pen Dragons for opening my eyes to another world. By writing about workshops and conferences, I have reinforced my understanding of the concepts taught. By spending time with other calligraphers, I have incalculably expanded my horizons.” - Linda Kanamueller, Guild Member
How to Support
Pen Dragons is an all-volunteer non-profit organization. We value not only financial support but also the time and talent devoted to the Guild by our members and others in furtherance of our mission. Please consider the following avenues of support:
Your annual dues help to support the operating costs of the Guild in sponsoring meetings, workshops, exhibits, this website, and our quarterly print newsletter and annual directory.
We encourage our members to participate actively in all the opportunities the Guild offers by attending meetings and workshops, entering artwork in our exhibits, and volunteering time, talent, and energy to support these activities, as well as demonstrating calligraphy at community events.
Many volunteer opportunities are available including jobs as simple as bringing treats to a meeting, writing a workshop report for the newsletter, or acting as a docent at an exhibit, writing a grant for a new educational initiative, or serving as an officer or on a committee of the board. Please contact Pen Dragons for a list of current needs.
While dues cover the bulk of our guild operating expenses, expanding opportunities for learning in our community, such as sponsoring affordable classes, offering scholarships or grants to talented upcoming artists or support for special events such as a major exhibition, requires additional funding.
Please consider partnering with us for future initiatives through monetary and in-kind donations. The board will allocate your gift where most needed to support our mission (see our 501(c)(3) documentation below), or you may be designate a gift for a special project or for our scholarship fund. Do you have an idea about how to create more interest in calligraphy and hand lettering? Please contact us.