Rest as Resistance

Banner graphic with dark blue background with a faint white circular shape in the center. Text reads: Come join us in the Portal. National Guild logo at bottom.

June 17, 2022

Over the past couple of years, there have been more conversations in the ethos about self care and the importance of rest. As we collectively deal with ongoing stresses related to the pandemic, racial injustice, climate change, a culture that encourages mass violence, etc., it takes a toll on all of us, and it’s critical that we care for ourselves so that we can continue to show up for each other. Since long before the pandemic, People of the Global Majority and people with disabilities have been urging us to understand the importance of rest to our wellbeing—particularly the ways that capitalism systematically denies rest to the most oppressed people in society, impacting their ability to live fully, resist, and thrive.

We at the Guild will mark our entrance into the Portal on June 24th with a two week office closure, because in order to prepare for our upcoming journey of transformation to more fully embody our Racial Equity Principles, we need to be rested and able to bring our full energy to the work. From then until the completion of our new strategic plan, in an act of community care, we will hold off on our long-established programs to allow for deep internal reflection, research, planning, and dialogue with you. 

Our time will be spent creating space for meaningful conversations about what you want and need right now; how the Guild can best make an impact as a national organization supporting community arts education; and how we can work to repair harm and shortcomings the Guild has caused throughout our organization’s history—as well as examining Guild practices and programs through an anti-racist lens and identifying what needs to shift in our organizational culture. Interrupting the constant cycle of production and burnout and allowing ourselves to rest can be important steps towards ending cycles of institutional harm and getting right with ourselves and others.

The Nap Ministry, founded by artist and theologian Tricia Hersey in 2016, created a framework called “Rest as Resistance” by which we are deeply inspired.

“Our work is seeded within the soils of Black radical thought, somatics, Afrofuturism, womanism, and liberation theology, and is a guide for how to collectively deprogram, decolonize, and unravel ourselves from the wreckage of capitalism and white supremacy. We believe our bodies are portals. They are sites of liberation, knowledge, and invention that are waiting to be reclaimed and awakened by the beautiful interruptions of brutal systems that sleep and dreaming provide.”

—The Nap Ministry

Everyone deserves rest—not only on special occasions, and not only in order to improve our productivity. Our fullest capability to challenge oppressive systems and imagine new ways of being becomes accessible when we stop rushing, and rest. The Portal will afford us the time and space to worldbuild an organization centered in racial equity and liberation. We hope that someday in the near future, everyone in the community arts education world will have the ability to regularly recharge, reflect, dream, and reconnect to our common purpose. This is a future that we believe is possible if we work together to make deep shifts, one organization at a time. 


If you had more time to rest without any guilt or shame, what would become possible for you? Who in your life do you wish was allowed more rest?


Some resources about rest, dreaming towards action, and joy:

Rest is anything that connects your mind and body. (The Nap Ministry / Tricia Hersey)

Rest, Respect, Reciprocity (Deem)

Communal Dreaming (Annika is Dreaming / Annika Hansteen-Izora)

Joy & Recovery ( / Tema Okun)

Published: June 17, 2022