Northfield Arts Guild’s mission is to inspire artists of all ages and skill levels with inclusive opportunities, connect audiences to new art and ideas, and grow our increasingly diverse audience to strengthen our community.
The vision of the Northfield Arts Guild is an evolving community where the arts fuel vibrant growth.
The guiding values of the Northfield Arts Guild are:
- Creativity: We believe in the creative process and that by nurturing, supporting and developing the creative energy of the community we enrich lives.
- Respect: We are dedicated to creating a culture that respects individual abilities and understands and supports the diversity of the artistic disciplines. We know that operating with openness and integrity strengthens connections and fosters trust.
- Collaboration: We embrace the skills, strengths and perspectives of our diverse community and we will work together, across boundaries, to fulfill our mission. We aim to foster a participatory environment that empowers people to get involved and we believe that understanding how we are connected makes our work stronger.
- Joy: We recognize and celebrate the arts. We welcome opportunities to openly celebrate individual and group achievement, and congratulate those contributing to Northfield’s artistic community.
- Quality: We are committed to having the highest possible caliber of staff, programs, performances and volunteers from our community and beyond and are dedicated to continuous improvement in our work.
- Heritage: We are proud of our long history in the Northfield community and those who contributed generously of time, talent and resources to lay our foundation. We honor our traditions and draw on past experiences as we evolve and innovate for the future.
61 years ago, a visionary group of artists and patrons saw that what Northfield needed most was a gathering space for the arts, where everyone is welcome and included.
Meeting around a kitchen table, these founders planned the Guild’s first ever production, Ah Wilderness, which opened on August 20, 1959 at a former church on West Third Street. The Guild continued to program at the site, acquiring it in 1961 as our permanent first home. Over the next two decades, the Guild grew to offer programming in theater, visual arts, arts education and more.
In 1979, the Guild expanded with the addition of our downtown building, continuing the building’s rich civic history – first built as a YMCA in 1885. Our downtown site provided the Guild with space for a large gallery, dedicated studio/classroom space, a gift shop, and offices. In 1988 the Guild purchased the building, and we continue to present abundant programming in theater, music, visual arts and arts education within these two historic buildings. In 2017 we expanded programming provide free and collaborative arts outreach activities throughout Northfield. It is thanks to the efforts of our community that the Guild was created and continues to thrive.
Today, it is hard to imagine Northfield without the Guild. 34,000 people visit the Guild annually, enjoying nearly 100 annual arts events and 30 or more weekly art classes. The Guild is also very active in developing Northfield as an arts tourism destination, acting as fiscal agent and business consultant for several projects.
Interested in learning more? Read about the history of the Guild from founder Myrna Johnson’s perspective or watch the video below featuring Myrna, Sue Shepard (first Executive Director), and Patsy Dew on the founding of the Guild. The video was recorded as part of a Northfield Historical Society’s Oral History Project.