September 2020 Edition

Black Lives Matter, housing, creative writing and building community
The smoke-tinted view from the great hall mid-day on September 9th.
Photos by Adam Taylor.
Greetings Friends,

The sun never rose on Wednesday. I woke up at 8 a.m. to a dark red world and nixed my plan to go outside. Instead I continued to research local properties to purchase, dreaming about an ecovillage I want to live in someday. A place where a community can become self-sufficient and act as stewards of the land, not as owners. It was some form of succor as we monitored the fires and made sure my father had evacuated safely. If his cabin does burn down, I know that I have a network of friends here in Humboldt who can help us get him back on his feet.

The crux of that community is the Sanctuary, which is why I'm pleased to share this interview musician John Elliott did with co-founders of the Sanctuary Katie Belknap and Solomon Lowenstein. The first segment is about the fire season, housing, and Solomon's new project - an 18 acre property being developed into a community swimming hole. Many local organizations are reevaluating how we live on the land and I am excited to be part of this movement. You can tune in to the interview here on John Elliott's Audiode podcast. His new album the Informational Age came out September 4th and was recorded at the Sanctuary.

We hope you and your loved ones are safe wherever they are. This edition of our newsletter features calls for action and self-evaluation on the Black Lives Matter movement, along with some ways you can connect with community here in Arcata.

With gratitude,
Katy Warner

From our Studio Artists

From Jackie Stuber and Marina Gargarina: The medium of letterpress perfectly lends itself to messages which must be said with words, spelled out letter by letter, and widely transmitted with utter clarity. Back in July 2020, we (Jackie @jacquelynstuber and Marina @plant.thing) used the biggest #woodtype we could find at the Sanctuary's letterpress studio to assemble and print posters in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Since then, we have been distributing them locally through word-of-mouth and Instagram, and posters are also now available at the free farmstand run by @humboldtmutualaid (Mondays 12-6 pm, corner of 12th and M Streets in Arcata).

There have been many individual voices in our community speaking out against the atrocities being committed against black folx everyday across our country, however -- the silence in between those voices has been audible and disconcerting to us. One of the most important things being asked of white people in this movement is to speak up and have hard talks with our friends and families about the injustices and horrors the current system inflicts on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). Silence condones these systems of oppression. Desmond Tutu says it best: “If you are neutral in situations of oppression you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

Putting up this poster can be a first step towards clearly stating your support for an anti-racist movement and starting a conversation with those in your immediate community. However, it is only one of many actions that are needed to be part of the fight to create real change. Every day, we can take steps to educate ourselves about the issues in our community, donate if we have extra funds, volunteer to support progressive candidates in the next election, and speak up when our well-meaning friends and family say problematic things. We all need to do better, it’s going to be hard, but turning a blind eye when an issue doesn’t affect you only reinforces the status quo. Ask yourself what you can do with the skills you have, and with the materials and tools around you.

We are grateful for the existence of a community artspace in our town, which has given us an opportunity to amplify this important message via the visually bold medium of letterpress. The Sanctuary's commitment to providing artists access to resources has encouraged us to use our voices in a new way, though neither of us are letterpress artists.

We are now asking the entire Sanctuary community to join us, use your voice, show your support, and speak out when you see or hear something you know is wrong. Do not condone it by staying “neutral.” We cannot be free until everyone is free.
How to begin to create again...
by Hazel Rickard
'The gesture is the exhibition of a mediality: it is the process of making a means visible as such. It allows the emergence of the being-in-a-medium of human beings and thus it opens the ethical dimension for them.' 
          - Giorgio Agamben, "Notes on Gesture," 58. 
I think of myself as a landscape, and my mind can be that bird that soars high above hunting, seeking out the truth of things--all of the things that made me, my white settler and missionary ancestors, family secrets and shames, the magic and the machines, my own stories of romance and failure, the way it looked, felt, sounded when I was being made. And the violence of it all, just outside of my own frame for too long.
I ask myself: How can I respond to this moment amidst the pandemic, anti-racist uprisings, emboldened white supremacists, healthcare crisis and economic depression? There are a number of practical and political issues to engage with in this moment and yet we are isolated as never before. As a white woman who grew up in Arcata and recently moved back, I am experiencing this moment through a feeling of dislocation. I am swimming upstream against narratives that used to define me (of my innocence and specialness, for example, attributes that I now see as mythic privileges of whiteness). I am now raising a daughter and writing a dissertation on theatrical spirit mediums and nineteenth-century racism. In my research and my life, I ask what it looks like to dismantle feminine whiteness, and there are contradictions, for my thought is a process of dis-identification and responsibility: to see glimpses of the ugly truth in all that made me and yet try to choose otherwise while maintaining a sense of self. 
I am writing to you, friends of the Sanctuary, in order to introduce myself and my thinking to you, and to say that now I am ready and excited for input and to pour some of this chaos in my mind into a project... (continued at our new artist blog)

Community Connections

From James Zeller: On September 6th, 9 neighbors from around the Sanctuary went for a safe walk together, 6 feet apart and wearing masks. Turns out that with a little planning, it was easy and safe. 

First, I wrote some madlibs and another prompt with questions, and Katie Belknap helped me make an invitation. The night before and day of, I was nervous. What if it's a bad idea? I didn't want anyone to feel unsafe, or even worse, get sick. I went over my plan with a friend who is a school nurse, and when she said she was willing to show up, I said to myself "If she thinks it's okay, it can't be too crazy".
I drew 6 foot lines on the sidewalk, and blue foot shapes to tell people where to stand. We started by standing in place for a few minutes, to get a feel for 6 feet apart. I thought we'd walk sideways and do madlibs while we walked. In retrospect, that sounds hilarious. We broke formation immediately, people went everywhere! But, somehow everyone stayed 6 feet apart! "Phew!" I was relieved.  We walked up to Stewart Park, 2 blocks away, and talked for about 20 minutes. A few people did mad-libs. I laughed, in my mask! At the end everyone agreed it felt very safe, that it was great to socialize, and that we should do it again soon!
We're sharing our invitation here in a template form, and encourage you to have a walk with your neighbors! To stay safe, make sure everyone wears a mask. Consider drawing 6 foot lines and having everyone stand in place at the start, while you give safety reminders. It helps! Plan a route with plenty of room, so staying 6 feet apart is easy. Consider a short walk to a park or open space. Maybe stop and just stand a while so people can converse. Do madlibs for an ice breaker. You can be safe and see your neighbors again!
Pacific Union School's garden, led by Farmer Erin Peterson, now has a website! Bookmark this page for updates from the gardeners, including videos diaries like this one. The Week one video features an update from Farmer Erin, and a garden game for kids to play at home. Week two features Erin in the kitchen making hot sauce, and a sound mapping activity. We look forward to the next videos!

Ecovillage Informational Meeting //
Sept. 19th, 12 - 1:30 p.m. online

Zoom meeting link:
or join by phone at 1-669-900-6833 

Sanctuary Cooperator Katy Warner and gallery exhibitor Alan Peterson are co-hosting this meeting with Cooperation Humboldt online on Zoom. Our goal is to create a community based on sustainable food, energy and housing practices. We are looking for people who share a similar vision for life in the 21st century, value consensus-based decision making, and are looking to live in a multi-generational village of 10 to 25 people. The current founders group envisions some tiny homes and many common facilities; a workshop for creative reuse projects; a medicinal herb, native plant, and food garden; an arts & media production center; and a commercial kitchen to create a functional live and work environment. 

Are you interested in a smaller or bigger village, or a spot farther flung from town? Do you have a theme around which you wish to develop the culture of your village? This is just one beginning, and we want to hear from you. Cooperation Humboldt is offering resources, support, and is helping to incubate an independent network of many ecovillages. Come join us for an Introductory Meeting where we will discuss all of the components, explore available properties, and help you network with like-minded builders and dreamers. Fill out the survey to let us know about your interests and desires for this project, and we look forward to meeting you.

J St. Regulars Radio Hour //
Weeknights 7 - 8 p.m. online

Instagram @creative.sanctuary

The Radio hour is every weekday from 7 to 8 p.m. live on Instagram and Facebook. Each Wildcard Wednesday features our friends and neighbors as they come forward with something to share. Last Wednesday saw the return of our incredible neighbors Jimbo Silva and Johnny Myers (is it still a Wildcard Wednesday if we have return guests? Sure, why not?). James Zeller returns as host Mondays and Wednesday, and Daniel Nickerson hosts Tuesdays and Thursdays.

From our Friends and Regulars

Solomon Clark and Hello World Computer Sales and Repair have raised over $2000 for the Sanctuary with this promotional offer for refurbished computers. Click the image for a direct link to the full ad. 25% of proceeds go directly to the Sanctuary. For quotes, call 707-845-0280 or email
From Nick Vasquez:
Like writing? Have a story to tell?
Looking for something to do during Covid-19? You may be eligible to participate in a 4-week writing study!

Nick Vasquez from the Developmental Psychology program at Humboldt State University is looking for participants for a study on creative writing and its effects on physical and mental health. Here is the link for anyone interested in participating.
From Zo Devine:
Hello all Sanctuary community - I'm inviting you collectively or singly to share photos of the spaces you and yours use to make visual art in. I host artistsworkspace on Instagram to showcase the spaces we all use. So far this has been beaches, coffee tables, scaffolding, full studios of artists across the US, Europe and Canada. I don't alter or edit what the artist sends me. It's visually in their own "words". Because everyone is just so interesting and Instagram is so limited, I'm thinking about doing a book as part 2 so every artist can have a little more space. Anyway, I hope to post the workspaces of Sanctuary artists. If anyone is interested, just message me on Instagram and we'll go from there.

Donating to the Sanctuary

Want to support the Sanctuary?
Consider a one-time or ongoing donation to help us during the extended closure. Donations of $50 or more will receive a piece of mail art from one of our artists. Click here for more information.


Copyright © 2020 Creative Sanctuary, All rights reserved.

the Sanctuary,
a project of Creative Sanctuary, a non-profit corporation
1301 J Street
Arcata, CA 95521

Creative Sanctuary is dedicated to creative growth through artful living.
We encourage people to teach, inspire and know each other.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Creative Sanctuary · 1301 J St · Arcata, CA 95521 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp