Sealaska Heritage



(2018 Schedule of Events)

Vision: Juneau as Northwest Coast Capital of the World

(Brochure) (Blog) 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    

Sharing Our Box of Treasures

Through Sharing Our Box of Treasures, Sealaska Heritage, the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) and partner communities—Klawock, Hoonah and Juneau—will teach Northwest Coast (NWC) art, the world-renowned legacy of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian. The program is part of SHI’s effort to make Juneau the NWC arts capital of the world, to galvanize the region’s economy and to designate NWC art as a national treasure.  

Through the program, partners will develop a two-year associate’s degree program in NWC art at UAS and award scholarships to applicants; expand the Juneau Fine Arts Career Pathway program to include a focus on NWC art and field-test courses in four high schools in partner communities; increase current retention rates and academic performance in math of Alaska Native high school students by integrating NWC art into math courses; document development and implementation of NWC art and culture programs at UAS and SHI; and produce a sustainability plan for the next phase of expansion.

The program, in part, builds on SHI’s effort to teach math concepts to Alaska Native students through ancient NWC art practices. The institute has partnered with national leaders in the field in recent years and successfully taught difficult math concepts through art practices such as weaving and carving. Sharing Our Box of Treasures also supports a recent agreement between SHI, UAS and the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to establish a four-year NWC art program. Funded through a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Alaska Native Education Program. 

Next: Latseen Northwest Coast Art & Leadership Academy, July 5-16, University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau

(Apply) (Flyer) The institute will sponsor a Latseen Leadership Academy. Latseen Northwest Coast Art & Leadership Academy this summer for Alaska Native high school students in Juneau (formerly called Latseen Leadership Academy). Travel scholarships are available to students outside Juneau. The training is designed to provide engaging culturally-based education and art activities for youth in support of their future academic and personal success with a focus on rigor, relevance and relationships. Students have the option of earning credit at the University of Alaska Southeast. The program is scheduled July 5-16 at UAS. Application deadline: May 15. 

Upcoming: Art 181: Beginning Northwest Coast Design, July 16-Aug. 1, University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau

(Register via Paper) (Register Online) (Flyer) SHI will co-sponsor Art 181: Beginning Northwest Coast Design at the University of Alaska Southeast this summer with teachers David R. Boxley and John Hudson, Jr.. This is a great opportunity to train with experts in the field. It is available for dual credit worth 3 credit hours at UAS and .5 credit hours at the Juneau School District high schools. Scholarships are available and it is open to everyone! The class runs from 9 am-3:30 pm, Monday through Friday, July 16-Aug. 1. The course is also sponsored by UAS and the Juneau School District. 

(Related: SHI, UAS, school districts, sign agreements to advance Northwest Coast art, math training

Jinéit Art Academy Youth Program

SHI began piloting the Jinéit Art Academy Youth Program in 2016, building partnerships in four Southeast Alaska communities with the common goal of exposing Alaska youth to high-quality Northwest Coast art programming and increasing the number of Alaska youth exposed to and familiar with Northwest Coast art forms. Read our blog to see photos of recent program activities in Craig, Juneau, Sitka, and Angoon. The program continues through June 2018. 

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

(Apply) 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

SHI will award prizes in six divisions: Carving and sculpture (wood and metal carvings and sculptures); sewing (skin and fur, beadwork and other); weaving (Chilkat, Ravenstail and basketry); two-dimensional (paintings, drawings and prints); and endangered art (spruce-root weaving and mountain goat horn spoon carving).  

Juried Youth Art Exhibit

SHI's biennial Celebration includes a Juried Youth Art Exhibit of Northwest Coast art in an effort to increase the number of young artists making high quality pieces and to share their work with the public. Cash awards are made to schools of the winners for art supplies to be used by schools or organizations for future instruction in Northwest Coast art. All youth chosen to exhibit receive a specially-made Juried Art Show t-shirt and winners also receive a certificate. The competition is open to all youth in grades 6-12. The exhibit is held in June every even year. 

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


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

Next: Skin-sewing workshop, March 8-11, ANB/ANS Hall, Haines

(Register) (Flyer) SHI, in collaboration with Chilkoot Indian Association, will sponsor a skin-sewing workshop with Jeremiah James in Haines from March 8-11 at the ANB/ANS Hall. Limited to 15 participants. $100 fee covers four-day class and materials. 

Upcoming: Skin-sewing workshop, March 22-25, Hydaburg City School, Hydaburg

(Register) (Flyer) SHI, in collaboration with Hydaburg Cooperative Association, will sponsor a skin-sewing workshop with Jeremiah James in Hydaburg from March 22-25 at the Hydaburg City School. Limited to 15 participants. $100 fee covers four-day class and materials. Register by March 19.

Upcoming: Formline workshop, April 8-15, Prince of Wales Vocational and Technical Education Center, Klawock

(Apply) (Flyer) SHI will sponsor a formline-design workshop with David R. Boxley in Klawock from April 8-15 at the Prince of Wales Vocational and Technical Education Center. Application deadline: March 30.   

Haa Latseen Community Project

(Register) (Schedule) (Flyer) Sealaska Heritage Institute is inviting emerging Northwest Coast (NWC) artists to participate in the 2018 Haa Latseen Community Project. 

The project, which takes place in Juneau, includes the following components:
Carving Practice hosted by Donald Gregory. Most Saturdays, now through May 19
Business Class for Alaska Native Artists: May 26 & 27
Frontlet Carving with Ray Watkins. April 23 - May 5 + May 12
Emerging NWC artists are welcome to apply to attend one or more of these components. However, we encourage applicants to attend all components to gain the program's full benefits. Preference will be given to Alaska Native/Native American artists, low-income housing residents, and applicants who commit to attend the full the program. Applicants must be 18 years or older. Some carving experience is required for the carving and the carving practice components. 

Sign up for 2 or more components at once:

Sign up for only one component:

Haa Latseen Community Project is a Sealaska Heritage Institute program, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, and the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, in partnership with Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority and Lemon Creek Correctional Center, with additional support from the Haa Aani Carving Program, the Juneau Re-entry Coalition, and the City and Borough of Juneau. The Formline workshop is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Alaska Native Education Program.


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. Check back soon for upcoming apprenticeships. 

Artist/Teacher Recruitment

(Apply) Sealaska Heritage Institute and the Juneau School District have entered into a partnership to offer Northwest Coast Art opportunities to high school students. We are looking for interested artists to add to a teaching artist roster, which will be used by teachers looking for specialists to join their classrooms. These opportunities could be one class, one semester or whatever fits best for the teacher and artist.    For more information contact Mary Richey at or 907.586.9257.

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. 


(Volunteer) SHI could not succeed without the help of its volunteers! If you are interested in supporting SHI as a volunteer, please fill out our application.