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COVID-19 Updates

March 30, 2020

This letter was distributed by e-newsletter and social media. 

Dear friends,

If asked where I grew up, I say “Upstate, Central New York,” hoping to convey a landscape of farms dotted with yellow marigolds rather than yellow taxis. Growing up in this rural area meant that during the summer months, every other Thursday, a bookmobile would pull into the parking lot of my elementary school.  I would climb up 3 steps to enter the bookmobile, eagerly select books, and pile them in a stack by the check-out.  I would devour the books during the summer weeks and return them for new ones each Thursday the bookmobile appeared.  This love of reading was also encouraged and cultivated by my mom who was a librarian.

I thought I would share a few craft/art recommendations to those of you who also love reading.  I enjoy the in-depth stories from The Craftsmanship Quarterly.  Two recent favorites include India’s Rug Saint and Japan’s Gorgeous, Precarious Fishing Poles.  These articles, meticulously researched and beautifully written, are available online for free.

Since I lean towards autobiographies and biographies, I recently picked up Making a Life: Working by Hand and Discovering the Life You Are Meant to Live by Melanie Falick.  She interviews and profiles 29 different artists from around the world about their passion, their practice, and their path as a maker.

Tell me what have you been reading that would interest other makers?  I will share some of your suggestions in the next letter.

Lastly, before signing off, I know that artists (and arts organizations) can be hit especially hard during times of economic uncertainty.  I want to share a few resources.

For over 30 years, the nonprofit Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+) has served as an emergency safety net for studio artists. Currently, they are asking artists to take a 5-minute survey about direct and indirect impacts so they can plan for advocacy and assistance. 

There are also excellent resource lists from American Craft CouncilMassachusetts Cultural Council, and The New York Foundation of the Arts.

Mary Jo Murphy

Executive Director

maryjo@snowfarm-art.org

 

Helpful and reliable sources of information:

March 20, 2020

This letter was distributed by e-newsletter and social media.

Dear Snow Farm friends,

Snow Farm is a community, and communities are based on connection, so what does social distancing mean to us, this new concept that has become too familiar?  At Snow Farm, our year-round staff of 9 people have spread out our time in the office and are working from home when possible.  We can still answer your phone calls and emails, and luckily, we are doing what we usually do in March:  scheduling instructors for the 2021 season! 

I am taking an optimistic approach and hoping that our communal investment in social distancing NOW will benefit us all in many ways, including getting us back to our regular schedules, sooner rather than later.  However, sooner is still an unknown quantity, and I have made the decision to reschedule our April workshops until later in the year. We looked carefully at the calendar this morning and we believe it’s possible. We are contacting the instructors and will be in touch individually with anyone who registered for a workshop April 4-5 or April 18–19 with details about how to move forward. Our residential season opens on May 1, a full six weeks from now, and we are planning for those workshops. The public health situation is still a fast-moving target and we’ll keep in touch.  

When I wrote you last week, I shared that we added more flexibility to our cancellation policy, and I have now extended those changes through the end of 2020. In addition, we will waive the usual $75 cancellation fee, or roll this fee over into a donation to Snow Farm. Only the once-yearly $25 registration fee is nonrefundable.  This is not to encourage you to cancel!  Rather, I want to encourage you to be optimistic, too, and to register for the workshops you are dreaming of. Like all small nonprofits and business, we are vulnerable during a crisis, and your ongoing support and confidence in what we do is important.

I am also choosing an optimistic approach at home. I am cooking more, making phone calls to hear a voice instead of just sending a quick text, organizing my house, making future travel plans, painting, crafting, reading and supporting my family and friends. 

OK – and also hunting for toilet paper!

To all in the Snow Farm community, I wish you good health, and always, creativity.  We hope to see you soon.

Mary Jo Murphy

Executive Director

maryjo@snowfarm-art.org

Helpful and reliable sources of information:

March 17, 2020

We updated our cancellation policy to offer maximum flexibility to our students.

Our regular cancellation policy allows for a refund up to 30 days in advance of the start date of the class, with a $75 cancellation fee and a nonrefundable once-yearly $25 registration fee. For most of our classes, there is still plenty of time for a wait-and-see approach.

However, we recognize that individuals must make decisions based on their personal situation and comfort, and we want to offer the most flexibility as is possible. Please consider, also, that as a nonprofit organization, a significant loss of income could impact Snow Farm’s financial stability.

  1. We will accept cancellations up to the date that a workshop begins. Most importantly, we ask that anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) or has been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed or has symptoms, to not attend a class at Snow Farm.
  2. We will waive the $75 cancellation fee, or roll this fee over into a donation to Snow Farm. Only the once-yearly $25 registration fee is nonfundable. 
  3. We can help students to enroll in a different class later in the year or provide an account credit that can be used through October 2021.
  4. We can provide a full refund, or a partial refund and a donation to provide extra support to Snow Farm in the face of lost income. 

March 11, 2020

This letter was distributed by e-newsletter and social media.

Dear Snow Farm friends,

Our workshop season opens in April, and like many of you, we are closely following the news about the COVID 19 outbreak. As we think about how to best respond, our goal is to protect the health and safety of our community and to preserve the peaceful and inspirational qualities that make coming to Snow Farm a unique experience. To that end, I want to share some thoughts and updates with you.

First, Snow Farm is a small setting with small classes. At this time, there is no immediate risk on our campus or in the surrounding towns. We are hopeful that we will be able to offer all our 2020 classes as planned. However, we recognize that the situation is evolving, and things may change. We will continue to communicate frequently, and you can also consult our website for updates. If you have questions or concerns, we invite you to contact us: info@snowfarm-art.org, 413-268-3101.   

Over the winter, all of our spaces get a deep clean. We have scheduled extra daily cleaning of the dorms, the dining hall, and the studios when workshops are in session. We will have ample hand sanitizer and soap for frequent hand washing, and we are reviewing our practices involving the use of shared equipment in the studios. 

We recognize that individuals must make decisions based on their personal situation and comfort. Our regular cancellation policy allows for a refund up to 30 days in advance of the start date of the class. For most of our classes, there is still plenty of time for a wait-and-see approach.  Additionally, to offer even more flexibility to our students at this time, for cancellations within 30 days from the start of the class, we can help you enroll in a different class later in the year, or provide a credit that can be used through October 2021.

Most importantly, I want to send best wishes to all of you in the days ahead. Be safe, be calm, and be creative – it may be the best medicine of all!  

Mary Jo Murphy

Executive Director

maryjo@snowfarm-art.org

 

 
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