November Letter from the Director

As we head into the traditional season of gratitude I offer up my personal thanks to you and the expanding universe of individuals whose active engagement with—and deepening support of—Centrum powerfully demonstrate that, indeed, it does take a village.

November 1st marked my fourth anniversary in this job, and with each passing year my appreciation of this most generous community grows more profound.

This weekend, author Pam Houston will cap off a three-day Advanced Manuscript Revision Intensive with a free, public reading in the Joseph F. Wheeler Theater. The following week, mandolin virtuoso Mike Marshall and his band Choro Famoso are leading a three-day master class.

Saturday, November 10, in the Wheeler Theater, they will offer regional audiences an unusual opportunity to hear the “sweet lament” of this Brazilian music. The next week musicians will gather with Fiddle Tunes artistic Director Dirk Powell, Tim Eriksen, and Riley Baugus to explore string band tunes, country songs and shape notes in the southern mountain tradition. Tickets are available for a Wheeler performance by these extraordinary artists on November 17.

January 18-21, the Centrum Young Artist Project kicks off with a master class for gifted high school visual artists from across Washington State. Students will explore the rich territory between drawing and sculpture under the guidance of Amy Johnson and Jeffry Mitchell, two of the core artist faculty who will be in residence to teach and to create their own work throughout 2008. This program is generously supported by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Thank you to the more than 500 individuals and businesses who contributed their time, talent, money, and imagination to make the 2007 Gala a record-breaking evening of philanthropy in support of Centrum artists and programs. The evening grossed $260,000, an 11% increase over last-years record-breaking event.

Highlights of the evening included two opportunities for patrons to raise their paddles in support of scholarships and of the newly establish Russell Jaqua Fund for Artistic Excellence. Adding to challenges offered up by Kristin Manwaring Insurance, Rick and Debbie Zajicek, and Joe and Renate Wheeler, over $76,000 was contributed that night for these critical initiatives.

As you can see on the enclosed financial statements, ten months into the year, Centrum is in a healthy position. Although we have fallen short in a couple of revenue lines, we have exceeded expectations in others, and have been very careful with expenses. Cash flow remains strong and we are projecting a solid year-end. The major variable is year-end fundraising success. Donors have already been exceedingly generous this year, giving and pledging $120,000 more from January through October than in all of 2006. Still, as we grow the number and quality of our programs we are seeking additional support: another $40,000 over the next two months. If we can achieve that goal it would be a powerful indication Centrum is providing real value to you and all the other donors who make this place run.

I am very excited to introduce new staff members whose experience and skills will enhance Centrum’s abilities to serve and anticipate your needs and interests in the years ahead. Anne Kearson (Production Director) has worked for the Los Angeles Festival of the Arts, and ACT, the Seattle Rep, and the Fifth Avenue theaters in Seattle. Kim Jons (Sales Manager) comes to us after eight years as an advertising manager at the Peninsula Daily News. Tom Scharf (Development Director) has worked in public relations, marketing, writing, and editing for museums and nonprofits in San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

We are poised to sign off on a contract with the same firm that developed business and site plans for the remarkable Presidio project in San Francisco. We hope to have their work completed and documents available for public review and comment by spring of 2008. We have taken a major step forward by selecting Bon Appétit to be the next food provider for the Fort, a food service company known for its culinary expertise, commitment to socially responsible food sourcing and business practices, and strong partnerships with respected conservation organizations.

We will continue to deepen our commitments to change, excellence, and connection. By March we will have completed our own three-year business and communications plans and will send them out for your review and comment. We are working hard to make you feel good about your investment in the future of this amazing place.

You are Centrum. Thank you for that.