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Director's Update, August 2020

Director’s Update, August 2020

A message from our Executive Director, Greg Wright

Posted on August 7, 2020
by Greg Wright

Summer is underway here in the North. On campus, abundant light and fresh air flow into the classrooms through open doors and windows. On the harbor, the green hull and maroon sails of our schooner Hjordis punctuate the day. And along the North Shore, the month of August has arrived – by mid month the first glimmers of yellow and red will appear high on the ridge tops.

Time flies, which means it is time for another Director’s Update. Much has happened, and most importantly, North House continues to move forward. Our efforts to reopen campus and begin to shape the coming seasons are at once challenging yet filled with promise. Let me share a bit more about the journey.


Since early July, North House’s campus has reopened. With the same warm welcome (and also some new and purposeful protocols!), limited numbers of students, instructors, friends and visitors are back on campus.

  • Our schooner Hjordis has been active out on the water, welcoming family groups to relish the fresh air and spectacular beauty of the North.
  • Live craft demonstrations outdoors have been underway thanks to our Instructor In Residence program. Face masks and table placement have helped at once keep campus safe while welcoming visitors.
  • North House’s initial offering of on-campus coursework has moved forward, utilizing new campus norms that integrate social distancing, daily health checks, classroom ventilation and required facemasks. To maximize space available, we are prioritizing use of our largest classrooms and reducing class sizes.
  • Simultaneously, our efforts to stay connected and keep the story of Craft alive through digital outreach continue to move forward. Even as our free online Crafting In Place programs continue, we are building new online in-person programs that connect students with instructors. Strong participation underscores the importance of these new digital efforts.


Even as summer has rolled forward, our talented staff team has been busy strategically and thoughtfully giving shape to the coming months and seasons. Our goal: have a plan for moving forward even as we prepare for the unexpected

Right away, we realized that releasing our usual early-Sept course catalog was not a good fit. Instead, we will use our website and e-newsletter to announce fall offerings, AND we will target mid fall for mailing out an abridged course catalog that reaches out into 2021. I strongly encourage you to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter if you haven’t already done so.

Making sure our students, supporters, instructors and partners are well informed is also key. A great opportunity to stay in touch is this year’s Annual Members’ Gathering/Annual Meeting which will be hosted online. Join us August 27th at 7pm to get the latest updates from North House board members and staff.


The strength, power and importance of community have been at the core of North House since our inception. The year 2020 has underscored all that this means.

  • In July, North House supporters set a new record with 300+ individuals stepping forward and stepping up with support to fuel our efforts and strengthen operations. As one donor said “What a gift North House is in that it not only provides the skills needed to build a life, but also the love and support it takes to build an open community.” We are humbled - thank you for helping us to chart a way forward! (and it’s not too late to add your support)
  • Early fall includes an inspiring celebration. For almost 20 years we’ve invited you to our home to celebrate craft, community, and music – this year we’re bringing it live to your house – Unplugged 2020. A week of programming and coursework will culminate with a uniquely North House celebration on September 19th:
    • Presentation from our featured speaker Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass
    • Live concert with two-time Grammy-nominated musician Eliza Gilkyson
    • Live Auction as well as our annual fund-a-need opportunities
    Tickets for the live event will go on sale August 10th

My hope with these Director’s Update is to keep the community of North House well informed and connected. Even as I enjoy sharing these updates, I hope you enjoy receiving them. If there are questions that need to be answered or ideas you would like to share, please feel free to share your thoughts simply by replying to this email.

With warmest regards,

Greg Wright
Executive Director