NEWS_SHI Board of Trustees moves to postpone Celebration 2020

NEWS_SHI Board of Trustees moves to postpone Celebration 2020

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

SHI to explore ways to host virtual events

March 27, 2020

The Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) Board of Trustees has decided to postpone Celebration 2020 to next year amid concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus and its spread in Alaska in recent days.

The biennial dance-and-culture event, originally scheduled June 10-13 in Juneau, is now planned for June 2-5 of 2021.

In the meantime, SHI staff will explore ways to bring virtual events to the public this year through its social media platforms. One idea is to host a Facebook or YouTube watch party and show Celebration 2018 during the days Celebration 2020 would have streamed. Such an event would bring people together virtually in a space where they could watch the performances and events together and talk to each other online, said SHI President Rosita Worl.

“We could also have designers and artists photograph themselves in the pieces they made for the fashion show and set up a gallery on our website. We could do the same thing for the Toddler Regalia Review. We could curate a virtual exhibit for the Juried Art Show,” Worl said. “We could come together online and through social media and celebrate together this year, no matter the crisis that is all around us.”

SHI is also inviting the public to weigh in with feedback and ideas on ways to organize virtual events by making suggestions through

Celebration is one of the largest cultural events in the state, attracting nearly 2,000 dancers and an additional 4,000 attendees to the four-day event. Celebration is also a financial boon for Juneau, according to research. A study by the McDowell Group in 2012 found that the economic impact of Celebration that year was $2 million during the four-day event.

Since the virus outbreak, SHI has been working to integrate virtual platforms to deliver its services. Even after the crisis passes, SHI will continue to offer virtual delivery and programming, as it will become a normal part of our daily lives, Worl said.

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,

Photo: Celebration by Bill Hess, courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute. For a high-res version, contact

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