News From the Director

As I write, fifth and sixth graders from across the state are arriving for “Waterworld,” where they will exploreScenic_beach the marine environment and their individual creativity in partnership with scientists from the Port Townsend Marine Science Center and artists who have been teaching in an array of programs as part of our 2008 Young Artist Project.

With support from Washington’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Centrum has been providing creative residential learning experiences to elementary, middle school, and high school students for the last 35 years. While these workshops have a lower profile than our big summer festivals, their effect on participants can be even more profound. For example, Kisha Palmer, our new Director of Business Development, moved from Los Angeles to work at Centrum because she took a writing class here when she was 16 that changed her life, exposing her to “a universe of possibilities I never knew existed or could be available to me before.”

Last week I received a note from self identified “parents of a child who just experienced the magic of Centrum.” They write, “Our daughter was ecstatic about her experience. We were particularly impressed with her desire to explore beyond her passion for theater, to experience the other arts. Thanks more than we can say.”

And I echo that thanks, to you and all other Centrum supporters who make such experiences possible.

Summer Performances
April 15th is opening day for donors to get the very best seats at all Centrum summer performances, two weeks in advance of the general public.

Our ticket office awaits your call. They can answer any special questions you have and make arrangements for guests with special access needs. Call: 360.385.3102, x117 or 800.733.3608, weekdays, 9am – 4pm.

If you want personalized service but can’t order between 9 am – 4 pm our online order site is for you!  This year Centrum has joined forces with a new e-ticket provider to produce a greatly improved online ticket buying experience, including seat selection. Simply go, on our website, to your area of your interest (e.g., Jazz, Fiddle, Blues, Singing) then look to the left column and click on Buy Tickets.

Nine Things to Know about the New Fort Worden

1. For the last 4 years Centrum has been a very active participant in the Fort Worden planning process.

2. Centrum’s core business (residential learning) was adopted as the central feature of the Conceptual Plan for Fort Worden, approved in January of 2007 by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

3. This plan designated Fort Worden a “center for life-long learning,” with an economy driven by tuition, food, and accommodations business generated and/or supported by all Fort partners, providing residential learning experiences for groups and individuals from around the region, nation, and world.

4. Over the last two years Centrum generated $1.25 million in food and accommodations business for the Park. The approved Conceptual Plan envisions four times that level of food and accommodations business generated by partner organizations at Fort Worden.

5. A special Task Force was called into being by the Washington State Legislature to determine what management structure would have the highest probability of building and sustaining a successful business based on residential learning programs at Fort Worden State Park.

6. The Task Force has determined that an existing or new nonprofit organization would be the organizational structure best suited to achieve the mission, vision, and goals outlined in the approved Conceptual Plan. 

7. At this point in the process it is reasonable to assume that Centrum—merging and significantly expanding upon its existing capacities with those of the current Fort Worden administration and other Fort partners—will be charged with supporting and coordinating program and business activities at the Park.

8. Such a transition would take place over an extended period and be guided by a carefully calibrated benchmarking process to ensure that the new management partnership develops the necessary and appropriate capacities to successfully implement the new vision for Fort Worden, while fulfilling the overarching mission and values of Washington State Parks.

9. The Task Force will make their recommendation to the State Parks Commission in August of 2008. For more details about the overall planning process at Fort Worden, as well as a schedule of opportunities for public input, visit the State Parks website (

Our Promise
Four years ago Centrum created a document entitled “A Commitment to Change.” The central message in that document was that an organization with a mission of providing transformational experiences for its customers must itself embrace deep change as a core organizational value. Our 2004 Plan for Growth outlined a series of specific growth and change initiatives. With your guidance and extraordinary financial support we have achieved nearly every objective laid out in that plan.

We will not rest on our laurels.

As executive director, it is critical to me is that you continue to be proud of and excited by your ongoing investment in Centrum. Today, the board and staff are working harder and with greater focus than I have ever seen to achieve one result: Excellence. We are refining every system, testing every assumption, and—thanks to your support—utilizing new human and financial resources to ensure that Centrum will provide the richest educational, cultural, and customer experience imaginable. This is our promise to you.

Thank you, as always,

Thatcher Bailey