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COVID-19 Updates

Current Status

Snow Farm friends,

We miss you terribly and are heartbroken by so much of the pain and loss that fills our world right now. We are also deeply grateful for the beauty of the changing seasons, the resilience of artists, and the generosity of the Snow Farm community. We hope that all of you are healthy and are finding ways to stay creative and connected.

The following is a summary of the most current and important information related to the Snow Farm 2020 season in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • We are taking a month-by-month approach to cancelling workshops. At this time, all programming through the end of July has been cancelled. We are standing by for workshops in August, September, and October to determine if we can operate safely and in compliance with state and local guidelines. We will make our next set of decisions by or before June 19, 2020.

     
  • Snow Farm is facing, at mimimum, a $350,000 loss of earned income. During normal times, we operate as a nimble, efficient, and resourceful nonprofit organization. The impact of the pandemic is a daunting and potentially devastating situation. We are asking everyone who values our work and understands that creativity is ESSENTIAL to health and well-being to give generously at this critical time. 

     
  • We have revised our cancellation policy to provide maximum flexibility. You can now cancel at any time up to the date a workshop begins, and we will waive all penalties. Only the $25 once-yearly registration fee is nonrefundable.

     
  • If a workshop you are enrolled in is cancelled, you can choose one of the following options
    • attend the workshop on a rescheduled date (when applicable - some but not all workshops are able to be rescheduled)
    • switch to a different workshop later in the year
    • donate what you have paid to Snow Farm as a tax-deductible gift (note: Snow Farm is facing a minimum of $350,000 in lost revenue and all gifts are critically important at this time)
    • donate part of what you have paid to Snow Farm and receive part as a refund
    • receive a full refund

May 15, 2020

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

Dear Snow Farm community,

As each week passes, I think about the workshops that aren’t happening at Snow Farm, and what it means for our community.

We have now cancelled all programming from April through the July, more than half of our season. We remain on stand-by to run workshop in August, September, and October, if we feel it can be done safely and in compliance with local and state government. This rolling approach comes from our commitment to you, our community, and with the hope that we can limit some of the damage to our income.

In normal times, Snow Farm runs as a nimble, efficient, and resourceful nonprofit organization. However, we do not have an endowment, investments, or deep cash reserves.I’ve been poring over cash flow scenarios, and the hard truth is that Snow Farm has lost – at minimum – $350,000 of earned income.

In early March, we took immediate action by laying off some staff and reducing expenses; our private mortgage lender generously waived a year of our payments. The very first day that the federal Payroll Protection Program opened, we secured a loan. We are continuing to look for every nickel and dime we can save. Even with all these adjustments, we face a daunting and potentially devastating situation.

We need your help.

If you are able, we ask that you give as generously as you can at this critical moment. All gifts are important.

Donate Now

If Snow Farm is essential to YOU, please support us now. 

Mary Jo Murphy

Executive Director

maryjo@snowfarm-art.org

PS.  Your help is needed NOW as Snow Farm faces $350,000 in lost revenue from COVID-19 cancellations.  Thank you for believing in Snow Farm and our mission. 

 

May 12, 2020

We've been hoping and hoping to #savethesummer . . .

Now, after much discussion, planning, and re-planning, we have decided that we just can't safely run Snow Farm Summer this year. Unfortunately, there is still too much uncertainty about the management of the COVID-19 pandemic to feel confident that we could offer a safe environment for students coming from all over the country to a residential campus.

We know that Snow Farm Summer means so much to those of you who are returning, and others of you have been anticipating a new and exciting creative learning experience. For all of you, and for us, we've been looking forward to July for many months. We know that people are making a lot of sacrifices right now; we're sad and sorry that losing a summer at Snow Farm has to be one of them.

April 14, 2020

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

Dear friends,

Many years ago, while living in sunny California, I spent an April weekend putting away my wool sweaters, corduroy pants, and suede shoes and then unpacking my cotton sweaters, khaki pants and light colored tops - my spring wardrobe! On Monday morning, I shared my weekend activities with a native Californian colleague, and she looked puzzled while listening. Then she said, “You are definitely from the East Coast – out here we wear the same clothes all year long.” Clearly, I missed the changing of seasons, which is one of my reasons I eventually moved back.

Daffodils, tulips, crocuses, and irises are such a welcome sign that spring is here. Traditionally, we hold a spring clean up day on the Snow Farm campus in April, and we celebrate the opening of our residential season in May. This year it will be different. For the safety of all, we have made the decision to reschedule or cancel all of our May workshops. If you are already registered for one of those classes, we will be in touch with you individually to make other arrangements. If you want something to look forward to, you will see some new offerings on the fall schedule. The flowers are still going to blossom on campus in May, and we will share them with you on our social media feeds.

As we look beyond May, we will continue making decisions about our workshop schedule based first on local, state, and federal guidelines and in consultation with our Board of Directors. The Snow Farm staff is evaluating all the ways we might can meet our mission and adapt our programs to make them as safe as possible in the "new normal." We expect to decide about June classes in early May, and we thank you for navigating this new terrain with us.

I'd also like to invite our local neighbors to join us for a highly-distanced spring clean up during April. We know that many of you are looking for more ways to be active and outside, and hey, we have 50 acres that need raking, clipping, weeding and more! Win-win! The idea is that over the next few weeks, we can have one person (or family) at a time come to Snow Farm with their own tools and help with some yardwork. One of our property managers, Mike or Micah, will greet you (from 6' away), direct you to a work area, and off you go. More details and sign up here.

Please watch the COVID-19 Updates page our website for more information during these quickly-changing times. 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

 

 

March 30, 2019

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.

Mary Jo Murphy

Executive Director

maryjo@snowfarm-art.org

 

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

 

 
Helpful and reliable sources of information: