Dear Sitka Community,
Last week I made the difficult decision to cancel Sitka’s 2020 summer workshop season (May -September), due to ongoing COVID-19 health and safety concerns. This was not a lighthearted decision, but Sitka is not just a place, we are a community. We care about you deeply, and the health and safety of all of you—instructors, workshop participants, volunteers, staff and our coastal neighbors—is our highest priority.
With this in mind, we reached out on Thursday to those signed up for workshops to share our decision, and to begin the cancelation process. The response has been nothing short of extraordinary:
“I think this is the responsible decision and I support it fully, though we are all grieving for our art & culture events and other organizations we all support.”
“So sorry! We will miss being with you all this summer!"
“I’m so sorry...so much loss.”
Since joining Sitka as Executive Director in October 2018, I have seen time and again our community’s devotion to this beloved place called Sitka. Today, I stand in awe of each of you for your commitment to our shared home on the edge of wild. This place where art and ecology meet, and creativity abounds.
While your warm response is heartening, it also intensifies my own sense of grief. The prospect of a summer without gathering and creating together is heartbreaking. I feel an immediate sense of summer loss and an urgency to take action toward a vibrant future. My inner Joan-of-Arc-meets-Statue-of-Liberty trumpets, “Not on my watch! Art matters. Nature matters. The world needs places like Sitka.” Now I know just how many of you feel the same way.
Sitka relies heavily on revenue from our workshop season to balance our annual operating budget, and we are now projecting an $80,000 budget gap. Building on the early generosity of those who have already reached out, we believe we can close this gap. So far, nearly 40% of those whose workshops canceled earlier in the year have chosen to give. Join these early leaders by making a gift to help us reach this goal.
Many of you have reached out to express concern for Sitka’s staff. Our team is working from home and receiving full pay, adapting as needed for the summer. Together we are imaginatively designing new experiences to keep us connected. Stay tuned for details in the weeks to come.
Thank you for bringing joy to Sitka, and for your ongoing commitment to our art-and-nature-inspired community.
P.S. If you are registered to take workshops with us this summer and did not receive an email from us regarding next steps, please email email@example.com.