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Winter Count, c. 1888, Battiste Good (Lakota, c. 1821-1908), Denver Art Museum #1963.272
"We are all in constant freefall," my father explained when I first became curious about the cosmos. "Earth keeps trying to fly off into space, but the Sun's gravity pulls us toward it as we move forward, bending our trajectory into an orbit." He explained it just right.
In this year of uncertainty, our daily freefall is palpable. I've found comfort and humor in a studio-weathered piece of paper that lives on my desk for quick reference. It was gifted to me last year by artist and Sitka co-founder Frank Boyden, and it contains the lyrics to Eric Idle's The Galaxy Song. "Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving/And revolving at 900 miles an hour..."
Yet amidst all of 2020's extra weight, the Sitka community is gravity-defying.
Here on campus, our residents soar. Songs rise up into the trees from Phil House's studio. Kirstin Valdez Quade's novel in progress leaps off the page. Prints by Justin Gibbons and Samantha Wall, coaxed by the caring wing of master printmaker Julia D'Amario, lift off the press. Insights surface through Craig See's carbon soil research.
With the launch of youth programming at Sitka, hundreds of students are expressing their 2020 experiences through drawings inspired by the Lakota Winter Count tradition. The results are beautiful, heartbreaking and funny, sometimes all at once. Guest speaker Christina Burke will share with the Sitka community about Winter Counts in a lecture and discussion this Monday. Hundreds of you have been tuning in for our fall and winter online programs, and I hope you will join us for Burke's presentation as we connect intergenerationally for this last talk of 2020. Let's create the biggest virtual circle we can
In the weeks ahead, we will be reaching out to celebrate all that we have created and accomplished together this year and to invite those of you who can to renew your memberships and include Sitka in your annual giving plans. We are working now with instructors to germinate "virus-resilient" spring and summer workshops and inviting a new season of speakers to share their work from the contemporary edges and intersections of art and ecology. With your ongoing participation, our beloved Sitka will continue to grow and thrive.
In thanksgiving for artists, scientists and all who make life on planet earth more uplifting,