Sealaska Heritage



(2017 Schedule of Events)

Vision: Juneau as Northwest Coast Capital of the World

(Brochure) Northwest Coast art occupies an important position in America’s artistic traditions and cultural history. Most importantly, it plays a significant role in maintaining the cultural diversity of the nation and the cultural survival of the region’s indigenous populations. Like jazz music, which was designated a national treasure by Congress in 1987, NWC art should be designated a national treasure of the United States.

SHI’s quest to establish the Northwest Coast Arts Capital began with the construction of the Walter Soboleff Building that is in itself a work of art, and is adorned with monumental art pieces by three master indigenous artists of international acclaim. The creation of the NWC Arts Capital ensures the survival of NWC arts, providing untold sustainable social and economic benefits to the region and state. SHI’s NWC Arts Capital plan includes the following programs and initiatives:

  • Training new NWC artists
  • Teaching NWC art in schools
  • Ensuring excellence of NWC art formline
  • Educating the public about NWC art
  • Expanding the NWC art market
  • Integrating NWC art in public places
  • Designating NWC art as a national treasure
  • Protecting clan crest ownership

Haa Latseen Community Project

(Application) Sealaska Heritage is seeking 12 Alaska Native emerging artists from Juneau to participate in the Haa Latseen Community Project. Participants will receive training in:

  • Formline design with Lance Twitchell (40 hours: May 5-6, July 7-9, October 6-8)
  • Small mask carving with Ray Watkins (40 hours: May 13-14, May 20-21, September 1-3)
  • Carving practice with Donald Gregory (up to 80 hours: most Friday evenings, May-October)
  • Business management for Native artists with Saunders McNeill (14 hours: August 19-20)

Eligibility: Must be Alaska Native and willing to commit to all 94 hours of classes and a minimum of 50 hours of carving practice. Some carving experience required. Eligible applicants will be approved on a first-come-first-served basis, up to a maximum of 12 participants. After the series of workshops and the carving practice is completed, participants will qualify to be considered for a Certificate of Artistic Merit, awarded by SHI.

Deadline to apply is May 1. For more information, contact Davina Cole,, 586-9230.

Artist in Residence

(Application) SHI operates an artist-in-residence program at the Walter Soboleff Building in Juneau. The purpose of the program is to encourage study of Northwest Coast art practices. Artists in residence may choose from two dedicated spaces on the main floor: the Delores Churchill Artist-In-Residence Studio and the monumental art space, a dedicated area for artists creating large-size Northwest Coast art pieces. The program provides artists with the dedicated work areas and access to the institute's archives, library and ethnographic and art collections for study. Artists must apply for the residency and commit to a minimum of two weeks.

Juried Art Show and Competition

Sealaska Heritage Institute'™s Juried Art Show is a biennial show and competition for Native art held in conjunction with Celebration, a major dance-and-culture festival. The goals of the Juried Art Show are:
  • To encourage and enhance the creation and production of Southeast Alaska Native objects of artistic value which have fallen into disuse and are becoming rare
  • To stimulate and enhance the quality of artistic work among our Native artisans
  • To encourage the development of new forms of art of purely Southeast Alaska Native form and design

First Friday: SHI Seeking Artists

(Register) Sealaska Heritage and the Sealaska Heritage Store participate in Juneau’s First Friday, a monthly celebration of the arts.  We provide space for artists to demonstrate and sell their work in the Walter Soboleff Building. First Friday events occur from 4:30-8:00pm on the first Friday of each month. SHI’s waives our usual $5 fee for admission into the exhibit and Shuká Hít (clan house) and we plan to have performing artists in Shuká Hít during these events. We expect a steady stream of visitors coming through. Artists who want to participate must register with SHI.

Northwest Coast Art Markets

Sealaska Heritage Institute sponsors a major Northwest Coast Art Market during Celebration, a major dance-and-culture festival. SHI also sponsors art markets in conjunction with various programs.  And, SHI recruits artists to participate in First Friday every month and Gallery Walk in December (register for First Friday and Gallery Walk) . SHI also operates the Sealaska Heritage Store and frequently seeks quality Native art to sell. If you are interested in selling arts-and-craft products at wholesale prices or consigning art to SHI, please email a photo, description and wholesale or consignment price to

Tináa Art Auction

In 2014, SHI held its first Tinaa Art Auction to raise funds for the Walter Soboleff Building. The artists floored us with their generosity and by the first-rate pieces they donated for the event. More than 50 artists gave pieces ranging in value from $500 to $55,000. Donations included exquisite work such as a bentwood chest, a large mask, a helmet, original paintings, weavings, beadwork, glass pieces and even a dugout canoe!

We held the auction in the middle of winter in a place that is fairly remote from serious collectors. But we not only sold out, we had to add more tables to accommodate more than 350 patrons. In the end, the auction raised more than $300,000. And, an original painting donated by master artist Robert Davidson became the inspiration behind the monumental art that will be featured on the facade of the new building. More than 500 people contributed to the event, including nearly 40 volunteers and 32 sponsors. (News article: Tináa Art Auction a big success)

Next Auction: September 29, 2017, Centennial Hall, Juneau

SHI will showcase contemporary masterpieces of Northwest Coast art at its second art auction in an effort to perpetuate critical programs such as Native language revitalization and workshops on endangered Native art forms. Funds from the proceeds will build SHI’s new endowment to ensure art, language and education programs live long into the future (read more). If you are interested in donating art or sponsoring the auction, contact Carmaleeda Estrada at

Native Fashion Show @ the Tináa Art Auction

(Call for Entries) (Apply) SHI will sponsor a Native high-fashion show at its the Tináa Art Auction. The institute currently is inviting artists and fashion designers to submit original pieces for the show (read more). For more information, contact Davina Cole at


SHI sponsors art workshops for students of Northwest Coast art practices, such as skin sewing, weaving, carving and formline designs.

Next: Formline Design Workshop with Lance Twitchell, May 5-6, July 7-9, and Oct. 6-8, 2017, Juneau

(Apply) (Flyer) Learn how to construct formline designs such as those that have served to cover the surfaces of boxes, chests, Chilkat weavings, large partition screens, house fronts and myriad smaller objects across Southeast Alaska. This 40-hour workshop will be held at the Walter Soboleff Building in Juneau in conjunction with the Haa Latseen Community Project over three weekends:

  • May 5-6: Friday, 5-9 pm and Saturday 10 am-5 pm
  • July 7-9: Friday 5-8 pm, Saturday 10 am-5 pm, and Sunday 10 am-5 pm
  • Oct. 6-8: Friday 5-8 pm, Saturday 10 am-5 pm, and Sunday 10 am-5 pm

The deadline to apply is May 1. For more information contact Davina Cole at

Upcoming: Model Canoe Workshop, June 3-8, 2017, Kake

(Register) (Flyer) Sealaska Heritage's Jinéit Art Academy, in collaboration with the Organized Village of Kake, will offer a Model Canoe Workshop for experienced carvers led by Steve Brown June 3-June 8. Carvers will learn the process of creating a dugout canoe, including steaming, in this six-day workshop. The deadline to register is May 15. For more information contact Davina Cole at

Upcoming: Model Canoe Workshop, Dates TBA, Klawock

SHI will offer a model canoe workshop in Klawock. Dates coming soon. For more information contact Davina Cole at


SHI sponsors mentor-apprentice workshops to perpetuate and revitalize Northwest Coast endangered art traditions, such as spruce-root weaving and dugout canoe carving. The program was fostered at SHI's first Native Artists Gathering, which brought together nearly 30 artists in 2015 who identified the most imperiled Northwest Coast Native art traditions.

Next: Southeast Native Halibut Hook Carving Apprenticeship with Donald Gregory and Thomas George, May 8-12, 2017, Juneau

(Apply) (Flyer) Sealaska Heritage will offer a five-day halibut hook carving apprenticeship May 8-12 in Juneau for experienced carvers at intermediate and advanced levels. Led by instructors Donald Gregory and Thomas George, the apprenticeship is limited to 10 carvers. The deadline to apply is May 3. For more information, contact Christopher W. Smith at

Upcoming: Spruce-Root Apprenticeship, May 12-Nov. 4, 2017, Juneau

(Instructors) ( Flyer) SHI is sponsoring a spruce-root weaving mentor-apprenticeship program, which seeks to revitalize the ancient but endangered art form. Apprentices will first learn to gather and process spruce roots with Mary Lou King and Janice Criswell from May 1-2, 2017. The workshops with Churchill are scheduled July 31-Aug. 12 and Oct. 30-Nov. 4 in Juneau, but SHI encourages weavers from other Southeast Alaska communities to participate. The application deadline is closed. For more information contact Davina Cole at

Northwest Coast Native Artist Database

(Register) Sealaska Heritage encourages Native artists to register to be advised of opportunities such as artist markets; teaching/learning classes including Master/Apprentice teams; 1% for art/Public art notices; grants and funding opportunities and more.