"I'm not sure I even knew that sculpture was there," Sitka co-founder Jane Boyden confessed in the upper courtyard, admiring the unobstructed artwork and freshly groomed foliage. The week prior, green-thumbed volunteers from the Sitka community came together with staff to participate in a campus Spruce Up event. Studios were scrubbed, windows were washed, corner cobwebs were cleared and thresholds were swept in anticipation of the first Fall residents to arrive.
Their hard work was immediately noticed. "The last time I was here it was in 2006," visual artist-in-residence Patti Warashina remarked at the October 2nd Show & Tell event. "I remember Sitka being wonderful, but wow, it's really flourished! Everything here is so beautiful. I want to come back again.
"As November approaches, another gifted guild of volunteers is preparing to install and host the 26th annual Sitka Art Invitational."What I love about our residency program is how it supports the creative process, free from constraints or prescribed outcomes," reflected Mindy Chaffin, Director of Special Projects for Sitka and longtime director of the Art Invitational. "What I love about the Invitational is how so many artists, art lovers and collectors come together to see the fruits of the creative process and celebrate finished work. From set-up crews and curators to docents and greeters, it takes about 100 volunteers to make it happen, and each year the show just gets stronger."
In the spirit of keeping the Invitational evergreen, three guest panelists, Mariel Pitti, Shu-Ju Wang and Zoe Cohen joined with two of Sitka's veteran Art Invitational co-curators, Ruby Maly and Katie McClintock, to select the 2019 artists, including 22 first-time invitees. "It was extremely helpful to have three new people," McClintock shared. "Mariel, Zoe and Shu-Ju are all very well connected in the art community and could speak knowledgeably to certain artists' work." Co-curator Maly agreed and elaborated, "They had a much more open idea of what the show could look like, which I think was just as important."The 26th annual Sitka Art Invitational will take place in Portland, Oregon at the World Forestry Center on Saturday and Sunday, November 2-3.
Channeling Mindy, three cheers for Sitka's volunteers:
Hip hip hooray!