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A Message from the Director:

November 2020


Heartfelt Greetings- to all our valued SAMA family: 

No one could have predicted the challenges we all faced since January 2020.  No one can predict what challenges lie ahead as well for 2021.  But one thing we all can say at SAMA is that the efforts we made on behalf of this organization we value were not made in vain. 

I would like you to look back with me over the past year and note the positive things that we managed during a period we all hope passes shortly. 

  • Crystal Soiree at Bedford Springs had the largest gathering to date for a SAMA event in Bedford.  

  • We completed the three-month consultancy with Board of Trustees and conducted a national search for the new director of SAMA. We hired our new director, Sarah Henrich, one week prior to the shutdown due to Covid-19. Unforeseen major challenges are delivered in her first week! 

  • SAMA’s staff work remotely checking on the museums periodically in all four counties.  

  • SAMA On-line begins daily workshop offerings, instructional videos and classes for children and adults during the initial shutdown period, keeping our visitors and members engaged at home. 

  • Our Spring Gala, along with the running of the Derby are postponed until September.   

  • SAMA opens the doors to four of the five facilities to visitors in June under PA’s Green Phase of operations. Although the visitation numbers are lower than hoped for, each person who ventured out for openings of our exhibits were not not disappointed. Tom McGahuey's Words Fail Us, Robert Bowden's In Search of Beauty, with a Brush, and SAMA's Southwestern Art made welcome impressions for many Covid-weary community members and visitors to our sites. Viewing the art work and opportunity to be in vibrant surroundings again breathed life into many often discouraged friends, family and art enthusiasts.  

  • Hannah Harley, our new Altoona Supervisor joins SAMA with great ideas and zeal! 

  • “And they’re Off” The Derby was ON and courageous decisions were made by the Board and Staff to move forward with plans for an amazing and successful Derby Gala event in Hollidaysburg.  


Year end-Exhibits are in place, the 2020 Biennial in Loretto, as well as A Century of Women in the Arts from SAMA’s collection in Bedford, Journeys in Nature in Ligonier,  Artists in our Midst-Art in Common and Steel Yourself, in Altoona. 


Thanksgiving and the Holidays will arrive soon. We want you to know that we have been here for you, and hope as we move toward the last days of an unforgettable 2020, you will be here for SAMA as well.  Due to the Covid-19 shutdowns and restrictions our museum has experienced a drastic 49% decrease in fundraising income, donations and visitation revenue. This impacts our daily operations, exhibition and education programs, and yes, even our staff and board morale too. However, even with these harsh numbers we have worked hard to bring you all the best of what SAMA has to offer and will continue to do so. Please consider us as we move forward into 2021 with your best year-end gift ever.  Your museum, now in its 44th year, needs your support.  Everyone at SAMA thanks you for being there for us in 2020.

To a better, brighter and healthier 2021, 


Cordially yours, 

Sarah E. Henrich 

Director and Senior Curator 

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