Strategic Planning

Strategic Plan 2015-2020

Over the past twenty years, CMW has engaged in a living experiment, creating new roles for musicians in today’s society to be artists, educators, and citizens concerned
with the well-being of our communities. The organization’s work encompasses four strands: musical performance, education, community development, and modeling this work for other musicians and communities. As we look ahead toward 2020, we envision the coalescing of these strands to further our impact as a “revolutionary organization”
(Alex Ross, The New Yorker).

Our vision for the next five years includes seven goals.

One important goal is the acquisition of new space. A facility that supports the formal and informal interactions among musicians, young people, community members, and visitors,
can help CMW more fully realize its mission. In a hub of activity, we envision the many CMW strands coming together to build greater musical and community experiences.

New space will help set the foundation for other important aspects of our Strategic Plan. Our successful teen program helps develop student voice and leadership skills, growing
a sense of community wherein each member feels their individual voice is important to the whole. This significant work will be expanded to each aspect of our programming. Through expanded programming for younger students, new concert formats and repertoire, and increased interactions between musicians and our constituents, we expect to grow our contribution to a healthy, vibrant community. In addition, we aim to strengthen our organization through operations, governance and revenue.

Overall, coalescing these various elements will position CMW to continue to lead a national conversation about the public role for musicians in the twenty-first century. We will demonstrate through our local practices that musicians can engage and contribute positively to the health of communities and to a thriving civil society.

Sebastian Ruth
Founder & Artistic Director

A summary of our 2015-2020 Strategic Planning goals:


Goal 1: Phase II for All

CMW’s Phase II program brings together music-making, the weekly practice of dialogue, and social bonding through the ritual of a meal. This work lies at the intersections of social
justice pedagogy and music education, and our goal is to bring elements of Phase II to younger students, families, and audiences to more fully realize a vision that music learning
can be a critical part of civic life.


  • Create opportunities for our youngest students to learn leadership skills and explore concepts of social justice.
  • Develop strategies for families, community members and concert audiences to explore the intersection of music and social justice.
  • Increase peer mentoring across the CMW program, and engage our alumni in programming, artistic and administrative roles at CMW.


Goal 2: Joy in Practice

Our organization is committed to helping students reach their
highest potential as artists and as individuals. Our goal is to
ensure that all students have the tools to excel at their craft,
are encouraged to develop a meaningful artistic practice, and
access the joy of self expression and music making.


  • Design new programs for young children to enter into the practice of music making.
  • Expand external supports for students in developing their musicianship.
  • Enhance professional development for CMW teachers so that they can offer the best educational experiences to students.


Goal 3: Music Transforms

We will explore the intersection of music and community transformation through the performance life of our ensemble in residence, strengthen its identity, develop a broader audience, and commission works that reflect our mission.


  • Program performances that create deep ties with Providence’s South and West side communities, and involve students and the community in the concert planning process.
  • Plan performances that create revenue.
  • Strengthen our ensemble’s presence and following.


Goal 4: Leading the Conversation

Through our Fellowship program, Institute for Musicianship and Public Service, and participation in national conferences, CMW contributes to the international dialogue about music and social action. We will continue to develop programs and communications to build networks, contribute to and learn from this growing field.


  • Build connectivity between, and offer learning opportunities to, the growing network of Fellows and IMPS working in the field.
  • Design a strategy to support Fellows programs.
  • Create resources through which the CMW model could be shared with the field at large, and participate in convenings to learn from other organizations.


Goal 5: Healthy, Vibrant Communities

A healthy community is one in which people support one another to develop to their fullest potential. We aim to contribute to the growth and vitality of cohesive urban community in Providence neighborhoods through musical programming, festivals, and cross sector collaborations that support the lives of young people, families, residents, and musicians.


  • Strengthen the web of support that CMW offers to families by building relationships with community partners who can provide accessible services and information in other areas of families’ lives.
  • Improve families’ experiences with accessing and participating in CMW programming.
  • Engage with issues in the community through musical performances and events.


Goal 6: Where We Live

CMW envisions a welcoming and identifiable facility to fully realize its community goals, enhance its visibility and establish an enduring destination for its mission, thus strengthening the sustainability of our organization through place.


  • Strengthen CMW’s long-term sustainability, viability, and efficiency through a new space.
  • Design a space that will afford new opportunities for our students’ learning and allow our teachers more efficiency in their teaching.
  • Create a physical environment that supports greater community engagement and opens new opportunities for inspiring programming.


Goal 7: On Solid Ground

Over the next five years our goal is to further strengthen sustainability of CMW through strong and consistent organizational governance, an expanded revenue model, and the optimization of systems of operation.


  • Enhance and develop CMW’s board membership and committee structure.
  • Research and test new streams of revenue for the organization.
  • Ensure CMW’s sustainability through efficient and effective operations.