WHAT A YEAR IT’S BEEN!
Orcas Center has seen a lot of changes and activity in 2019, and we couldn’t have done it without you! We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge all that has gone on this year as we move towards 2020 with gratitude and excitement!
WELCOMING NEW STAFF
One of the biggest shifts at Orcas Center has been welcoming new staff members that are focused on community, outreach, and involvement. In May, we said goodbye to Jim Bredouw who did an amazing job as interim Executive Director and ushered in the tenure of Dimitri Stankevich. Bethany Marie moved from a contract position into Communications Director, Marica West joined on as bookkeeper, and Nicole Matisse re-joined Orcas Center, taking on Business and Individual memberships.
We also are bidding farewell to an Orcas Center institution, Annie Moss-Moore, who is retiring! Be sure to mark your calendar for February 2nd, 2020 at 1pm, where we will send her off in style giving thanks for all the wonderful things she has done at Orcas Center during 14 years of service! (More information to come in upcoming newsletters.)
In 2019, Orcas Center began several new educational initiatives spearheaded by Jake Perrine and Robert Hall. Jake has been hosting several workshops on QLab, the system that runs our technical cues, as well as teaching acting classes for both children and adults. Robert has launched both a directing program and technical lighting program. New sessions for all these classes begin in early 2020.
As any instructor in the arts knows, it’s essential to find cost-effective space where your students can move and grow. Orcas Center is proud to be the host of several local instructors including Terry Johnson (painting), Patsy Stephens (yoga), Island Aerial Acrobatics, Anthony the Dancer (dance), Tiffany Loney (dance), and Stephanie Moss (dance).
You can learn more about these instructors on our class page: www.OrcasCenter.org/classes
During the calendar year of 2019, Orcas Center raised the bar in terms of number and quality of local theatrical productions. We had sell-out performances of Streetcar Named Desire, Mamma Mia, Lost Virginity Tour, Cirque-Us, and The Rocky Horror Show.
Each one of these productions was led and executed by talented, local islanders dedicating hundreds (if not thousands!) of hours to create quality programming for our island community.
Orcas Center is proud to be the place where community organizations come together to share their talents! In 2019, the Orcas Choral Society, Olga Symphony, Whale of a Show, The Community Band, Island Sinfonia, The Roasted Nut, Crow Valley String Band and BroGrass, Martin Lund’s One World, as well as concerts from the local middle school and high school all performed on center stage to riveted crowds!
Orcas Center’s goal is not only to create a creative space for our local community, but to bring amazing performers to the island whom we might not otherwise see. In 2019, we were excited to welcome over a dozen artists including Scott Cossu, Sanjaya Malakar, Sway Wild, Abbey Road Live, Ruth Moody, Laura Veirs, Ethnoteck, James Reid Band, Climbing Poetree, Sorne, and Sea Stars. We welcomed The San Juan Community Theatre in their production of A Christmas Carol and had the pleasure of hosting thought-provoking performances from Paul Rucker and Don’t Call it a Riot through Women in the Woods Productions.
CELEBRATION OF ARTISTS
Thanks to the Visual Arts Committee, Orcas Center has regular art openings celebrating local and regional artists. In 2019, art from Bradford Hansen-Smith, Dianne Kornberg, Leon Rosenblatt, Marcia Spees, and Janice George & Willard “Buddy” Joseph were featured in the lobby.
Additionally, hundreds of local artists have graced the walls in the Madrona room thanks to monthly community exhibits and featured shows for the Orcas Island student show, The Orcas Artist Tour, the Man Made exhibit, and The Art of Learning: Adult Students and their Teachers.
If you want to learn more about exhibiting your art or upcoming events, visit: www.OrcasCenter.org/vac
In 2019, Orcas Center screened nearly 30 productions from The Metropolitan Opera, The Bolshoi Ballet, and National Theatre Live. Additionally this year, we added a Broadway production of Kinky Boots!
All filmed in HD, these productions give you a front-row seat to see the most talented performers on stage today from the comfort of your own island.
Beyond being a place for classes, art exhibits, music, theatre, dance, other creative expression, Orcas Center is a home for many local festivals!
In 2019, we were pleased to welcome The Orcas Island Film Fest, Orcas Island Lit Fest, The Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, The Orcas Island Jazz Festival, and the 2019 Earth Day Festival.
Orcas Center had a busy year with updating our 35-year-old building! We updated the parking lot lights, installed new LED lights for Center Stage, made a lot of progress with construction on the warehouse and dance studio facility, repainted the parking lot lines, moved the box office to its previous location, upgraded our listening assist devices, installed new HVAC units, and with the great effort of many volunteers, re-painted the exterior of the building. ‘whew’!
It’s difficult to run any organization without the proper infrastructure in place. So in 2019, Orcas Center took great strides to make administrative processes easier by updating the phone system, website, calendaring program, web hosting (now run on green energy!) and moved to a new ticketing platform: Arts People.
We’ve significantly reduced paper waste by moving away from paper tickets and onto our iPad check-in system. Over 20 volunteers have already been trained on the new system with great success and we look forward to implementing new cost and time-saving initiatives next year.
2020 AND BEYOND!
As you can tell, it’s been an active year at Orcas Center and we couldn’t have done it without you! Our volunteers, performers, instructors, audience members, and patrons are what makes Orcas Center belong to all of us.
We’ve been dedicated from the beginning to serve our wonderfully diverse community, regardless of income, race, religion, sexuality, cultural/political persuasion or artistic temperament – we are dedicated to welcoming all. And it may be a surprise to know that rentals and ticket prices cover less than 40% of the cost to run such an active and versatile organization. In fact, many mistakenly believe that we are a publicly tax-funded organization like the library, schools, Parks & Rec., medical, fire, etc., but Orcas Center is not, and we rely greatly on the kindness and generosity of others, like you, to raise $400,000 a year in contributed income.
Help keep this organization a thriving and vital part of the Orcas Island community by becoming a member, volunteering, or making a tax-deductible donation today. No matter the amount, anything that you contribute will go towards great programming, instruction, and our ongoing focus of community inclusion through the arts!
We wish you all the best for a healthy, productive, and prosperous New Year!