Now in our 80th year, the National Guild is taking this opportunity to articulate new language that will form the foundation for our future as a leader in community arts education. After working closely with our board of trustees, members, and other valued stakeholders, the Guild has changed its vision, mission, and values to better reflect our belief in the power of creativity and the arts to transform individuals and communities, and our deep commitment to leadership, equity, and social and racial justice. Our 80th anniversary is a time to reflect on our remarkable past—but also a time to lay the groundwork for the next of 80 years of developing leaders, strengthening organizations, and advocating for community arts education.
“Over the course of the past two years, the Guild has worked to clarify its own core values while also taking the time to articulate the change that we all hope to see in the world,” said Terry Hueneke, chair of the Guild’s board of trustees. “Maximizing creative potential, developing leaders in the field, building healthy communities, strengthening and sustaining organizations—this work, consistently approached through a lens of social and racial justice, will define the National Guild in the years to come.”
Beginning in 2015, the Guild’s staff and board began to identify increasing misalignment between our mission and vision language and the Guild’s dynamic impact in community arts education. While leadership development is at the heart of the Guild’s contribution to the field, our mission and vision language did not reflect its centrality in our work. Beyond that, while our mission spoke to the need for access, we knew that that language alone did not fully capture our commitment to racial and social justice in arts education.
To begin to rearticulate our mission and vision, the Guild looked to a central philosophy of the Community Arts Education Leadership Institute (CAELI)—the importance of clarifying one’s core values before taking meaningful action. Understanding our values as an organization, particularly in regards to our voice on issues of social and racial justice, required internal discussion as well as engagement with external stakeholders that offered tools and expertise. Internal reflection included, amongst other activities, a task force composed of board and staff members that was formed to investigate how our stated values could align more closely with our programmatic commitment to equity. Engagement with external stakeholders included an anti-racism training with full board and staff led by diversity and equity consultant Dr. Derrick Gay.
Through this multifaceted process we clarified our values as an organization—Leadership, Equity, Creativity, and Community—and were better equipped to articulate a mission and vision that aligned with those values. We believe that the revised vision, mission, and values statements more clearly express the ultimate impact of our work while providing a clear compass to help guide us in the future.
“Over the course of 80 years, the Guild has found myriad ways to strengthen the field, but—at the core of our impact—is a commitment to maximizing the creative potential of our communities through transformative initiatives: CAELI, Creative Youth Development, Creative Aging, the Conference for Community Arts Education, timely and responsive online learning, robust national networks, and the list goes on,” says Jonathan Herman, executive director at the Guild. “Our rearticulated vision, mission, and values offer a clearer picture of who we are as an organization and the change that we will affect for years to come.”
Published: June 20, 2017