NEWS_Murdock trust pledges $400 thousand toward arts campus

NEWS_Murdock trust pledges $400 thousand toward arts campus

Posted By:
Kathy Dye
Kathy Dye
Published On: December 22nd, 2020

Gift contingent on SHI reaching fundraising goal

Oct. 28, 2020

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has pledged $400,000 toward construction of the Sealaska Heritage Arts Campus, currently being built in Juneau by Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI).

The donation, which will be given only when the institute raises the remaining balance needed to finish construction, would put SHI a step closer to its fundraising goal of $13 million. The institute still needs to raise about $2 million.

“We are deeply grateful to the Murdock Trust for earmarking this donation for the arts campus. The Murdock family has been a great friend of SHI,” said SHI President Rosita Worl, noting the trust was also a major contributor to the construction of the Walter Soboleff Building.

Although the Covid-19 pandemic put a damper on the fundraising campaign earlier this year, staff has been moved by the number of people who have given since construction began in August, said Worl, noting more than 1,000 donors have contributed so far. That’s more than 40 percent higher than the number of donors who gave to build the Walter Soboleff Building, which opened in 2015, and the campus campaign is still ongoing.

“We have felt honored by the volume of individual donations we have received since breaking ground,” Worl said. “The excitement generated by the project is palpable, and we are indebted to the people who have given so far. We can’t wait to share the arts campus with the community and the world.”

The names of people who give $25 or more will be permanently engraved at the campus.

The campus is part of SHI’s vision to make Juneau the Northwest Coast arts capital of the world and to designate Northwest Coast art a national treasure. In phase one, the institute built its Walter Soboleff Building, which opened in 2015.

The campus, which is phase two, is being built across the street from the Walter Soboleff building in an area designated as Heritage Square by the City and Borough of Juneau in 2018. The facility, which will encompass approximately 6,000 square feet, will house indoor and outdoor space for artists to make monumental Northwest Coast art pieces, classrooms for art programming and instruction, and space for performances, Native art markets, an art library, artists-in-residence, faculty and public gatherings. Instruction will be offered for both non-credit and credit for students seeking art degrees through SHI partners, the University of Alaska Southeast and the Institute of American Indian Arts. It will also have capabilities for distance learning.

“We are grateful to support organizations like Sealaska Heritage that continue to promote cross-cultural diversity, relationships and understanding of Alaskan Native cultures,” said Steve Moore, executive director of M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. “By providing training and work space for artists and art students, organizations like Sealaska Heritage help keep the rich, diverse history of the Native Alaska community alive to educate and inspire generations to come.”

The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust has been supporting the growth of Pacific Northwest nonprofits since 1975. Its mission has been to serve individuals, families and communities across the Pacific Northwest, including Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, through grantmaking, enrichment programs and convenings that strengthen the region’s educational, social, spiritual and cultural base in ways that are innovative and sustainable. Follow on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.

CONTACT: Amy Fletcher, SHI Media and Publications Director, 907.586.9116,


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