Mission, Vision & Values
Over the course of 2021, The Contemporary Austin's full staff, board, and leadership worked together to identify seven core VALUES, set a more expansive VISION, and craft a refined MISSION that reflected the way the museum, its people, and its programs can show up for each other and for its audiences.
We invite you to discover contemporary art in settings that provoke thought and joy. Our programs join art with place in pursuit of a deeper experience, a bigger conversation, and a closer community.
We believe in the capacity of art to transform lives. We dream of a future where more eyes, ears, hearts and minds are opened by contemporary art in all of its forms.
What We Value
Led by a working group of fifteen staff people from across the museum, every person who works here had the opportunity to collaborate on the development of our new institutional values. Our staff is excited to live these values every day in the work that they do. Pictured here to endorse our values are Simone Alexander (Visitor Relations Manager), Liz Brewer (Horticulturalist), Victoria Cantu (Communications Coordinator), Rigo Guerrero (Tour Coordinator), Paustian Hajek (Groundskeeper), Dan Jefferson (Facilities Manager), and Ariel Spiegelman (Art School Manager of Registration and Student Affairs).
It is important that our Mission, Vision, and Values go beyond lip service. They should inform the way we show up to work every day. While these tenets broadly reflect who we are as an institution, a renewed commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility are inherent throughout.
In 2020, The Contemporary's staff and Board began the long process of assessing where the institution stands with regard to DEIA issues and addressing our many shortcomings.
While this work has only just begun, and we have a long way yet to go, here are a few of the ways that we have begun to live our mantras:
- We audited many of our human resources practices with an eye toward diversity, inclusivity, and equity. At the same time, we overhauled the way we approach compensation for our staff with the same lens. While these are definitely works in progress, happiness and care for our staff is a priority.
- We are currently undergoing an assessment of the state of diversity (in all of its forms) among our staff. Once complete, this will set a benchmark for improvement and will inform our hiring practices moving forward.
- We are actively growing our board of trustees to include more expertise and greater diversity in all of its forms.
- We broke ground on an ADA-accessible ramp at Laguna Gloria leading from the manicured upper grounds to the site's more wooded, lakeside lower grounds. This project was completed in Fall 2022.
Of course, this work is not "one and done." We will continue to grow our organization with these principles as our guides and will continue the work to become a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible resource for our communities.
Responding to Your Needs
Our Mission, Vision, and Values address how we show up for you through the programs that we produce and relationships we cultivate. As we've learned more about who you are and how you would like to interact with us we have already started adjusting what we do to make contemporary art more accessible:
- We launched several perennial programs that focus on connection and conviviality, which are so central to our cultural life. These include the Rooftop Sessions series (monthly evenings of art, drinks, music, and camaraderie on the Jones Center rooftop), Drop in and Create! (weekly all-ages art making at the Jones Center), and monthly Members' Happy Hours at Laguna Gloria.
- We responded to the needs of our audience during the COVID-19 pandemic by presenting art outside on our downtown building, providing a free and safe way for everyone to experience contemporary art. We launched the space with Deborah Roberts's first-ever outdoor mural and have now installed a stunning new mural based on the artwork of Daniel Johnston.
- As in-person experiences became harder to count on, we developed a series of make-at-home activities for families, created art supply kits to send home with students at Title I schools over the summer, and shifted many of our Art School classes for students of all ages to online formats. Some of these new offeriengs will now become part of our regular eosystem of offerings, even as we are able to welcome more and more visitors to our physical sites.
Let us know how we're doing! Send your questions and feedback to email@example.com.
How We Got Here
We are forever grateful to the team at Austin-based firm Group Project for leading us through in-depth audience research and the development of new Mission, Vision, and Values statements that we can all be proud of. The process was thorough, methodical, and inclusive, leading to an output that our entire staff and board stand behind.
Would you like to learn more? Feel free to email us with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.