An update from David ‘Sus’ Susalla, Exec. Director, Gualala Arts

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One conversation at a time…

I am constantly reminded how important each conversation is. 

I am a firm believer that every single conversation matters.  We don’t always have control of our circumstances, but what we usually have control over is how we react to them.

Our actions and conversations change the dynamic of our surroundings.  We have the ability to cause a ripple effect of those around us that is infectious in a positive (or negative) way.

It can be challenging, sometimes, with all the background noise of our surroundings and in our own thoughts.  It can feel like my head is racing with thoughts and emotions that are too crowded…this is when I really need to take a deep breath and  really listen before I react.

It is a minute-by-minute practice with so much demand to react to new situations & circumstances.  Then we especially need to slow down and purposely look for the kind, respectful, loving response.

Try to look for the Love not the Fear in all of our new environments.

Be careful with the words you choose…they do make a difference!

On this Independence Day weekend I am reminded of the carefully chosen words of the “Declaration of Independence” that were thoughtfully crafted and then signed on July 4, 1776.

We came together to discuss our issues and worked on them together with conversations and carefully chosen words.

We all have that in common; we can decide to choose respectful, kind and loving words to use have a meaningful dialog.

Thank you, Thomas Jefferson, and all of you for thinking about the words you

choose to use, how to present them and how they impact us all!

I believe we do make a difference — one conversation at a time.

David “Sus” Susalla

Executive Director, Gualala Arts

T-Shirt designed by Nell Suslla (Sus’s mom) for July 4, 2020, and co-created and printed by Maleka.



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The following is an update of our current situation as of today, June 30, 2020.  The arts center doors are still closed to the public until Aug 14 to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We have cancelled dozens of our events, workshops, fundraisers & exhibits starting March 16 through the summer and, already, some events in December. We hope to open for retail sales at Art in the Redwoods!

Some of the things that we ARE currently planning and doing to further our mission to promote the arts include:

  • We continue using our creativity to re-imagine our future to “to promote public interest and participation in the arts.”
  • Thankfully, we have MOVED INTO a prime location in Cypress Village with some very generous landlords Richard & Kristine Thomure. We have spent the last month on a remodeling plan of the space to meet our needs with current COVID regulations for a safe environment for our volunteers, artists and customers.  WE LOVE OUR NEW DOLPHIN HOME!  We have invited about 40 artists to help open the new space on July 4.
  • We are opening with caution. Staff and Volunteers are being trained on our Covid Plan, temperatures are being checked before start of shift, sanitation of touched surfaces before, during and after shift, masks required for all, physical distancing enforced, limited number of clients in store, proper signage hung, no public restrooms, sneeze guard for register, , gloves for patrons that want to touch items, touch less credit card terminal installed, lots of free flowing Pacific Ocean air through space, plenty of room to wait outside on terraces, only one way doors (in-out) and lots of great art to inspire and delight you!
  • Art in the Redwoods HAS been re-imagined! Our AIR committee is working hard to bring an online version of our 59th annual Art in the Redwoods to a device near you.  At the center of the event will be our members’ visual art exhibit with 15 categories including a new “video” category.  Sponsors have been secured. WE WILL CONTINUE TO AWARD  $5K in cash awards to winning artists thanks to our generous sponsors! GREAT NEWS!  We are proofing the online exhibit entry, judging and viewing experience. We will also feature the performing arts offered by our community with new videos and “classic” performances from previous Art in the Redwoods. Culinary offerings will range from a curbside “Boxed Hat” fundraiser dinner, complete with optional zoom tables, entertainment, and the first right to purchase art as usual, and lovingly homemade pies & pizza for curbside pick up throughout the weekend from your favorite sweetshop and FOPO bakers.     If allowed by the county and state regulations, we will have the retail art show aspect open to limited public viewings August 14 through August 30 at the Gualala Arts Center.
  • We received 2 government loans and grants to assist with some of our payroll costs this spring. BUT those funds have run out and we are now hoping our Art in the Redwoods’ fundraising efforts will carry us through the summer by our generous sponsors and membership.
  • THANK YOU! Your membership renewals and donations continue making a difference. It helps to keep our staff employed, bills paid, organization strong, and planning and adapting to our future possibilities. Each dollar raised makes a difference!  Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!!
  • We continue to host a virtual exhibit titled, “Inferno: One Man’s Journey of the Camp Fire Through Art” by Artist Brian Holderman. Works of Arts are for sale through our office by emailing Kendra
  • Planning a new exhibit entitled Shelter from the Storm: Art in the Time of Covid-19. We encourage artists & non-artists alike to create art while sheltering in their homes.  We are looking forward to seeing what everyone has been working on to keep himself or herself busy while sheltering in their homes.  Artists are posting using the hash tags #shelterfromthestormart & #gualalaarts
  • As always, our Sketches newsletter is available online; we hope to mail out an Art in the Redwoods August edition of Sketches.

These are uncertain time for all of us to say the least.  The board and finance committees are making prudent decisions with our Gualala Arts assets.  If you find that you are in a position to help with the loss of our revenue stream, it would be greatly appreciated. We are looking to continue our mission – to promote public interest & participation in the arts since 1961 – well into the future.

WE make a difference with our choices.

Thank you for considering making kind ones!