Who We Are
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.
Snowcapped peaks, rushing waters and sweet smelling ponderosa pine welcome, inspire, and create an environment in which people come to learn, to grow, and to explore the relationships between art, faith and community.
Throughout the year the Guild offers art classes and workshops in our studios and contemplative spaces. When there is no scheduled programming, our facilities are available to be booked by groups or individuals for retreat, personal study, workshops, reunions, etc.
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.
What 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. They 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.
The mission of the Grünewald Guild is to welcome and inspire all who seek to explore the relationships between art, faith & community.
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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.
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 which was not embraced by the university. Following a year-long sabbatical, Caemmerer realized this new model could better be implemented outside the university setting which had too interruptions with its scheduling. This new model needed to allow for continuity of spirit, momentum and focus – elements that drive a work of art.
The acquisition of a deserted Grange Hall in the rural community of Plain, WA, in the Cascade Mountains was the beginning of the development of what has become a 16-acre campus with the 10 buildings housing the Guild today. Classes in art began within the first year, 1980, in the renovated Grange Hall.
The Guild’s history has been marked by the hard work of many hands, enthusiasm and creativity beyond imagining, and passion and curiosity that continues to move the Guild forward.
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 are available on his website, rrcstudios.com. Richard’s vision for the church, the Guild, and his prolific artwork continue to inspire people all over the world. And, 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”?
The Guild’s namesake is Matthias Grünewald, a German painter who challenged the classicism and idealism of the Renaissance. The work of Grünewald served as a medium of connection and transformation in both personal healing and the reconciliation of social schisms, and became a catalyst for positive change.
In addition, the word grünewald in German means “green woods,” which appropriately describes the Guild’s setting in the evergreen forests of the Cascade Mountains.
“Guild” hearkens back to the concept of medieval artist guilds, communities in which artisans both created and lived. The Grünewald Guild was founded upon the idea of artists living together and creating art within the context of relationships. People of all journeys and traditions are invited to come and participate in this creative community.