2010 End of Year Directors Note
December 2010

As we look back over the last 12 months, we marvel at all that has happened. New buildings, new staff, new board members, new workshops, new residents, and a whirlwind of events and celebrations, each contributing to a very full, very rich year.

In April we completed construction on two new residences for artists and instructors. Designed to reflect Sitka's values, the buildings stand on pilings (helical anchors, to the architecturally-minded) intended to avoid disturbing the surrounding spruce trees. They use efficient radiant heated floors, with large (but well insulated) windows to let in lots of natural light, and floors, cupboards, and decorations made with recycled materials. The instructors and artists who have enjoyed them so far have described them as "magical." We take that as a good sign. The carved wooden porch-posts on the lower residence were finished in December and they look terrific!

The construction finished on time and under budget, which means we now have seed money for energy efficiency upgrades in our aging studios and original residences. The need to complete this next step in our campus upgrade plan is growing. This summer, for example, we set a new record - 998 people - for workshop attendance. This is a 36% increase over two years and indicates the continued quality of our workshops. It also highlights the importance of maintaining our facilities into the future. (We are planning an exceptional season in 2011, so stay tuned for your catalog early next month.)

Also, thanks to our new apartments, we have expanded our residency program to provide more artists, writers, musicians, and natural scientists with time and space to develop their work. The program is already the largest in the state, one of the top ten in the nation, and was just honored with a "Golden Spot" grant from the Ford Family Foundation in 2010. The benefits of this added dynamism to Sitka's community is already extending to our local schools, environmental organizations and business partners.

In order to continue these inspiring programs and provide ongoing financial sustainability to Sitka, we also, in 2010, began building our endowment. With an initial pledge of $500,000 by John Gray (contingent on us raising an additional $1.5 million) and an additional donation of $150,000 by Kennon McKee, we are a third of the way to raising our goal of $2 million. This is the most important action we can take right now to ensure the Sitka Center's long term success and we are grateful for the support of our friends. We have until March of 2012 to complete this goal and we have every expectation that we will succeed. As always, your help in reaching out to those who have the means to contribute is very much appreciated. (Five hundred people at $2,600 each and we are there!)

Out of everything that happened in 2010, it was ultimately our connections to friends that brought us the most happiness. Not only did more people than ever decide to become donors to and members of Sitka (518 to be exact), but on August 28th we celebrated an entire, joyful day with many of our long-time friends and supporters during Sitka's 40th Year Celebration. You confirm our belief that this organization brings out the best in people, provides transformational experiences, and makes the world a brighter, more loving place.

So here's to a 2011 built on the depth and strength of our roots, and the beauty and energy of our new growth. Your support allows us to bring you the quality artistic and ecological experiences you have come to expect, and for that you have our deepest gratitude and affection.

We hope to see you soon. And thank you!

Sitka Board and Staff
Eric, Jalene, Ernie, Rebecca, Mindy, Ariel, Sarah, Jane, Laura, Marlys, Carol, Nancy, Pat