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

A PDF of the Update is available here!

The following is an update of our current situation as of today, November 4, 2020.

GREAT NEWS! Gualala Arts Center doors have been open for a month! We have opened the galleries for retail sales for the past month 7 days a week (11am to 4pm). The Global Harmony Sculpture Gardens will be open 7 days a week as well. Thanks to the staff, artists and volunteers for creating a safe environment to embrace our challenges and rising to this occasion!

Thanks to BAKU for a live simulcast concert in the Jami Amphitheater! This concert was enjoyed in person by Sus documenting for social, Allen documenting on video, the ravens, our redwoods trees, critters in the woods, enjoyed live by many on Facebook, Instagram and our local radio station live KTDE 100.5 fm and will live on in perpetuity on the internet social sites. Thank You BAKU a magical afternoon!!!!!

Thanks to our new friends and partners, MCRPD, Mendocino Coast Recs and Parks District we hosted a safe “Halloween Trick or Treat Drive Through.” We combined this event with our inaugural pumpkin carving contest and it turned out to be a smashing success! (Literally in some cases ).

Thanks to our chamber music series, Adam Marks and sponsorship from Yamaha Pianos, we are presenting our first zoom chamber concert Sunday, November, 8 at 4 pm. Thanks to our sponsors and donors we are able to offer this first concert up for free. I hope you will join us for this exciting new venture into our zoom hall for and afternoon of music and dialogue with Adam, Margie Hagen and hopefully you! Check our website, sketches, and social media for the link and invitation to join us.

Festival of Trees is being re-imagined into a “Winter Wonderland” for a fun, family friendly, safe shopping experience that will be open for 5 weeks instead of 2 days! The ever-popular tree decorating competition and silent auction is on with cash prizes, your favorite artists are being invited to set up booths with their arts and crafts offerings sans artists, Mrs. Claus is firing up the oven for handmade pies, candy and cookies for purchase, decadent raffle baskets are being created and lots of varieties of trees are here for you to purchase and decorate your home for the holidays.

The current plan for 2021 is to have exhibits up for 1-2-month periods at the Dolphin and Burnett & Jacob Foyer Galleries at the Gualala Arts center. Openings will alternate months so that every month there will be an opening day the Second Saturday of the month from 11am to 7pm. Then gallery hours will go back to 11 to 4pm. The current plan for our large group exhibits is to be held in person and also to be a version of our successful Online! Exhibits. We are starting some thing new this year and having a “Garts Members Only Preview” of the gallery exhibits on the Friday before opening to the public.

Workshops Online! are being planned for 2021. The Memorial Mezzanine Classroom is being converted to a digital classroom for our artist instructors. The plan is to create an interactive environment where teachers and students can focus on what is important. Teaching and connecting with the students rather than just presenting digital demonstrations is our goal in bringing that spirit of exchange into the mix.

Our annual fundraising letter has hit the mail. The initial turn out is fantastic with large donations from Rich & Connie Schimbor and Andrea Lunsford, appreciated securities and many, many, many others checks received in the past couple of weeks! YOU all truly make a difference and we are already half way to our budget of our current “2020 annual yearend campaign.” Please continue remember us with your year-end contributions. YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

These are uncertain times 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 our revenue stream loss, 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.




The November letter from David ‘Sus’ Susalla, Exec. Director, Gualala Arts

Download letter as PDF

Fall back?!

This time of year is always a hard one for me…

Days are getting shorter…I mean really short!  It seems way too early for the sun to set at 5pm. Technically, the sun set at 5:13 pm on November 1 but it seemed like it was getting dark around 4pm at Gualala Arts.

One of my goals this year has been to leave the arts center in daylight….this has been much more achievable with no events…but this daylight savings thing has thrown a real wrench in that plan.

This is just another example of letting go and adjusting to your surroundings.  If my goal is really to leave in the daylight hours, I just need figure out a way and do it. I need to realize I am not in control of this change, accept it, adapt to the new set of circumstances and plan accordingly.

Our Arts Center is nestled into a redwood forest, but our volunteer landscapers planted some donated non-native coniferous trees.  I am glad they did as this is always a reminder that we must take the beauty and knowledge that those leaves have given us over the past several months and plan for the winter and following year. With leaves changing colors and falling all around us it is not only a metaphor but a physical reminder of the cycles in life that we need to recognize, embrace, adapt to our new surroundings and plan for what the future may (or not) have in store for us.

YUP…You guessed it…it’s budget time at Gualala Arts (October & November.) My education and professional career was Accounting before Gualala Arts so I usually feel pretty comfortable with the process.  However, 2020 into 2021 is a real game changer for me…and everyone else in the world. 

I am really proud of our board of directors for not crawling under a rock and hiding to wait the storm out. With some savvy planning, creative reimagining and to the generosity our donors, sponsors and membership, we have come up with some new program offerings and learned a lot while doing so.  We have taken that experience and have budgeted for 2021 and are planning for a productive fall, winter and next year! 

I hope you will join us in this changing season and take time to stop and appreciate your surroundings, access what you are in control of (or not), adjust to our new situation, embrace the next season and find a way for you to make a difference!

With sincere love, gratitude, appreciation and cautious optimism,

David “Sus” Susalla

Executive Director

Gualala Arts



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