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Strategic Plan 2018–2022

The Block Museum as Frame of Mind

Download our Strategic Plan 

Letter from the Director

For our campus community and the many publics we serve, the Block is a space for examining assumptions, reframing questions and bridging perspectives. We believe deeply in the capacity of art encounters to catalyze thinking about what is at stake for us in our lives. What is important if we are to lead meaningful lives? What imprint do we want to leave as a trace of who we are? How can we change history by creating future narratives that allow us to learn from the past? We invite all of our visitors to join us in sharing art experiences as springboards for thinking critically about who we are, where we have been, and where we are going.

The Block’s mission points in a “Northwestern Direction.” Its distinctive identity amongst academic art museums is inextricably linked to the DNA of the University and what Northwestern refers to as the “And/And”—an emphasis on innovative interdisciplinary study and research.

Rooted in a process-driven practice that emphasizes dialogue and collaboration, the Block’s work reaches across the whole spectrum of the University. We ask, “How do fields of human endeavor and creativity intersect in unexpected ways that yield entirely new ways of thinking?”

From the inception of an idea through its realization as an exhibition or engagement program, we connect along the way with an increasingly broad range of academic departments, centers, and institutes, and link to the University’s unique resources. The interplay of process and content results in innovative scholarship and programming, encouraging discussion that begins with artworks and extends far beyond the traditional frame.

This new strategic plan sets out goals that will sustain and amplify this ethos over the next five years. With it, we also embrace Northwestern’s mission to provide an education that prepares our students to live purposefully and to make the world a better and more equitable place for all.

-Lisa Graziose Corrin, Ellen Philips Katz Director

Strategic Priorities

  1. Stimulate Student Meaning Making

    Be a go-to place for student study and research, experiential learning, social gatherings,
    and discussion of bold, big world issues and ideas.
  2. Amplify Faculty Partnerships

    Be a recognized convener, a valued resource, and a sought-after partner for faculty
    across Northwestern.
  3. Galvanize Community Partnerships

    Ensure the Block has a stake in Chicagoland’s cultural landscape while making it a relevant art museum for its surrounding communities.
  4. Cultivate Global Perspectives

    Encourage a broad view of human experience, culture, and history, and be a magnet for global exchange by bringing the world to Northwestern and taking Northwestern to the world.
  5. Activate Our Unique Identity

    Fuel, strengthen, and share the Block’s particular model of a campus art museum.
  6. Create our Future

    Maintain momentum and ensure the sustainability of the Block’s work while preserving its core values.