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

Detail from Mary Jo Hessel's valentine (Hessel is also the designer of Sitka's 2022 t-shirt illustration - we can't wait to share it with you!)

“This is two Sitka workshops merged,” Mary Jo Hessel reached out to share in a self-designed valentine card that arrived at the Sitka office. The layered image includes “a Common Redpoll perched on a red dogwood” drawn in one of Nora Sherwood’s bird illustration workshops and “a red Chinese lantern seed floating by” from a transparency workshop. The roundness of the bird’s breast and the lantern’s levity make my heart thump. I feel the muscles around my shoulders, where wings would attach, twitch in anticipation of spring flight.

I hope the arrival of Sitka’s 2022 Spring and Summer Workshop Guide in your mailbox feels like receiving a valentine on the wing. In a conversation this week with a longtime supporter of Sitka whose catalog had just arrived that morning, we talked about how it feels like a magic object, calling us out of winter dormancy and reminding us that we are vibrant and creative. “I’ve already been browsing the workshop details online, but there’s just something special about the day the physical catalog arrives, and I can hold the summer in my hands.”

The 2022 Spring and Summer Workshop Guide

“The first workshop to kick off the season is Voices of Nature: Listen, Explore, Join In, on May 1 and taught by returning musician and composer in residence Altea Narici,” Program Manager Tamara Jennings shares. “The workshop will take place in Sitka's surrounding soundscapes and will offer an opportunity to experience natural spaces from a new, exciting, auditory perspective.”

2020 and 2022 Resident and workshop instructor Altea Narici

Another workshop Tamara is especially excited about is Traditional Ecology Knowledge on July 26 with returning instructor Stephanie Craig. “Stephanie is enrolled in the Grande Ronde Tribe and will be taking her workshop on an outing to see local plants and share about their relationship with local Native American culture and heritage.”

Throughout the 2022 season, and encouraged by your feedback, you’ll find 18 workshops that welcome participants younger than 16 accompanied by a participating adult. The ages for each workshop are included in the catalog this year to make it easy for parents and grandparents to find which workshops are suitable to take alongside kids.

The Heart of Painting 2021, with instructor Jef Gunn

Jef Gunn will close out the season with his warm and supportive five-day masterclass, The Heart of Painting, for all painting mediums, starting on October 12. “I wasn’t sure I qualified as a master,” several humble members of last year’s cohort shared, “but I’m so glad I found the courage to sign up!” You’ll find skill level guidance in the catalog and more detailed workshop descriptions, supply lists and instructor bios online at Our team loves talking with you and helping you make informed decisions about which workshops will be the best fit. If you have questions don’t hesitate to reach out by phone or email.

The spring and summer 2022 COVID-19 Policy will be based on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the Oregon Health Authority, with determinations made closer to the start of summer and updated throughout the year. Count on me to make informed decisions based on the latest science and guidance changes and to keep you updated in advance and throughout the season. Since many of our workshops sell out quickly, and since we have a generous COVID-19 refund policy, my guidance to Sitka’s team and to you is this:

Let’s all plan for a full and wonderful workshop season, adapt as needed, be kind to one another as we go and create a safe and soul-nourishing oasis together this spring and summer at Sitka.

Please join me in congratulating Tamara and Sitka’s new and returning instructors for curating such a rich and inviting 2022 Workshop Season for us all to enjoy and in thanking Bryan Potter Design for his in-kind “magic object” graphic design donation.

With gratitude and joy,

Alison Dennis

Executive Director