November 28, 2016
Dear Friends of the Washington Studio School,
Through change and challenge, WSS endures — thanks to the passion, persistence, skill and generosity of so many steadfast friends like yourselves. And yes, as in past years, this 2016 Annual Appeal asks you to consider a generous gift to support WSS’ ever-expanding offerings to the DC arts community. We began 2016 in the throes of political campaigns and, against that backdrop, we have worked hard, and succeeded, in continuing to offer high-quality programs, build and sustain a vibrant community of artists, and advance our mission in the arts.
Enrollments, classes and workshops, and special learning opportunities, including visiting artist talks, have continued to grow – in numbers and scope. Notwithstanding the turbulence of this past year, enrollments in WSS’ fiscal year ending August 31, 2016 were up 4%, building on increases of 10-20% in the two preceding years. Local and national artists, including Tom Chet Hauskens, Brian Kreydatus, Catherine Kehoe, Ken Kewley, and Maggie Siner shared their work and insight with standing room only audiences and full classes. Our beautifully designed and executed annual Big Draw and Art All Night events draw increasing numbers – this year, we had more than 800 visitors for Art All Night! The Certificate Program – the crown jewel of our advanced studies – is being streamlined and improved with the input of our remarkable faculty and Certificate students.
Meanwhile, in early 2016, the Board of Directors restated and refined its 7 strategic goals: maintaining and growing our excellent curriculum; creating a long term development plan and a culture of giving; achieving recognition as a thought leader in DC and the mid-Atlantic region; leadership by a dynamic board focused on governance; financial stability; housing WSS in a welcoming and affordable space that supports our programming; and ensuring WSS has professional, well-qualified staff to direct it in achieving these goals.
Many of you are supporting our WHAT IF Campaign, which seeks to raise funds to accomplish the last of those goals – a professional staff that can direct and lead us to achieve them. We are grateful indeed for the generosity you’ve shown so far, and we hope you’ll be with us and the Campaign in the months to come.
At this special time of year, however, we’re focusing this Annual Appeal on what’s needed for the day to day sustaining of the operations that make possible WSS’ extraordinary offerings. Our monthly rent, though still reasonable, has increased substantially. Greater class and workshop numbers require more faculty and support staff hours and increased overhead. We ask you to give generously, knowing that there are many causes worthy of our support right now. Your gift will help ensure and create WSS’ future. Enclosed is an envelope you can use for your donation. Please note that Washington Studio School is a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. WSS’ tax ID number is 52-1345165.
Lastly – we want you to engage with us! Take a class or workshop, stop by the School, come to a First Friday reception or visiting artist lecture, check us out on Facebook and social media and our website. And join us on Sunday afternoon, December 4, 2016, 5 – 7 p.m., to celebrate WSS, the arts and our community at the WSS Holiday Party! We’d love to see you.
With gratitude and warm regards,
President of the Board