56605 Sitka Drive
Otis, OR 97368
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April Director's Journal

This month, Sitka is awarding two new year-long fellowships to recent past residents of the Center. Adam Swanson will serve as Sitka’s first Literary Arts Fellow, and Licity Collins will serve as Sitka’s first Music Fellow.

“I am thrilled by the opportunity to do what I can to help develop Sitka’s footprint in the literary arts space,” shares Swanson, whose fellowship will include acquiring new texts for Sitka’s art and ecology Hale Reference Library and hosting community readings with local writers and past Sitka residents.

Literary Arts Fellow Adam Swanson

“A line of inquiry enters my mind whenever I visit a library or bookstore. I wonder things like, “What ideas are being supported here? What questions are being asked? What opportunities for inspiration exist here? What’s missing?”

Listening to Swanson’s intimate and inclusive vision for the role that books play at Sitka, my imagination is sparked.  I can’t wait to eavesdrop on the conversations that hidden library treasures and enlivening additions to our shelves will have with each other and with people who find their way through the forest and fog to the library.

“The word ‘potentiality’ comes to mind when I think about books and literature and libraries,” Swanson continues. “Libraries cannot fire a kiln or write poems or haul canvases and paint up the Cascade Head. But the books and knowledge and stories that live in a library can influence how we act and what we create, assuming their potential is discovered, nurtured, and explored… At a place as unique as Sitka, where goldenrod grows and silverspot butterflies live and the elk roam—what are the words and ideas available to the people who occupy this space?”

Music Fellow Licity Collins, who first came to Sitka as part of a collaborative residency curated by Black Art/Ists Project Fellow Intisar Abioto in spring 2023, will curate a collaborative residency of her own for music-based artists in spring 2025. Collins’ vision includes participants co-creating a new body of collaboratively composed and scored spoken word work, as well as participation in an ensemble piece written by Collins.

Music Fellow Licity Collins

“In nature, in orchestras, in choruses, in jazz combos, in rock bands—anywhere there is music, there is a harmony and counterpoint between individual expression and collective input,” Collins offers. “…Any work of music requires the same from all who step forward to create it.”

When Collins shares her vision for music at Sitka, I hear a resonant blend of active collaboration and co-creation, coupled with an appreciation for how attentive listening in nature influences the creative process.

“I believe in the power of nature, silence, contemplation, awareness and rest… I am thrilled to be able to share this experience… [Sitka] is a place of peace, expansion and deep nurture,” Collins expresses as she prepares to gather a cohort of musicians “to experience these magics together.”

Meanwhile, Black Art/Ists Project Fellow Intisar Abioto has curated a third cohort of collaborators who are in residence at Sitka now. Read about the participating artists and ecologists in this newsletter and hear them speak at a special Resident Talk on May 2, moderated by Abioto.

Black Art/Ists Project Fellow Intisar Abioto

Congratulations, Adam and Licity, and welcome home to Sitka, Intisar. I am grateful for your leadership and collaboration in service of artists, ecologists and interdisciplinary creatives. Sitka feels alive with new possibilities.

A few thank you notes on the library: Through the generous support of Sitka friend and neighbor Bill Hale, Sitka’s library has shelves. The reference library was established in 2001 and named in honor of his parents, Warren W. and Mildred K. Hale. Sitka remains forever grateful to longtime neighbors and volunteers Connie and Pete Owston, who lovingly oversaw the library collection for many years.

If you would like to make a special donation to help support Sitka’s library acquisition project or fellowships, visit our website or reach out to me directly.

Looking forward to celebrating the Hale Reference Library's 25th birthday in 2026,

Alison Dennis

Executive Director