Letter to our Community

Dear Arts Guild community,

You have often indulged me in reading my bad poetry and lengthy news updates, so I hope you will indulge me again. It is with mixed emotions that I have put in my resignation at the Arts Guild. I have accepted a position at St. Olaf College as the Assistant Director for Academic Civic Engagement that will allow me to spend more time with my family and to engage more deeply in direct program management.  My last day of full time work at the Guild will be on September 27.

I want to thank you all for your tremendous support over the last two and a half years. I have heard so many amazing stories from members, donors, sponsors, and volunteers about the impact that the Arts Guild has had on them and their families. I feel so proud and privileged to have heard these stories and been a part of creating new creative memories for our community. These moments of working with all of our supporters to keep Northfield vibrant and thriving are moments that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Many of you have probably heard me talk often about finding balance for the organization, and we have sought to create balance over the last few years—between our programming and budget concerns, between needs and wants, between the many different facets of the organization. I hope you will understand then why I needed to make this shift so that I could find more balance in my life for me and my family. There are inescapable stresses and challenges that are attached to leadership positions such as Executive Director, stresses that, despite the amazing support of the Board, staff, and supporters at the Guild, are not conducive for me achieving a healthy balance in my life at this point in time.

Please know that there has never been a day when I wasn’t grateful for the opportunity to serve our beloved community in this capacity within this awesome organization. If you’ll have me, I still very much want be a pART of the organization as a member, donor, and patron (and maybe as an artist, too, if you can convince me to audition J). I’m not leaving town or even truly leaving the organization; I’m simply changing my role, so don’t be surprised if you still see me around!

The organization is as strong as it has been in years, and it is in such incredibly capable hands. The staff members–Heather, Rachel, Megan, and Bridget–are four of the most passionate, dedicated people I have ever met, and the organization is so fortunate to have them. I have no doubt they will continue to move mountains as they work on delivering on the organization’s mission each and every day. The board, now up to 13 members (plus two more joining in September), is robust, engaged, and focused on moving the Guild forward. The amount of governing policies and procedures they have implemented over the past two and half years is just one testament to their desire to keep the Guild operating at its highest level.

I am working with the Board and staff to make this transition as smooth as possible for the Guild. I truly believe that I was exactly who the organization needed at the time, and I am confident that the organization will find exactly who they need to continue the upward trajectory of the organization.

I want to invite you all to the annual Members’ Meeting on September 21 from 6-7 pm. During this time we’ll recap highlights of the year and share more information about the Executive Director search process and timeline. The job posting will likely be up by the end of this week, so please keep an eye out for it and forward onto your networks. In addition, if you have any immediate questions or concerns about the process, please feel free to reach out to Virginia Lorang, Board President, at board@northfieldartsguild.org, or any one of the Board members.

If I may leave with one parting request, if you are able, could you make a gift to the Guild at the end of our fiscal year (August 31) so we can finish the year strong and prepare the organization for the exciting road ahead? Supporting this organization is not about supporting one person or even a group of people. It’s about supporting all of us, wherever we are on our creative journey, as an artist or arts enthusiast. It’s about recognizing that to have a great community to live in, we need the arts to flourish so that each person can imagine and make real the impossible, finding creative solutions to our most pressing challenges. It’s about understanding that when creativity is alive, our heARTS are full to love and share joy—together—as a community.

With unending gratitude,

Alyssa Herzog Melby
Your Positivity Perpetuator