About the Guild
The Grünewald Guild is an arts education nonprofit retreat center nestled on 16 acres of Cascadian woodland, bordered by the Wenatchee River in the Plain Valley of Washington.
Throughout the year the Guild offers art classes and workshops in our studios and contemplative spaces. When there are no scheduled programs, our facilities are available to groups and individuals for retreat, personal study, workshops, reunions, etc. Snowcapped peaks, rushing waters and sweet smelling ponderosa pine welcome, inspire, and create an environment in which people come to learn, grow, and explore the relationships between art, faith and community.
To nurture and animate a shared creative life.
The mission of the Grünewald Guild is to welcome and inspire all who seek to explore the relationships between art, faith & community.
While rooted in an ecumenical Christian faith, the Guild embraces people of all journeys and traditions, recognizing the rich fullness of hospitality that practices mutual respect, ensures safety and develops trust. Core staff members both live and work at the Guild. This meaningful and ongoing community supports the sacred space for creativity.
We increasingly hear from people who come to know life at the Guild is that a place like the Guild is important and greatly needed, especially today.
People need times of rest, respite and reflection.
People need spaces in which to experience contemplation, creativity and community. From this nurturing environment emerge new ways of living, being and moving throughout this world.
Our Core Values
The core values of the Guild flow out of the mission statement and guide us in how we seek to express that mission in the world. We understand these values as mutually enriching, helping to weave together the fabric of our life at the Guild.
- Art – The Grünewald Guild believes in the transformational power of the arts and in the practice of creative expression, a dimension of life that is present in each person and seeks expression in a multitude of forms.
- Faith – Rooted in the ecumenical Christian tradition with an openness to the diverse spiritual paths that each person pursues, the Grünewald Guild welcomes those of all faith backgrounds and all seekers who are drawn to our open door.
- Community – The Grünewald Guild is a place of gathering and of shared journey, a dynamic community where those present are enriched through experiences of creative expression, rest, work, play, and reflection.
- Welcome – With a deep appreciation for the diversity of the human family, the Grünewald Guild honors and affirms each person who comes to be with us and seeks both to provide and share a mutual hospitality marked by warmth, nourishment, and rest.
- Exploration – At the Grünewald Guild, we invite the practice of discovery, of following inspiration, of expanding one’s artistic and creative horizons, of learning and expressing insights, and of encouraging others in their search to deepen and broaden their lives.
- Stewardship – At the Grünewald Guild, we seek to live in a sustainable way, to be responsible in caring for the land, and to be wise stewards of our physical and financial resources, which are the expressions of gifts given and shared by an extended community of love and support.
Since 1980, the Grünewald Guild has been exploring art + faith + community in Plain, WA.
Much of the early inspiration for the Grünewald Guild was born from limitations in the university model of teaching art. Richard Caemmerer, who had been a university art professor for 22 years, envisioned and proposed a new way of teaching art that was not embraced by the university. Following a year-long sabbatical, Rich realized this new model could better be implemented outside the rigid schedules of the university. This new model needed to allow time for continuity of spirit, momentum and focus – elements that drive a work of art.
Rich started putting this new model into practice in 1980 when the Caemerrers acquired a deserted Grange Hall in the small rural community of Plain, WA. Amidst the Cascade Mountains, Rich began the processes of building what would become a 16-acre campus. Classes began immediately in the the renovated Grange Hall.
Richard and Liz Caemmerer co-founded the Grünewald Guild in 1980. Together they established and shepherded the Guild community for 26 years, inspiring so many with their vision and passion for art, faith, and community.
A retrospective of Richard’s prolific works of art is available on his website, rrcstudios.com. Richard’s vision for the church, the Guild, and his artwork continue to inspire people all over the world. Liz’s spirit continues to enliven the Guild and all those who were graced to know her in this life.
Why the name “Grünewald Guild”?
At its core, the Guild a place of learning. People come to study their chosen area of art in the context of a community of artists. When they leave, they are charged with the work of returning to their homes and sharing what they have learned with their communities. This is straight from the artisan guilds tradition, stretching back into the depths of human history.
The Guild’s namesake comes from 15th Century artist Matthias Grünewald, with specific connection to his Isenheim Altarpiece. Grünewald was a favorite of founder Richard Caemmerer because he painted Jesus Christ as the god of all things. Grünewald showed that, “all those things that caused him [God] pain, he withstood. And he can do it. And you can do it. Why? Because it’s already been done” (R. Caemmerer, 1979).
Finally, Grünewald translates from German as “green woods” – an apt name for this place that sits among pines and firs in the middle of the Cascade Mountains.