January Letter from the Director

You have transformed Centrum. Over the last four years your participation and generosity have been responsible for more programs, more participants, more artists-in-residence, more partners, more scholarships, more volunteers, more donors, more sponsors and advertisers, and more free performances and public events. Numbers are one way to demonstrate the efficacy of your generosity. But numbers do not tell the whole story.

Centrum is where you come to be fearless. This is no small thing: Making art demands a particular courage—to take risks, be vulnerable, work harder than you have ever worked, fail more often than you succeed, and maybe let go of the life you have known, for a life you can no longer imagine not living.
Centrum thrives because you are part of a community that completely understands, participates in, and fiercely applauds such courage. Thank you for being fearless.

It is paying off. 2008 has the potential to be one of the most remarkable years in Centrum’s 36-year history. Experience Magazine (newly designed this March), a monthly e-newsletter (also launching in March), and our website will provide updated listings and details of specific events, but below I offer a sampling of some of the undertakings you make possible.

Last weekend, six British artists—in residence over the last three weeks—held an “open studio” that extended to the top of Artillery Hill, where 16 artworks played off the colors, textures, and architecture of the gun emplacements.

This weekend high school visual artists from across Washington arrive to participate in the new Young Artist Project, working with and learning from Ryan Horvath and Amy Johnson, part of an extraordinary artist-faculty team who will be in residence throughout 2008.

The first weekend in February, Mike Dowling, Steve James, and Centrum’s Artistic Director for Slide and Steel, Orville Johnson, will be in residence leading a Bottleneck Slide Intensive and performing February 2nd at the Joseph F. Wheeler Theater.

The following week Fort Worden hosts the winter residency for Goddard College Creative Writing MFA, and February 21-24, Eileen Myles—perhaps the United States' best-known "unofficial poet"—will give a special workshop at Centrum about creating new poetry.

The final phase of Fort Worden planning will be complete and ready for Parks Commission approval in June. Centrum will play a pivotal role in developing, supporting, and promoting an increasingly diverse array of year-round creative, learning/teaching, and performance / exhibition opportunities at the Park.

You will be excited to know that in 2009, the extraordinary guitarist Corey Harris will succeed Phil Wiggins as Artistic Director of the Port Townsend Country Blues Festival. As emeritus director, Phil will remain a vital presence, and is delighted that Corey will add his unique stamp to this beloved festival.

The School of Rock, a youth program initiated two years ago, has evolved into Roots of Rock, a July intergenerational workshop, featuring the first Queen of Rock, Wanda Jackson.

Partnerships continue to blossom. Centrum is working with Artist Trust to bring more choreographers and dancers to develop and present new work at Fort Worden. In April Centrum is hosting a gathering of Western States Folklorists, under the direction of Jens Lund. In October Seattle Theater Group and Centrum will co-produce a Seattle-based Fiddle Tunes event with the legendary Ralph Stanley.

Donors continue to increase scholarship and fellowships support (up 43% this year over last) so that exceptional students and artists from diverse geographies and backgrounds will enrich the creative communities that gather at Fort Worden.

In 2008 we will lay the groundwork for the renovation of six underutilized buildings into the new education campus at Fort Worden. Celebrating deep community connections to the Park, this capital campaign will solicit and celebrate hands-on volunteer labor and in-kind contributions.

Centrum and Fort Worden are able to expand opportunities at the Park because you are part of a community for whom this place and its programs hold deep and lasting value. Guided by enduring values that embrace both tradition and innovation, Fort Worden thrives on an economy of gratitude. All of us who work here have learned and continue to learn so much through our efforts to serve you.
Thank you.