A Letter from David ‘Sus’ Susalla, Exec. Director, Gualala Arts



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The following is a letter from our Executive Director. April 1, 2020.


Pandemic Policy?!

I am writing to you directly instead of mailing a copy of our April Sketches (trying to save money and with all events cancelled!)  Obviously these are unprecedented times, and we all have to make decisions on a daily basis with the information we have.

I was asked by a couple of people, “what is your policy for this pandemic?”  After opening our big book of policy and thumbing through it…it became very apparent there is no policy for our current situation.  So, I thought about it and wrote one.  Full disclosure…I have not yet vetted it through our policy committee and board. It is very simple, and I hope that you will decide to adopt this policy as well.

Our Pandemic Policy is, “Be Kind!”

With this new policy firmly in thought, we shall “Be kind” to our artists postponing their exhibits and extending deadlines, to exploring alternative venues such as virtual galleries, to our ticket holders and offering full refunds, to our staff by having them work from home – keeping them employed as long as feasible, to our committees by having remote meetings using the latest technologies, to our rental clients by working with them to reschedule, to our donors by being frugal with their much needed donations, to our members by reaching out to them such as writing this letter, to our traveling musicians and rescheduling their performances when it makes sense…well, you get the gist…

“Christmas Spirit” by youth artist, Steven Osborn

But most of all we need to be kind to ourselves so we may be of service to others in the current challenge that has come to ALL of us.

I wish I had more answers as to when we will re-open the center, when we will get our exhibits back up (including the Dolphin Gallery), when can we gather around the pizza oven and share that awesome pizza dough recipe, when will we be able to host one of the longest running art festivals in California: Art in the Redwoods.  The obvious answer is “We don’t know yet.”

What I do know is the love I have for all of you – our faithful members, donors, artists and the family we have all built together.  

As always, we will get through this together!

David “Sus” Susalla

Executive Director 

Contribute online now (One time variable amount) :

The following is an update of our current situation as of today, April 10, 2020.  We have closed our doors to the public until May 10 (at the very earliest and perhaps into the summer) to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as mandated by our county and state. We have cancelled dozens of our events, workshops, fundraisers & exhibits through the April, May & beyond.

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

  • Hosting some of our workshops as Webinars, exploring virtual exhibits and other tech savvy experiences so that folks can continue to develop their skill-sets and explore new media from the safety of home.
  • Hosting a virtual exhibit titled, “Inferno: One Man’s Journey of the Camp Fire Through Art” by Artist Brian Holderman.
  • Posting our current Arts in the School exhibit to our social media sites in a virtual gallery setting so the families and young artists can experience their work.  Our goal is to have every young artist entry online (over 500 works!) by the end of March.
  • Proposing 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 themselves busy while sheltering in their homes.
  •  We are in final phases of our yearlong maintenance projects to maintain & preserve our building. We have engaged Trent Kreck to power wash, seal & stain the exterior of Gualala Arts.  This is one of the last phases of exterior maintenance.  Two phases, which were recently completed included termite & beetle removal and the installation of a new roof.  All of these projects are expected to protect our building for many years to come.
  • As most of you know, we have lost our location at the Sundstrom Mall. Thankfully, we have located a prime location in Uptown Gualala which should prove be very successful for the Gualala Arts Gallery & Dolphin Gift Shop.  Of course, this will require funds for the relocation, signage and store set-up.
  • As always, our Sketches newsletter is available online, but we will not be mailing Sketches in April and possibly May and into the future as warranted to save resources.

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!