2011 End of Year Directors Note
December 2011

Just as you turn up the long winding road to the Sitka Center, there is a little clearing that gives you a glimpse of the estuary, the sand spit, and the ocean beyond. It's like passing a picture window that looks out onto one of the most beautiful views in the world.

Each day as we come to work, we marvel at that view and reflect on the fact that we are here because of the hard work of those who have come before us. In the 1950's and 60's this area was a sheep ranch. Lucky sheep. When it was sold to a developer, Mike Lowell, he had a notion that part of the area should be donated to the Nature Conservancy, and part of the area should be designated for educational land use. The Sitka Center was an organization looking for a home, and Cascade Head was a community looking for an educational organization...a match was made.

The early years at Sitka Center were rocky and uncertain. There were more than a few times when it seemed like the fledgling organization might not last. Frank and Jane Boyden provided a founder's vision. Virginia Morgan helped forge programs in the late 1970's that continue to this day. Del Smith and Randall Koch provided decades of guidance to the Sitka Center. In total, we have had 141 board members and 15 executive directors. Having survived for 41 years, we have their wisdom and experience to help guide our decisions.

But we aren't resting on our history or taking our success for granted. We know that we are only as good as your most recent experience with us. While we don't always succeed, we strive to make every workshop experience amazing and every residency time transformative. We are working to make your experience with Sitka one of joyful surprise and personal discovery.

And so it is with profound gratitude that we thank you for giving us an amazing year in 2011. Sitka runs efficiently. We manage our dollars carefully, and the work we do is valuable for the betterment of the world. But running workshops and residencies is far from profitable. If it were, someone would do it for a business! We exist because you donated. It's that simple. If we lived by earned income alone, we would have been out of existence long ago.

So let's talk for a moment about what your donation purchased this year. You helped enable 987 people to take a workshop this year. You provided 23 artists with a life changing residency experience. You gave 130 artists a chance to show their work at the Sitka Art Invitational. And 76 people went home with a piece of art that they love. You helped raise $160,000 for our endowment and $370,000 for our facilities renovation project.

You helped 15 high school students from Lincoln County have the chance to take a workshop at Sitka through our high school scholarship program. You provided the elementary students at Neskowin Valley School with a guest artist experience. You enabled a scientist from Colorado to share his discoveries relating to Northwest stream ecology. You gave the Lincoln and Tillamook county communities the chance to meet a painter from New York and a writer from Maine. You enabled pictures to be painted, poems to be written, films to be edited, sculptures to be carved, and photos to be composed. You sparked love, joy, the thrill of discovery, and helped provide a place where creativity could deliver a healing balm to those who have lost loved ones. You gave life to art and set free the souls of those who learned again that they can create something of beauty using only their hands, their eyes, and their infinite imaginations.

You. You did all this with your gift. You made it possible. We can thank you, but it's the world that owes you a debt of gratitude. You took what the people before us started, and you made it better.

We hope to see you soon. And thank you!

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