2009 End of Year Directors Note
December 2009

What an amazing year this has been!

When we started the year in January 2009, we were nervous. The stock market was collapsing, banks were on the verge of failing, unemployment was rising, and the world was filled with uncertainty.

And silly us, we had planned our most ambitious calendar in Sitka's history of workshops... 101 bright and shiny new classes. The catalog was heading to press and it was too late to turn back. Would anybody show up?

Add to that a $250,000 challenge from a major donor that was languishing. It had been 4 years and we had barely raised 1/4 of the money we needed to complete the match.

In February our Office Manager, the only employee with more than a year of tenure under her belt, had to leave for health reasons... and we picked this time to revamp our databases, our accounting system, and our registration system. Insanity.

Sitka has gone through a rebirth of sorts. We are re-tooling and refining our systems while we are becoming a recognized icon of the non-profit arts world. We are committed to becoming a model organization that sets the standards by which other organizations are held to account. There is much to do.

This past year, in a down economy, we set record attendance levels for our workshops: 849 people. We set record attendance levels for the Sitka Art Invitational: 3013 people. We met the John Gray Challenge and raised $507,000 to help expand our artists' residency program which serves artists, writers and musicians in the same way that research and development laboratories serve scientists. With your help, we had a balanced budget for the first time in 4 years. Thank you for your support!

Instead of retreating in fear, Sitka has advanced. We have invested in new technology to make ourselves more efficient. We have hired brilliant, caring people who are in love with the work they do to make this organization stronger. We have reached out to new friends and old friends to help us do our work. We are crafting a brighter world so that our children and our children's children can discover the joy that comes from interacting with art and nature to the benefit of all.

You have been part of this process. This past year, you invested in the Sitka Center. And while the stock market returns were decent during 2009, your investment in Sitka produced returns that will multiply over your lifetime and beyond.

This is not a 3-year mission we are on. This is a hundred-year quest to discover what is best in ourselves and bring it out through art, music, writing. These disciplines, when combined with the inspiration of nature, offer benefits that are life-changing. We strive to see the promise of this work fulfilled. You are helping us on our way.

Thank you!

Eric Vines
Executive Director 541-994-5485