Program part of partnership with Any Given Child Juneau, local group initiative
Oct. 10, 2019
Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will open the Walter Soboleff Building next week 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 Art Bus Excursion program established by Any Given Child Juneau. The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, as the backbone agency supporting this initiative, unites community partners around common goals, to set priorities for arts education in Juneau schools. The Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child initiative was originally created 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 27 sites in the country to deliver this mission. 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 occur annually each fall.
This year’s arts excursion to the Walter Soboleff Building is scheduled for October 15 & 16. Students will attend a 75-minute session, which will include cultural stories told by Lily Hope in Shuká Hít (the clan house) and Nathan Jackson exhibit highlights by Ishmael Hope. 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. Juneau School District’s Indian Studies Program (ISP) specialists assisted classroom teachers in presenting the art kit. The ISP cultural specialists will lead second grade students in singing a Tlingit song that was taught in school during the visit to the Walter Soboleff Building.
In addition to SHI, local groups supporting this annual excursion are the Juneau School District, Behrends Mechanical and the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council.
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.
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