Dear IAF Community,
Like most, I am ready to turn the page on the year 2020. In normal times, the unexpected, the unpredictable, and the uncertain are in my wheelhouse. But enough already!
It’s easy to look back and complain about the challenges and restrictions we have all had to endure. However, when I reflect on the year, I must acknowledge that the difficult times have made me deeply grateful for our community and for all we have shared and overcome.
Here are some things we accomplished together:
For nearly seventy-five years, we have been drawing artists from around the world to Idyllwild Arts. Having a diverse community of learners is in our DNA, but many of us may not have realized just how far our reach has extended over the decades. Then, in March, when we sent Academy students home, we realized that they were traveling to five continents, thirty-five countries, and almost two hundred cities. With a desire to celebrate our community, we launched the twenty-four-hour virtual showcase, One World. One Idyllwild. The event was a huge success and allowed thousands of people around the world to see performances by our students, alumni, faculty, and friends.
Since that time, we have found new and innovative ways to share student performances and art exhibits, allowing parents and families to see the presentation of their child and also the environment in which their child lives and thrives. These presentations became the 21st Century expression of our mission.
When we were forced to move our Academy, Auxiliary, and Summer programs online, our faculty and staff adapted quickly to engage our students and keep the community connected. While everyone agrees that in-person instruction is better, our distance-learning forums have ranged from lectures to intimate art critiques, private music lessons, and cooking demonstrations.
And finally, when we were faced with extraordinary obstacles to bring our students back to campus in October, our donors and volunteers helped to make their return possible. Providing personal protective equipment to all employees and students, making modifications to most physical spaces on campus, and increasing tuition assistance for families whose financial situations had changed due to the pandemic were just some of the vital needs that supporters helped us fill.
We have learned many things over the course of this year, but perhaps most of all, we have learned of the resilience and resolve of our extraordinary community of faculty, staff, students, parents, donors, and friends. We appreciate everyone who has stuck by us and supported our ability to bring our world-class education to our students and to deliver that education in whatever form it took to reach around the world.
As with most situations, there are both the good and the bad. As we bid farewell to the year 2020, we do so with hearts full of gratitude that we came through this year together, as a community, believing more strongly than ever in our ability to change lives through the transformative power of art.
Wishing each of you good health during this holiday season and the happiest of New Years.