Waterstone Gallery window front
It was a February joy to take in the artists talks held earlier this month celebrating the 20th anniversary of Sitka's Jordan Schnitzer Printmaking Residency program and the portfolio of new prints on display in Portland's Waterstone Gallery. Seeing new work in an actual gallery and curated so invitingly by the team at Waterstone felt like discovering the most welcome crocus bed sprouting up through the snow, harbingering an eventual end to this pandemic arts and culture winter.
The show runs through February. The gallery is open on weekends and by appointment and you can view all ten portfolio prints on the Waterstone website. However you choose to see the show, I hope it helps you believe that there is a future in which we will freely visit galleries, museums, readings and performances together again.
Another sign of spring will arrive in your mailboxes soon. Watch for a Spring + Summer Guide with information about Sitka's upcoming workshop season, the in-person and online options we're offering and the changes we're making to help keep the Sitka community healthy and safe this summer.
The most heartening experience of all from this last month was the day I got to virtually sit in on one of Sitka's new youth art literacy classes in action as part of Nestucca Valley Elementary School's remote learning school year. As the class focused intently on making camouflage collages of nature landscapes filled with hidden animals, my attention was drawn to the resiliency of kids and teachers to tough out this school year together and make art happen.
Some kids worked from their beds; others had to steal their colored pencils back from their teething toddler siblings. For some kids it was clear that the free art supplies Sitka provided were the only ones in the house. About half of the questions asked of the instructor were about art making, while the other half were about solving individual home learning logistics challenges. Kids shared school-life balance tips with other kids, encouraged each other and complemented the details in each other's creations. My lasting impression is of their teamwork: teachers and kids collaborating to help each other remove barriers to art access and education.
Wherever you are, whatever is in the way and whatever this new year brings, let's work together to make art and nature access happen and to continue supporting the artists and audience-based art and nature-inspired organizations we care about most through the last pandemic frost.
Yours in optimism and adaptation,