A New Year Message from Amanda Brown


Happy New Year to you all.

In January, many of us make resolutions; the Guild also is beginning the year with resolve, a firm course of action made possible through YOUR support of YOUR Guild.

Fundraising Update (Spoiler Alert: Together, we did it!)
Thanks to the generosity of individuals, families, local businesses and foundations, we exceeded the $15,000 goal for our matching grant. I appreciate the leadership of our board of directors on this project and particularly the gracious gifts made by our staff toward earning the match. Gifts from our December appeal put us over the top – thank you – and impressed the foundation so much that they have given us an additional grant for operations in 2021 AND a donation toward ongoing upgrades to the Robert T. Webb Sculpture Garden, which they called “a unique and invaluable arts asset.” We’re pretty happy to be called “unique” and “invaluable;” but we’re happier to begin 2021 with stability, something that was sorely lacking throughout the last year for most non-profit organizations. All of our 2020 fundraising events were cancelled, along with many classes, performances and event rentals both during and after the formal lockdown. We were not alone; arts organizations across the country have struggled. While donations to our Covid Relief program will not completely offset all of our lost income, it makes a TREMENDOUS difference.

Snow Queen Tickets
Tickets for the 15th anniversary performance of the Snow Queen may be purchased by following this LINK for the shows on Friday, January 8 at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, January 9 at 4:00 p.m. (abridged, narrated performance) and 7:00 p.m.; and Sunday, January 10 at 2:00 p.m. Seating will be socially distanced AND Live Stream tickets are also available to watch the performances from the comfort of your home.

Operational Update
To significantly close the gap between income and expenses, we’re making a major organizational change: the Guild will close our satellite facility on Cleveland Highway in April - ending, with a heavy heart, our gymnastics program, although we’ll proudly support our gymnastics program and competition team through until the end of the season. During the holiday closure, we returned our dance program to Waugh Street in a newly renovated space.

There could be no better landlord than Barrett Properties, and Bob Caperton has been incredibly helpful as we looked for a way to help our gymnasts transition and return the dance program to its original studio space. Another exciting community development we would like to share is that Culprit Athletics plans to step into our Cleveland Highway facility when we leave it. The Guild will complete our gymnastics programming as planned in April, the facility will be closed for renovations for the month of May and Culprit Athletics will be reactivating the gymnastics facility in June – so our gymnasts can continue their training without interruption with Culprit Athletics if they choose. We appreciate the community-minded conversations and collaborations that have helped to create such a positive transition for us all.

To prepare for the changes and the homecoming, we have also made many essential updates to our Waugh Street facility over the past two weeks: new gallery lighting (installed in loving memory of our late friend Anne Farrow thanks to generous gifts in recognition of her devotion to the Guild); sound proofing of our music studios; and new additions to and organization of our visual arts classroom, so that all of our students have exciting improvements to look forward to. We are stewards of YOUR Guild, and our resolve has never been greater to ensure the organization’s long-term stability as we approach our 60th year, deliver exceptional instruction in our core programs and provide outstanding arts experiences for the greater community through exhibits, performances and special events. We are YOUR Guild, serving OUR community, and, together, we are entering 2021 strong and resilient.

Sculpture Garden Update
In November, we added a beautiful red Betty Gold sculpture to the Robert T. Webb Sculpture Garden, completing the tenth anniversary acquisitions. During the holidays, Robert and Roman purchased and donated three additional pieces for the garden: Sea Ribbons (1986) by John Richen (bronze and steel); Double Meta Box 4 (1972) by Gerald DiGuisto (steel); and Untitled by Jesus Tellosa (kinetic iron). These will be installed in the spring, and we’ll have a new sidewalk in the Ken and Myrta White Magnolia Crescent and new signage throughout the garden in 2021.
Health and Safety at the Guild
As we begin the new year with more students and families coming to our Waugh Street location for classes and programming, it is important for everyone to observe the directional signage in our Waugh Street parking lot – entering from Waugh Street or from Hawthorne Street and circling up through the parking lot in order to keep the front drive as a “one way” drop off. Just as we were practicing at the Cleveland Highway facility, dancers should be dropped off at the front door for class, and parents will be asked to wait in their cars. For any parents who would like to tour our new studios, please call 706.278.0168 to set up a time to view them. We would love to host an open house for everyone to see the wonderfully updated space where our dancers will learn and grow, but given the coronavirus restrictions and safety precautions, that isn’t possible at this time. We have no doubts that this will become “home” for all of the dance students very easily and quickly.

Staying in Touch
Throughout the new year, we’ll keep you updated on the Guild through e-mails, social media posts and our website. We continue to take precautions for everyone’s safety, but we are moving forward with a full schedule of classes, events, exhibitions and performances. Thank you for standing with us through challenging times. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Best wishes for a safe, healthy and happy 2021.

Amanda Brown, Executive Director