June 28, 2023
From May 31 to June 2, Guild staff and board visited Chicago for a three-day organizational retreat (we also held a Community Space gathering with Chicago community arts education practitioners—read about that here).
On our first day, we were thrilled to be hosted by Merit School of Music—a longtime Guild member organization, where Guild trustee and former board chair Duffie Adelson was President for many years (and is now a Life Trustee). We were fortunate to get a tour of the building from Duffie.
One highlight of the tour was the library which, in addition to books, includes musical instruments and even formal concert attire available for students to borrow.
It was beautiful to see evidence of Duffie’s legacy as we walked around the building, including a photo of Duffie on the Oprah Winfrey show talking about Merit’s work, and a plaque listing recipients of a scholarship in Duffie’s name.
During that first day we made significant strides in our strategic planning process with consultants Heather Heslup and Allegra Brown. They got the creative juices flowing by starting us off with a collective artmaking activity.
During this in-person session, we focused on Strategic Directions, which included setting SMART goals, creating measurable outcomes to support those goals, and deciding which goals will be prioritized in the timeline of the next few years. This set us up for the final step of the process, which is action planning.
The Guild has undergone deep transformation over the past couple of decades, and the Portal has provided us with an even deeper opportunity to reimagine this 85+ year old organization and our position in the community arts education field. We have now reached a stage in this process where the shape of the Guild’s future is more concrete, and there’s a lot of energy and excitement around what has emerged! Thank you to all who have provided input during this process, and we can’t wait to share the new strategic plan with you this fall.
On our second day, we met at the National Museum of Mexican Art. We had a restorative circle facilitated by Jainelle Robinson, where we talked about some of the challenges and conflicts that have come up as part of this transformative organizational process. We began with an activity where we each wrote down the values that are most important to us in this work, and then added them to a circle in the middle of the room so that we could collectively ground in our shared values.
The retreat concluded with staff presentations, board committee reports, and board discussions about how they can support all of the work that’s happening now and moving forward.
Thank you to Duffie Adelson for being our local trustee and point person, and Merit School of Music and the National Museum of Mexican Art for hosting us!
Published: June 28, 2023