Sabbatical Application 2020

Dear Sabbatical Program Review Committee,

Thank you for your time and consideration of my application.

This page is a sampling of newsletters over the past 1.5 years that show a snapshot of a non-stop parade of challenges that began in the summer of 2018. Because your time is valuable (and I write too much), if you are able to review any, I suggest the ones in blue!

With Gratitude,

Jess Peña


March 30, 2019 Newsletter: Director’s statement on Fairbanks Arts not moving into Mt. McKinley Bank for the summer of 2019 (reversal of Centennial Center closing)  – A couple of months before we hosted the statewide arts conference (September, 2018), we were notified by the borough that we needed to vacate our building the following summer due to construction needs on the building. After the conference and for the remainder of 2018, I made detailed preparations for an alternative space. Not knowing what 2019 would bring with this transition, I resigned from a national council to give FAA my full attention and make space for someone else on the council.

On January 2, 2019, after all preparations for our move were in place, the Mayor notified me that it was no longer necessary to move out of the building. It was upsetting for three months of work to be rendered useless, but on a positive note–after 10 years of the bank’s 3rd floor sitting unfinished, this instigated a long-envisioned expansion by the bank and the floor is now in use. 

April 3: Arts Action Alert to send letters in support of ASCA w/ template

April 4, 2019: Advocacy success message to members

June 30, 2019: Director’s response to the State Budget Vetoes– includes 1-page summary and expanded explanation of the issues Alaskan budget cuts were announced, including defunding ASCA. While I had been sending advocacy updates to our members for month, upon the announcement I poured myself into advocacy and tried to remove barriers to aiding with advocacy by making a resource page on our website where people could learn about the issue and pull messaging from.

July 26, 2019: Arts Action Alert w/ copy of Jess’ testimony delivered in-person to the House Finance Committee

October 23, 2019 Newsletter: Message following reinstatement of ASCA

November 17, 2019 Director’s Message regarding the Centennial Center’s sudden closure: the Mayor informed me that we needed to vacate our building that same day and that it was being shut down until repairs could occur. I threw myself into figuring out the next steps. At the time, I was working towards a certificate in Infographics and Data Visualization from The New School and lost my progress and personal investment from that semester.

December 28, 2019: End of Year Support and Wandering Bear Grand Opening.  A lot of community support flooded our way. In two weeks and 170 volunteer hours, a gorgeous, contemporary space came together. Because laughter is medicine, we named it the Wandering Bear Gallery.

February 6, 2020 newsletter: Gratitude for Wandering Bear Gallery contributors and updated newsletter look

March 18, 2020 Newsletter: Director’s response to COVID-19 and compilation of creative resources The Wandering Bear Gallery was open for a wonderful 2.5 months before it was closed by COVID-19. 10 days into our FNSBSD Student Art Show, my associate director and I quickly photographed and edited around 200 works of art in the gallery and built an Up With Art website to celebrate the student work. Teachers and parents were overjoyed.

April 23, 2020 Newsletter: Update from Fairbanks Arts amidst closure

July 15, 2020 Newsletter: Covers FAA re-opening following COVID-19 closure