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Dennis family quilting collaboration - with newfound appreciation for the "Flying Geese" block
As the days shortened this fall, I found myself transfixed by the V-formation movements of geese and other waterfowl migrating across the darkening sky. Feelings of grief and gratitude surfaced as I witnessed individual birds taking altruistic turns at the front of the formation, sharing the burden of the unforgiving journey ahead.
This has been a hard and heartening year.
We began 2020 filled with joy and anticipation for what was projected to be Sitka's best attended workshop season ever and a year's worth of special events celebrating our organization's founding and 50th anniversary. Instead, we had to cancel the workshops, put the birthday cake on ice and adapt our flight plans to changing circumstances.
What has lifted me up above this year's cloud of uncertainty without fail is the teamwork and collaboration of Sitka's staff, board and community, who grouped and regrouped as needed to find new ways to nurture the creative spirit in all of us and to face each unforeseen challenge together.
Workshop participants donated cancelled workshop tuition so that Sitka could invest in future
plans. Through your membership renewals and end of year gifts, the momentum not only continues but is also being matched by a generous group of donors.
Instructors and staff came together to pilot online workshops and plan the safe return of on-campus workshops in 2021, all designed to adapt to changing physical distancing and group gathering guidance as spring and summer approach.
Guest speakers and residents moved their talks online, reaching Sitka's largest free event audience ever. Past residents re-engaged, shared updates on new work and offered free online book and poetry readings. The next Show & Tell event takes place on January 5th.
Artists, curators, writers and ecologists served as thoughtful jurors for our residency program, workshop selection and 27th annual art invitational - all with an eye for the contemporary edges and intersections of art, ecology and social and environmental progress.
Sitka's board of directors volunteered their expertise and countless hours to keep Sitka's moral compass focused on our mission and our bottom line and tail feathers above sea level. Other experts from the Sitka community donated professional services and shared their wisdom, with special thanks owed to Bryan Potter of Bryan Potter Design, to Bob Dayton and his colleagues at Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt and to retired forester and present-day ecology champion Sarah Greene.
Cascade Head Ranch and Sitka staff and neighbors took care of each other during this September's wildfires. We are forever grateful to the first responders, firefighters and community organizers who worked courageously and relentlessly to protect us.
Board members from Community Arts Project collaborated with us to create a next chapter and new home at Sitka for their beloved youth arts programs, and many of you reached out with donations celebrating this good news.
Master printmaker Julia D'Amario reunited with nine past Jordan Schnitzer Printmaking Residency artists to create a special portfolio of prints commemorating Sitka's 50th anniversary and the upcoming 20th anniversary of the program. Sitka team members and our wonderful friends at Waterstone Gallery in Portland are organizing an exhibition of the portfolio and other works by the participating artists in the New Year, followed by an exhibition at the Chessman Gallery in Lincoln City next fall.
Standing here today in your good company, and reflecting back on all we have overcome and accomplished together, I am more committed than ever to you, to Sitka and to the power of art and nature access to call forth the problem-solving best in all of us. Thanks to each of you, in your own way, for taking a turn at the front of the flying pattern and making light work of 2020's heavy load.
The days are getting longer now, and skies grow brighter.