September 2020 Newsletter

Click here to download a printable PDF version.

Hibernation is a covert preparation for a more overt action.
~ Ralph Waldo Ellison, Invisible Man (1953)

Our Strategic Plan

During the pandemic a creative, thoughtful team of WAC members have gathered regularly via zoom to build a three-year strategic plan for the Wrightwood Arts Center. Facilitated by WAC Vice President Tim Benge, the team includes Patricia Farrell, Leslie Sikes, Nancy Kupka, Janet Vondra, Janet Thornhill and Joan McCandless. Many thanks to each member for their generosity of time and talent in this process!

Still in progress and awaiting Board approval, the WAC Strategic Plan will set priorities, focus resources, strengthen operations, and establish agreement around intended outcomes/results. Strategic planning is a useful tool for guiding day-to-day decisions, evaluating progress and changing approaches as we move forward. After completion, the plan will be available for viewing on our website.

New Member Spotlight

The WAC is happy to welcome a new member organization. Whole Life Soaps is an artisan soap company nestled in the heart of Wrightwood. It is owned and operated by local resident Bill and Laurie McConnell.

The soap aspect of the business was started by Laurie, who started making soap as a way to reduce the use of skin-irritating detergents from products used everyday in the home: products like liquid soap, body wash, commercial laundry detergent and lotion. Bill joined her in the soap making so that they could have a hobby to do together. Eventually, Laurie took a job as a librarian and left the business management to her husband, who has since expanded their product lines well beyond bar soap. Their inventory now includes everything from bar soap to hard shampoo, all-natural foaming hand soaps, bubble bath bombs, lip balms, lotions, laundry powder, candles, natural deodorants and natural tooth powders.

Whole Life Soaps prides itself on using natural ingredients in all of their products, while and avoiding the use chemical additives whenever practical. Whole Life Soaps uses a combination of essential oils and fragrance oils to appeal to a wide variety of consumers.

Feel free to follow their social media accounts @wholelifesoaps on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Show them in-store that you follow them to receive 10% off your purchase every time you shop.

You can also buy their products online at

Finally, don’t forget to participate in their annual soap haiku contest, which drew over 700 applicants from around the world in 2019. The prize is $50 and publication on a special line of soap. The contest now runs every September from 9/1 through 9/30. It’s free to enter by email. Click here for details.

The winner of the 2019 Whole Life Soaps Haiku Contest was Sarah Simon. Bill wrote of her winning entry: “The Spanish reference in Sarah Simon’s poem eventually won me over. I love the idea of soup and soap having a cleansing effect on the body (and the soul). I respect the use of two languages to express this idea. I felt this was a great risk of language.” 

soap y sopa are
not the same. although they both
cleanse este cuerpo

—Sarah Simon, 2019 winner

News from Keyboard Art School of Music

Keyboard Art School of Music is back for another great school year! They’re are all online, but have added new classes, lessons, and teachers to provide the best music and arts education they can for their students. Keyboard Art now offer everything from film-making and graphic design to acting and dance, in addition to offering private lessons in almost every instrument invented. Registration is open now for the Fall Semester. More information can be found on their website.

Art Showcase

Have a look at what some of our Wrightwood Arts Center members have been up to these last months! To submit your own for future newsletters, email your art, along with any descriptions and links we can share, to

“Festering Parasites” by Mary Duman. Find more of Mary’s recent artwork on her website.
“Sunset” by Suzi McKinney. For more information, visit her Facebook page.

Poem of the Month

Laurie Macfee


Keep hold of the hummingbirds that flit
even as they fly away.
Life renews itself in their thrum.
Like bees wandering heliotrope for pollen
you find your way back to

holes that feed you.
Always this muscle that hurts and grinds, another
year gone. Another
day waking to fog or sun.
Even as they fly away,
never forget how hard wings work

holding a body aloft.
Open this season like the ripe
plum you once thought was a cherry.
Even as you wanted the cherry.

—courtesy of Rattle‘s Poets Respond, August 23rd

Laurie Macfee is a poet, artist, educator, and art administrator. From 2015-2017 she served as coordinator then manager of the writing program at Vermont Studio Center, and currently is the program director for the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley. Visit her website for more information.

© 2020. All individual works copyrighted by their creators; used with permission; all rights reserved.

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