The Phoenix Artist Guild was founded by Ruth Palmisano in 1984 with the help of Pat Gellenbeck and Addie Kozel, (our first president) and it was soon up to 150 members. Ruth also founded the Arizona Pastel Artists Association in 1996 and also the Paradise Valley Art League.

Ruth Palmisano was a professional artist, who taught for 20 years in classrooms and seminars, as well as teaching art on two cruise lines from Alaska to Hawaii. Ruth juried shows and led critiques throughout the country.  

She had several solo and two-person gallery shows, and judged many exhibits including the Arizona State Fair. 

She gained community recognition for her work with Arizona State University and received recognition from the library of congress for her artwork and written articles on art. Ruth’s paintings have hung in many juried exhibitions and she received best of shows, best of class, and the Arizona State Governor’s Award.

She was an expert in many mediums. Ruth has been not only a mentor but also a bright, guiding light to many of today’s artists. 

Ruth’s terribly missed by many students as well as others whose lives she has enriched. In the year 1999, the phoenix artists guild wanted to recognize her by bestowing “the Ruth Palmisano best of show” award which continues to this day at our annual exhibits both judged and juried. Thank you, Ruth for making us all art enthusiasts. 


We lost Pat Gellenbeck on March 25, 2015. Pat, one of the founders of the PAG, struggled with health issues for several years, but we will always remember her smile and her and her husband Dan’s endless efforts to make PAG a fun and popular art league.  She was active in PAG since its inception in 1984. We dearly miss you, Pat.

The PAG board recognized Pat Gellenbeck with the first place watercolor award in her honor; (29 years of service on the board).  This is a lifetime award.