About the Guild
Founded in 1937, the National Guild for Community Arts Education is the sole national service organization for providers of community arts education. We believe in the power of the arts to transform lives. Our work helps realize that transformation every day.
We serve our membership of over 400 organizations and individuals who span 46 states and a wide range of artistic disciplines, as well as the broader field. Many of our members partner with human services agencies, youth development organizations, public schools, senior centers and healthcare providers to increase equitable access to arts learning by, with, and for their communities. Guild membership is currently "pay what you can" (learn more about membership).
In order to strengthen organizations and further advance community arts educators' practice, the Guild offers learning opportunities and resources, leadership development, and connection with fellow practitioners. Our current programming is open to both members and non-members, and focuses on addressing racism, ageism (e.g., creative youth development and creative aging), and trauma, as well as shaping a resilient future for community arts education beyond the COVID-19 pandemic (learn more about 2021–2021 programming).
To ensure all people have opportunities to maximize their creative potential by developing leaders, strengthening organizations, and advocating for community arts education.
We envision a nation where arts education is accessible and embraced as essential for human development and healthy communities.
We are guided by our core values of leadership, equity, community, and creativity:
We are dedicated to developing and supporting effective leaders who can empower people and organizations to advance community arts education.
We are committed to the ongoing effort to dismantle oppressive structures including racism, gender-based oppression, ageism, ableism, and more, because our mission cannot be achieved until all people can live freely and in their full dignity.
We value the pursuit of creative processes that change lives, neighborhoods, communities, and inspire innovation for the public good.
We believe that co-creating programming by, with, and for our communities promotes resilience, strong relationships, and transformation.
Photo: Mosaic Youth Theatre (Detroit, MI) at the 2017 Conference for Community Arts Education
Why Community Arts Education Matters
Community arts education only exists for a few in this country. There are inequitable opportunities for those most at the margins to realize and embrace their full creativity, feel liberated and whole, and exercise that creativity and sense of wholeness for community change. This is a problem, because we believe that community arts education is essential to human development and healthy communities.
People thrive when they participate in community arts education programs that are sustained and responsive to community needs. Arts learning can fuel people’s imaginations, build critical learning and life skills, promote better health, and generate a sense of shared culture and community belonging.
As people of color and marginalized communities are disproportionately impacted by the multiple crises of this time, community arts education is more crucial than ever as a vehicle for activism, individual and collective self-expression, and healing.
For these reasons, we engage in advocacy on behalf of the field of community arts education.