December 2020 Edition

Puppet Slam moves online for X-mas, a final call for mail-art, and a round of thanks in this final edition of 2020.
Stage used in A Trip to Cowtown by Tayloranne Finch and Daniel Nickerson.

Dear Friends, 


This is an unusual newsletter for a bevy of reasons, but one of the biggest? We're not leaving for the winter! Our building typically gets some sort of renovation or rearrangement around winter solstice, giving volunteers and staff the chance to take a vacation. But as we all know, 2020 decided to do its own thing. And J St. Regulars Radio Hour organizer James Zeller thinks the show should go on, for everyone in lockdown seeking music, fun and comradery through the winter holidays. I know I'll need some  - December is the birth month of many of our volunteers, and I'd usually be cooking for our solstice dinner party right about now. James will be celebrating his day on December 29th live on our stream, and I hope you decide to join us then.

We're celebrating and reflecting on the year the best way we know how - with performances and art! This year's Puppet Slam will be streaming live and for free between 7 and 8 p.m. December 25th and December 31st, during our J Street Regulars Radio Hour on Facebook and Youtube. We're looking at our donor lists (and checking them twice), sending mail-art to those who contributed at least $50. I am honored to be a part of an arts organization that cares for its volunteers, fans, and studio artists with such energy and dedication, even as we have to lock-down and stay apart. Here's to a 2021 with more love, fun and togetherness!

Take care (and eat some birthday polenta in my honor),
Katy Warner

Puppet Slam //
December 25th & December 31st 7-8 p.m.

Are you wondering where you can see a shadow play based on a Wiyot tale featuring the Wiyot Tribe Afterschool Program Tsek Houdagh, a tour of a tiny free library by a sock puppet, a cute singing demon who lives under the stairs, a dinosaur trying to cheer up his lamenting friend who is hiding under the bed, and two marionettes, Peggy Pilgrim and Toe-Tappin' Tommy on a trip to Cowtown, all on the same night?!?

At the Sanctuary’s X-mas day Puppet Slam! Join us for the serious, the sacred and the silly On The J Street Regulars Radio Hour, 7-8 p.m., on Facebook @thesanctuaryarcata & Youtube @ Sanctuary Arcata. The puppet slam will present short pieces made by local puppeteers. Here's some of what you'll see:

We thank the Wiyot tribe, whose land we are on, and are thrilled to celebrate and honor indigenous peoples with "The Stolen Salmon", a shadow-play based on a traditional Wiyot tale, created by Dell'Arte resident artists Zuzka Sabata and James Hildebrandt together with the children at the Wiyot Tribe afterschool program Tsek Houdaqh in the spring of 2016. Pictured above: a scene from The Stolen Salmon.

Isaac Bluefoot will present Artemus Kneehigh (guess what he’s made out of), who will host an art show. Artemus' famous brother Bartleby will sing a song in special dedication. The fade out is epic.

Animator Violet Crabtree’s Wisteria lives in a house that is herself. “Cleaning her house is self improvement, but nobody's perfect. Maybe personal imperfection is something to embrace, and even celebrate,” says Violet. Right on, we agree with that for sure, all day long.

Puppeteer Oscar Nava brings us a short featuring an Alligator named NaughtyNaut, who is so sad because he has been put on Santa’s Naughty list. What will he do?

The Cowtown Serenaders, Tayloranne Finch and Daniel Nickerson will be offering a few excerpts from the video adaptation of their multimedia performance piece "A Trip to Cowtown." Using marionettes, textile art, physical theater, shadow puppets, and original music, "A Trip to Cowtown" tells the story of Peggy Pilgrim, Toe-Tappin' Tommy, and their trip to visit the Weaver who resides on the other side of Blueberry Hill.

Finally, there’ll be an interactive segment. So have a puppet (or a sock) ready!

And, as if this were not already bordering on too much fun, we’ll close the year with a slam! A New Year’s Eve Puppet Slam Spectacular! Stayed tuned puppet fans.


Thank you
Footprint Foundation

We excitedly share the recent news of an unsolicited end-of-year gift of $10,000 from the generous Footprint Foundation.  This unrestricted gift will provide much relief to the Sanctuary. Thank you Jessica and John and everyone at the Footprint Foundation from everyone at the Sanctuary.

The Footprint Foundation has been a regular financial contributor to the Sanctuary and has helped us to pay out over $18,000 to artists and collaborators in our community and is currently sponsoring our J Street Regulars Radio Hour.  I have eternal gratitude for all of our contributors.  If you would like to support us please go to our donate page.

Katie Belknap
Image above: Katie, Alison and Lora reaching new heights back in 2015.

Foliage of Feelings //
Call for community entries


Thanks for all the wonderful words for the Foliage of Feelings community art project.  Sanctuary artists Hannah Hoffman, Violet Crabtree, Natalie Williams, Katy Warner, and I will be painting leaves soon and we are still in need of a few more responses and here again is the prompt:

Imagine you’ve stepped into 2021 and everything is going amazingly well. How do you feel?  Sanctuary artists will paint your words onto leaves made out of recycled materials and mount them onto the tree trunk.  In populating the tree with our shared dreams, may we come one step more towards manifesting a more loving communal experience.  Read about the power and health benefits of visualization here.  As we walk by, may we be reminded of our common goals.

Please send your greatest desired feelings in 1 to 10 words by December 20th to go in the first round of leaf grafting.  Mail or drop off at the Sanctuary 1301 J St. Arcata, CA 95521 or email Katie at  All entries will be anonymous.
-Katie Belknap

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

Artists give a one hour program to communicate and connect, to send the healing sounds of music, to educate on American Music History and celebrate Artists of Color, and more.

Coming up we have some exciting guest artists. This Wednesday, 12/16, Oryan Peterson-Jones plays American Primitive style classical guitar as well as assortment of non-western stringed instruments. Makes for a unique, and for me at least, an educational show. ( 

Then we have two great wordsmiths to close out the week: Thursday, 12/17, singer-songwriter John Elliott is a legend in his own right around the Sanctuary. A past Artist-in-residence, he’s also given fantastic live performances at the Sanctuary when traveling through from his home base in SF. We’re thrilled to have him dial-in live for Radio Hour! Then, on Friday 12/18, local poet Tony Wallin-Sato will give his first Sanctuary performance. (Regular host James Zeller will open and provide supporting music). Mr. Wallin-Sato will read his own work, as well as work from people who are incarcerated at Pelican Bay. I first heard Tony read when he opened up for Jimmy Santiago Baca at Northtown Books back in February, and am thrilled to have him. In my humble opinion, this is a local poet whose perspective you should definitely hear. 

Our final special guest of the month is Nigella on December 30th. You may have heard her perform locally with “Petty Education”. She’ll be playing her own great originals and choice covers.

On behalf of our regular musical contributors and myself - thanks so, so much for your continued support and Love.


From our Studio Artists

Video Workshop Series
Part 3: Claymation Animating //

with Violet Crabtree

Here is the third of our series of workshop videos sponsored by the Grace Us Foundation. They will cover a wide variety of art and craft projects, most of which you can create at home with easy to find supplies. Stay tuned for new videos on our Youtube channel and on our website. This final workshop by Violet Crabtree covers the steps of animating a stop-motion puppet using free-to-use software. Here is the full playlist for those who want to see all of the steps together.

New prints for sale //
by Jackie Stuber

Jackie Stuber has been producing cyanotypes and has a new set of contact prints of ferns and redwood leaves mounted on reclaimed wood blocks, sized about 5'' x 7'' and ready to hang. $35 each, includes shipping costs. See her updated page on our web store.

Mailart and Donations

We would like to thank all our donors this year.  Your generosity has been key to sustaining our organization through this turbulent time.  For the remainder of the year, we will continue to send mail-art to anyone who sends us a donation of $50 or more.  Our donate page is here. 

Above: The Weather is Fair But it is Windy by Natalie Williams

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.

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