Program part of partnership with Kennedy Center, local groups
November 1, 2017
Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) this month will open the Walter Soboleff Building to all second-grade students in the Juneau School District as part of a national program to provide experiences and learning in the arts to all children.
The event is part of the Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child initiative established by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to create equitable access to arts education programs and resources for K-8 students. The Kennedy Center works with 25 sites in the country. Juneau was selected as the eleventh site in 2013.
The program provides an opportunity for SHI to expose children to Southeast Alaska Native cultures, said SHI President Rosita Worl.
“It is so important to teach children about the Native worldview to promote cross-cultural understanding,” Worl said. “We are thrilled that school children will come to the Walter Soboleff Building to learn about the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian.”
Sealaska Heritage first participated in the program in 2015 and the arts excursions are slated to occur annually each November.
This year’s arts excursion to the Walter Soboleff Building is scheduled for Nov. 16-17. Students will attend a 60-minute session, which will include a visit to the Nathan Jackson Gallery and cultural stories told by Daaljíni Cruise and Lily Hope in Shuká Hít (the clan house). An art kit developed by elementary art specialist Nancy Lehnhart was used to prepare and teach all second graders in the school district about clan houses and the glass house screen in Shuká Hít made by Tlingit artist Preston Singletary. As part of the lesson, the students made a miniature replica of the screen.
In addition to SHI, local groups supporting this year’s excursion are the Juneau School District and the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council.
Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research and advocacy 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. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.
CONTACT: Amy Fletcher, Media and Publications Director, 907.586.9119
Caption: Students watch storyteller Lily Hope at the 2015 arts excursion to the Walter Soboleff Building. (Photo by Nobu Koch)