Studio to School

Learning Community Reflection

E-Journal #14

The Studio to School initiative is an incredibly rare and unique opportunity to dive deep with significant resources alongside an amazing, open, community of fellow passionate individuals. This industry attracts passionate and dedicated people that want to do their best to provide the highest quality experience for their communities. However, non-profits and schools tend to get caught up in their own worlds. This is not due to the fact that we are territorial or lack the desire to partner. It’s largely because we all tend to do a lot with a little. We find a way to turn $1 into $5, to exceed expectations (often at the expense of our staff), to complete grandiose tasks within short timeframes.

One of the most useful aspects of being involved in the learning community has been attending the August Rendezvous with the entire cohort. Our project, school, non-profit and community has evolved every year as have many if not all of our fellow teams. Having the support of the cohort at the end of the year through guided conversations with OCF allowed us to be thoughtful in how we would approach adapting and responding to those programmatic shifts. Without that dedicated time each year to reflect before the next school year began, I feel strongly we would have continued to face the same challenges.

There are many highlights from our team’s experiences at the Rendezvous’ to share. A few special moments that stand out are:

  • Walking through the gardens, playing silly pool games and creating a collaborative animation with everyone in Silverton. 
  • Going on a scavenger hunt through Sisters to see how so many businesses contributed to the creative culture and economy of this special place.
  • Catching up with one another while eating wood fired pizza as we looked out on to the Gorge.

The list of special memories goes on and on but what I’m really trying to communicate is that through these fun annual events we were able to engage with one another in an authentic way. We got to visit one another’s communities and see how diverse and beautiful this state truly is.

Being a member of this learning community will continue to shape the way both Open Signal and Open School approach programming. We both have witnessed the value and importance of dedicating time to reflection and seeing things on a broader scale by involving others in our work. We are absolutely stronger together and have so much to share and learn from one another. We intend to continue providing time and space for those key elements to be at the forefront of our work.


Taylor Neitzke

Project Lead

The Oregon Garden, Silverton
Hood River
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