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

“There’s something about being at Sitka that moves me to write,” workshop instructor Judy Zugish confides, describing the experience of returning to our coastal forest campus to teach and how it awakens her creatively. “I arrive and experience this place like taking in a deep breath. The trees reach their arms out and embrace me… It feels like an arm-in-arm hug.”

As a light breeze sways the spruce canopy, Zugish’s words resonate. In my conversations with you throughout this workshop season, you describe this year at Sitka as feeling especially enchanted and healing.

“It’s interesting experiencing both the teaching and the gallery sides of my practice,” Zugish observes, “passing along skills and also expressing myself through my own work… because this is a place that inspires and nurtures both.”

For many, 2023 marks a joyful return to artmaking and group experiences after spending a few years, by necessity, at a physical distance. A record number of you are finding your way through the trees to Sitka for the first time. Too many of you confide that being at Sitka this summer is a healthy part of a personal grieving process as you regroup in the wake of loss. It is our honor to host and connect all of you in creative community.

As I write this journal entry, Workshop Coordinator Maria Elting is sitting cross-legged on the Sitka office floor, nine chess-months ahead of us, mapping out the 2024 workshop season. (Picture: giant dry-erase calendar pages, miniature Halloween candy wrappers and a zillion hand-written notes capturing essentials from conversations with instructors about workshop ideas and scheduling needs.) Please join me in thanking Maria for our beauteous 2023 Sitka workshop season and the not-to-be-missed 2024 season she is curating now. The 2024 catalog will be available for online preview in December.

Maria Elting taking part in a Green Woodworking workshop with Ryan Carpenter

Meanwhile, after a year of planning, Katie McClintock is darting about like a well-organized squirrel as she makes the final preparations to bring us all together at Sitka’s 29th annual Art Invitational. From printing bios and name tags to supporting the installation team to organizing the nearly 100 volunteer, board and staff members who make the Invitational reappear anew each year, it’s these behind-the-scenes details and human touches that make the show itself such an art and artist-focused celebration. The best way to help thank Katie and the artists is by coming to the exhibit and inviting friends who are new to Sitka to join you. I can’t wait to see you all on October 13-15 in Portland at Oregon Contemporary.

Katie McClintock (left) and volunteers at the 2022 Invitational

If you are planning to give to Sitka this year and join the Friends Circle, it is not too late to attend this year’s Art Invitational Collectors Preview and Artist Reception on October 12. For those who can, new and increased gifts of $1,000+, including combinations of memberships and gifts, will be tripled through generous challenge grants from the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. The Collector’s Preview is invitation-only and RSVP required.

2022 Sitka Art Invitational

As you will read in this newsletter, the first of over 50 resident artists, writers, scientists, musicians and interdisciplinary creators who will come to Sitka to pursue self-driven projects and collaborations arrive in October. Thank you for helping welcome them to Sitka by attending our online series of Resident Talks that take you inside their work and connect our community, far and wide.  

My favorite part of Sitka isn’t any one program or event; it is the creative cycle itself. Workshops and residencies focus on process and practice. The forest invites reflection. The Art Invitational is a celebration of finished work.

Whether you join us on campus for the final weeks of workshop season, attend the Art Invitational in October or tune in for this year’s Resident Talks, thank you for helping Sitka come full circle.

Alison Dennis

Executive Director