Sitka Center Campus

Sitka Center Campus: Tucked in the forest near Cascade Head, the Sitka Center is an ideal location for artists and scientists to withdraw from the distraction of daily life, find the solitude needed to push through their creative boundaries, chase their artistic pursuits and immerse themselves in natural study and reflection.

Two longstanding coastal Oregon arts nonprofits, Sitka Center for Art and Ecology and Community Arts Project (CAP), have announced plans for Sitka to assume oversight and stewardship of the Community Arts Project’s youth arts programs and fundraising events.

Beginning this fall, Sitka’s administrative team will assume operational and fundraising responsibilities for the school-based art literacy program, previously delivered by CAP through the Nestucca Valley Grade School and the Garibaldi Grade School.

“When Sitka reached out to us about the possibility of pooling resources and joining forces, we were thrilled," Carol Kearns, CAP Board President said. "An executive director vacancy and COVID-19 programming hiatus made this the perfect time for our Board to explore new leadership models. This transition will allow all of our good work in the community to continue, and in a more supported way, reducing annual risk and overhead, and opening up the possibility to serve more kids, families and schools in the future.”

Additionally, Sitka will oversee the school-based summer day camp, afterschool curriculum development and annual fundraising events like Your Art’s Desire previously operated by CAP.

Sitka’s adult-learning workshops, residency program and public events will continue to take place on Sitka’s Cascade Head campus. Youth programs will continue to be school-based, taking place out in the community. School-based youth art literacy programs serve approximately 500 grade school kids annually.

“The melding of the Sitka Center and Community Arts Project is very exciting," Nestucca Valley School System Superintendent Misty Wharton said. "As a lifetime resident of this community, I know how little exposure the youth of the area have to the arts, and I see this as the vehicle to enrich and diversify their education at a global level.”

While CAP’s Board did not weigh its options lightly, this was a straightforward and uplifting decision to make. Sitka will bring deeper resources, greater staff and leadership continuity and broader reach to CAP’s youth programs and community events during COVID-19 and for years to come. Both organizations see this transition as a bright and future-strengthening outcome for CAP and the coastal children, families and schools that our beloved programs serve.

“CAP’s local community of loyal supporters and collaborators will no doubt be as excited as I am to hear that the CAP programs will continue under the solid leadership of Sitka," said former CAP Executive Director and former Sitka Associate Director Kim Cavatorta. "This new partnership feels like the most natural next step in fulfilling the missions of both groups. I love picturing the CAP weft being woven into Sitka’s warp, bringing together two well-known and well-loved organizations to create a strong fabric of support for our community’s young artists.”

New leadership structure for CAP (including a familiar face)

When the transition happens, Sitka’s Executive Director, Alison Dennis, will serve as the Executive Director for CAP’s programs too, and Sitka’s administrative team will support CAP’s programming and business office needs under the direction of Sitka’s General Manager, Nicola Harrison.

“Everything our coastal community counts on CAP to do will continue—all of the open-ended learning, creativity and joy. The next year will be dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition and to partnering closely with participating schools to resume art literacy programming as COVID-19 delivery models for the 2020-2021 school year evolve. I am so proud of the Community Arts Project," Harrison said. "I have seen first-hand the creativity and self-esteem art access sparks, and I am overjoyed to see these programs thrive and grow through Sitka.”

Before joining Sitka in 2019, Harrison served as Executive Director for CAP for five years. With Dennis and Harrison’s co-leadership and community commitment, a smooth transition is underway.

“For over thirty years, Community Arts Project has been nurturing the creative lives of kids and families right here in our coastal community," Dennis said. "We are honored to be collaborating with Community Arts Project’s leadership to continue these beloved and impactful youth programs as part of Sitka beginning this fall.”

COVID-19 Impacts

Sitka is working now with participating schools to determine the right timing and format for art literacy classes to resume this fall as schools reopen via online instruction. Once classroom-based learning resumes, classroom-based art literacy classes will resume too, with community-based instructors for each participating school.

Next steps

CAP’s Board will continue to work closely with Sitka to ensure a smooth and celebratory transition this fall, and to complete end of year reporting responsibilities, bringing independent CAP operations to a close by 2021. Watch for future updates on CAP’s programs, events and community impact to come from Sitka.

About the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1970 and located at Cascade Head, the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology offers a place where visual artists, writers, natural scientists, musicians and interdisciplinary creatives of all abilities and backgrounds come to nourish their curiosity and creativity. 2020 marks Sitka’s 50th year of offering art- and nature-inspired workshops, residencies and public events on the Oregon Coast.

About the Community Arts Project

The Community Arts Project was founded in 1988 with a mission to enable kids and all people to freely explore healthy avenues of learning and expression in the arts, believing that this enriches the lives of all who live and work in our North Oregon Coast communities. Activites include school-based art literacy lessons offered through area grade schools free of charge to all students, the annual Slug Soup summer art camp and the annual Your Art’s Desire art show and fundraiser.

For more details visit www.sitkacenter.org 541-994-5485 Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, 56605 Sitka Drive, Otis, OR 97368.

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