The Grünewald Guild is nestled amidst sweet smelling ponderosa pine on the Wenatchee River in the Plain Valley, 14 miles northwest of Leavenworth, Washington. Snowcapped peaks, rushing waters and golden meadows welcome, inspire, and create an environment in which people come to learn, to grow, and to explore the relationship between art and faith.
In order to facilitate and serve as a resource for this exploration, throughout the year we offer various art classes and workshops, in particular our summer season which features 10 consecutive sessions of weeklong classes. When we do not have scheduled offerings our facilities are available to be booked for retreats, workshops, reunions, etc.
The Guild is unique in that the core staff members both live and work here, functioning as a purposeful and ongoing community. This creates a unique environment of welcome and hospitality for everyone who spends time here.
Seeking to embody a special sense of hospitality, we are an ecumenical Christian community that embraces people of all journeys and traditions, serving as a sanctuary for their exploration of art, faith and the mystery of creation. We strive to create a place of sanctuary and retreat for all who pass through our doors, walk our grounds or share with us in community life.
There are a few questions that people new to the Guild inevitably ask:
+ Where does the name Grünewald come from?
The name has a double meaning to it. Firstly, it hearkens back to Matthias Grünewald, a German painter who ignored the classicism and idealism of the current Renaissance style and painted in a more expressive and intense style than his contemporaries. His most famous piece is the Isenheim Alterpiece, which was created for the hospital chapel of St. Anthony's Monastery and portrays a crucified Christ whose skin is covered in lesions and lacerations. Although it was a hideous portrayal in Grünewald's day, it was an incredibly powerful image for the patients at the monastery, many of whom suffered from leprosy and other skin maladies. For us, the works of Grünewald speak of art as a medium of connection and transformation..whether it be personal healing or the reconciliation of social schisms. We see the relationships of art and faith to be powerful media through which positive change can occur. Secondly, the word grünewald in German simple means "green woods"...a rather appropriate term to describe the setting in which we are located: the evergreen forests of the Cascade Mountains.
+ To me, the term "guild" means something very exclusive.
How welcome will I feel if I've never been before?
The use of the term "guild" to describe ourselves refers to the medieval artist guilds: artisans who lived in community as they created. The Grünewald Guild was founded upon the idea of artists living together and creating art within the context of community and relationships. We are the opposite of exclusive: we invite people of all journeys to come and participate in workshops, classes, retreats, etc. Once you have visited, you are considered a member of our extended community.
+ I don't consider myself a Christian - what can I expect?
The exploration of art and its relationship to faith is often a delicate one and requires an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. We work to foster this atmosphere at all times, regardless of what a person may believe or the path they are on. Although we are inspired and informed by Scripture and what we believe to be the best aspects of the Christian tradition, we by no means require or assume that all people who visit the Guild participate in this tradition. We very much try to create a climate of 2-way conversation and learning, seeking to discover what we may learn from others who are walking different paths and have had different experiences. The result makes our art, and inevitably our lives, much richer.
Our summer program consists of weeklong art classes, with each day having a certain structure and rhythm. The morning begins with matins, and the evening closes with vespers. The prayers and discussions during these short times together come from the Christian tradition, and we invite all who are present to participate, but they are by no means mandatory. We do not seek to proselytize others. Whatever your background or beliefs may be, you can expect to be welcomed into our community with open arms and respected as a sacred individual.
To hear what others have had to say about their experience at the Guild, click HERE.