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Sitka Center for Art and Ecology e-Newsletter

July 2009 - Vol 6, Issue 9


  • Notes from the Director
  • More Good News
  • Calling All Sitka Alumni
  • Gathering Sitka's History
  • Exciting Dates to Save
  • Tracking the Money

Notes from the Director

elk in meadowThe Elk on Cascade Head.

The waves were boisterous last night. I could hear them crashing magnificently on the shore as I snuggled under my down comforter reluctantly letting go of an elusive morning dream. When the alarm sounded, the dream slipped away and I threw off the covers in search of the gurgling coffee pot that would bring me back to the present. The ocean roar continued, beckoning. This would be a good morning.

By 6:45, I was at Sitka setting up my computer and turning on the printer as part of my morning ritual of settling into the office. But this morning was different. Dawn, our workshop coordinator, and I had conspired to do a brainstorming hike to the lookout point on Cascade Head. She popped her head in the office at 7:01 and cheerily called out a greeting. I noticed she was still clutching her coffee cup, the sole clue that she may have been as sleepy as I was.

We were the only ones on the trail as the sun poked over the Coast Range to the east and gradually illuminated the hillside where the path led through mossy forest and grassy meadow. There is a point on that hike that always leaves me breathless. You cross a creek, turn a corner, walk a few yards through a tunnel of branches and then suddenly emerge into a grassy paradise with the ocean and the estuary spread out below. It's supremely tempting to stop at that point and just make that the destination for the day. But prior experience led us to push on for another quarter mile to the point where the cliff drops back down to the ocean and a single misstep would send one tumbling into the frothy surf some 300 feet below.

The vista at that point in the trail is magnificent and on this morning the air was clear, crisp and inviting. We could see a seal playing in the surf at the base of the cliff, surfing the waves rolling into shore. Off to our left in the meadow that dips down to the estuary, the Elk were bedded down with only their heads visible in the grasses. They seemed to be gazing at the view, saying to themselves how good life really is when you have a meadow like this one on which to sit and consider the sound of the ocean.

After 45 minutes of lofty conversation about Sitka's future, Dawn and I headed back down the trail, pausing briefly to consider an ecologically fascinating nurse log that was hosting two dozen eager Sitka Spruce saplings as well as a variety of mosses, ferns, mushrooms, grasses, and insects. Each seemed to be jockeying for position on that lovely decomposing log. It was such a rich metaphor to consider how this tree in its death continued to give life and I couldn't help but think about a gift we received this month from a long time friend who passed away in Februrary.

Mary Ellen Phillips had helped to set up the accounting structure that Sitka has used for the last 10 years in tracking donations, memberships, donor funds, and expenses. She was an accounting professor at OSU and she made sure Sitka was tracking its expenses correctly. The revelation of Mary Ellen's death came this month in the form of a phone call from her son Robert who was calling to let us know that she had left Sitka $10,000 in her will. She was not a wealthy woman, but her connection to Sitka remained strong even in her later years when she was no longer able to visit. Looking at those eager saplings and thinking of Mary Ellen, I couldn't help but feel grateful to those who have given a part of their lives to make Sitka what it is today. And I hope that like one of those exuberant little trees that we can grow up to be a Sitka that will make Mary Ellen proud. The waves continued to roar for the rest of the day.


More Good News

National Endowment for th ArtsThis month we were ecstatic to learn that we are the recipient of $30,000 in stimulus money distributed through the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Why stimulus money? Last year, Sitka's Art invitational was attended by more people than ever before, but the October stock market crash led to fewer art sales resulting in a reduction in the operating income that we use to pay for staff. This grant helps pay for our program manager, Jalene Case, who organizes the workshops and the residency program. We are profoundly grateful to the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts for helping us bridge the gap as Sitka moves toward a sustainable funding model.

Sitka also received a Gap Grant from the Oregon Arts Commission worth $5,000. Beyond our capital campaign for the John Gray challenge, each year Sitka has to raise around $120,000 from foundations, private donations, and memberships to cover operating expenses. These grants from the Oregon Arts Commission go a long way toward helping us meet our operating goals.

Calling All Sitka AlumniSitka Center for Art and Ecology

Next year is our 40th anniversary!

Sitka has touched thousands of lives since it began in 1970 and it's time for a GRAND celebration. How have you been involved with Sitka over the last 39 1/2 years? Have you been a student, resident, instructor... fond admirer? If so, you are invited to celebrate with us at our 40th Reunion on August 27-29, 2010.

If you're feeling like you'd love to attend but are not sure of your schedule yet, go ahead and RSVP. We're looking to get a sense of the number of attendees so we can orchestrate a memorable event. We will confirm with you later in the year.

If you would like to help plan the event, we are forming a reunion planning group to make the event memorable. Please contact rebeccawelti@sitkacenter.org for more information. Or call 541-994-5485.

Gathering Sitka's History

old Sitka Window

Window of Boyden Studio in late 70's. Photo by Paul Lyons

One of Sitka's four pillars of sustainability is cultural sustainability. We want the leaders of Sitka's future to know what Sitka was about when it started in the 1970's.

That's why Jän Polisensky has volunteered over 100 hours since last year to build on the archive that Darle Maveety began several years ago.

That's why Sharon Overton has been pulling together stories of Sitka's early contributors for a book she is writing on the subject.

That's why we need photos and video footage of Sitka in the 1970's and 1980's for a new video we are working on that will send the story forward about where Sitka has been and where we are going.

Imagine being the executive director or a board member of Sitka in 2070, but having the benefit of reading the stories and seeing the pictures of Sitka's founders from 100 years ago! That's what we're working on.

You can be part of it by sending us your photos, your video footage, and your stories of the early years. We are hoping to have some preliminary footage ready for our 40th Reunion in August 2010.

You can send your images or video to:
Sitka Center
PO Box 65
Otis, OR 97368
or stories and scanned images to images@sitkacenter.org

Exciting Dates to Save

We have so many wonderfully exciting gatherings & events to share with you.

Free Happenings, Ongoing

We continually update our Free Happenings section on the website. You'll find everything from presentations by instructors to film showings. Make the drive up the mountain and savor a thought-provoking summer evening at Sitka.

Equinox Dinner and Raffle, September 19, 2009

Tickets are now being offered for our 2nd Annual Equinox Dinner and Raffle on September 19th.

This is truly a magical evening at Sitka.

We transform the Boyden Studio into a space for fine dining, art, and rousing conversation. As dusk transitions into a star-filled sky, the trees twinkle with lights and the path glows with luminaries. The evening is filled with dinner, art raffle, and dessert. You may view images of the art on our website.

Bring your friends!

Sitka Art Invitational, November 13-15

The 16th Annual Sitka Art Invitational will be held November 13th through 15th at The World Forestry Center in Portland.

This high-energy event showcases over 500 pieces of art offered for sale by 132 well known Northwest artists. The proceeds of the sales are shared between the artist and Sitka and is our largest fund raising event of the year.

We need volunteers and sponsors to help make this event a success. Last year 2800 people had a chance to participate in the event. If you or your business would like to help showcase this Portland tradition, please contact ericvines@sitkacenter.org.

Tracking the Money

snailvolunteer Don't be slow...come out of your shell and volunteer with us!
Do you like to keep track of money? Are you meticulously accurate when it comes to numbers? Would you like to work with numbers in an incredibly beautiful and friendly environment?

We have a volunteer position for you! We have a position open for an Accounting Volunteer.

If volunteering interests you but accounting isn't your cup of tea, we have other volunteer positions available too.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss how volunteering with Sitka makes sense for you. We're at 541-994-5485 or info@sitkacenter.org. Thank you!

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Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, PO Box 65, Otis, OR 97368 PH: (541) 994–5485. FX: (541) 994-8024 Web: www.sitkacenter.org; Email: info@sitkacenter.org