May 3, 2022
Dear Guild Family,
Thank you for caring for our communities through the arts, using creativity as a powerful tool for transformation. Thank you for how you responded to the pandemic—dealing with impossible challenges, and coming up with brilliant solutions grounded in love. You inspire us every day. Thank you for the deep questions you’ve been asking in order to create paths forward in this new world and in the community arts education field.
Over the past 100 days, we have been having some important conversations that are centered in the love that we have for you all. Although a lot of our programming offers opportunities for learning, the truth is that we are constantly learning from you. During the Groundwork: Healing within Community Arts Education series last fall, so much of what was shared by advisors, presenters, and participants resonated deeply with us. Here are a few lessons that we’re hearing particularly loud and clear:
As organizations that are rooted in community, we can’t gloss over the deep, messy internal work that’s required to put liberatory values into practice.
It takes time and energy to unlearn the oppressive behaviors and practices that all of us have been taught, and to re-train ourselves to follow new paths.
Rest, dreaming, and healing are an important part of our everyday lives, and in order for us to build a just world, we must recognize them as such.
As we sit with these lessons, we recognize that in order to support you in ways that are consistent with our values and our racial equity principles, Guild staff and board need to slow down and realign ourselves. The tradition of science fiction and speculative fiction tells us that it takes time and space to imagine and dream up a world before you can build it. And that work, in itself, is radical and profound. We’re dreaming up a way of getting where we want to go by entering (what we’re calling) a “Portal” of transformation.
In this spirit, we will be holding off on producing the Guild’s long-established programs from July 2022 through the completion of our strategic planning process (which begins in 2023). It’s become clear that a constant program cycle doesn’t allow us the space we need to move with intentionality, make sure we’re fully embodying our values, and supporting you all. This time in the Portal will allow us to focus on our relationships, learn, reflect, process, and ultimately build new policies, practices, programs, and a strategic plan that are human-centered, community-centered, and grounded in liberation.
The most exciting part is that YOU are coming into this Portal with us. The internal work that we do during this time will be guided by your needs, desires, creativity, and love for community arts education. There will be multiple ways for you to join us in this space of reflection, shaping, and building. We’ll be listening to what you would like to see from us, and what we should work towards together as a movement.
It is thrilling to have this space to connect with our creativity and community! We acknowledge that it is a privilege to be able to claim this time, and we believe this expansiveness should be available to each and every one of us. We want to thank organizations and individuals like Allied Media Projects, Pretrial Justice Institute, Stronghold, RYSE, the Nap Ministry, Kwayera Archer, and many more for showing us that stepping outside the grind for a while to focus on our own transformation is not just possible, but necessary.
As Prentis Hemphill says, “We each exist in a constellation of love.” Thank you for being part of ours, and for being a force of growth and change in the world.
Yours in creativity,
The National Guild for Community Arts Education
We’ll be sending more info in the coming weeks about what this will all look like. In the meantime, here are some answers to questions you may have:
Stay tuned for more information, including how you can be involved!
Published: May 03, 2022