Sealaska Heritage


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‹April 19, 2014 

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has hired a new art director to manage and expand its art programs as the institute prepares to open the Walter Soboleff Center in Juneau next year.

SHI hired Kari Groven, a well-known fixture in the Juneau arts community who has been instrumental in developing the Juneau Arts and Culture Center (JACC) into one of the town’s most vibrant art hubs. The institute was searching for a candidate with very specific skills, and Kari was a near perfect match for the position, said SHI President Rosita Worl.

“One of our goals with our new center is to expand our art programs and offer educational opportunities that really engage the community and visitors,” Worl said. “Kari has years of experience of building successful art programs from the ground up and involving people who want to learn about the arts. She is a good match for us,” said Worl, noting Groven also has experience in fundraising and managing grant-funded projects, which will also be a significant part of the position.

Groven was hired by the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council (JAHC) in 2007, and a couple of months later, the Council took on the commitment to turn the old armory building near Centennial Hall into the JACC, she said. Executive Director Nancy DeCherney and Groven, a program coordinator, were tasked with turning the vacant building into a productive center for the arts, Groven said.

In the past seven years, Groven has played a key role in developing and overseeing programs such as the center’s gallery, exhibitions, the JAHC’s concert series, Alaska Poetry Out Loud Competition and Artists in the Schools. She also was a main producer of the performance section of the hugely popular Juneau Wearable Arts Extravaganza. The JACC has been so successful that in seven years they’ve grown from two full-time employees to five full-time and five part-time workers, thanks in large part to Groven’s contributions at the Council.

At SHI, among other things, Groven will develop new programs under the guidance of the institute’s Native Artist Committee, which is comprised of master artists. She also will develop a performing arts program for events in the Walter Soboleff Center’s clan house space. Groven said she’s looking forward to working at the Walter Soboleff Center.

“I work in the arts because I believe art makes people’s lives better and the community a better place to live. Art makes life more enjoyable, enriching and meaningful, and I’m excited to see what we’ll develop at the Walter Soboleff Center,” she said.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private, nonprofit founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.

CONTACT: Rosita Worl, SHI President, 907.463.4844