SHI, Klawock City School District, sign agreement to expand Northwest Coast art program

SHI, Klawock City School District, sign agreement to expand Northwest Coast art program

Posted By:
Kathy Dye
Kathy Dye
Published On: December 21st, 2017

Sealaska Heritage Institute and the Klawock City School District have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to help develop the district’s existing elective Northwest Coast (NWC) art courses for high school students into a career pathways course over a three-year period. The effort is funded through a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Alaska Native Education Program, and as part of the program, Sharing Our Box of Treasures, MOAs have also been signed with the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), the Juneau School District and the Hoonah School District.

Through the program, partners will develop a two-year associate’s degree program in NWC art at UAS and award scholarships to applicants; expand the Juneau Fine Arts Career Pathway program to include a focus on NWC art and field-test courses in four high schools in partner communities; increase current retention rates and academic performance in math of Alaska Native high school students by integrating NWC art into math courses; document development and implementation of NWC art and culture programs at UAS and Sealaska Heritage; and produce a sustainability plan for the next phase of expansion.

Klawock School District receives the first partial funding to help pay for staffing, supplies, tools, and instruction needed to support the project. Left to right: Jon Rowan, Jim Holien, Mary Richey, Kari Groven.

Photo by Eva Rowan  

This month, Art Director Kari Groven and Program Manager Mary Richey traveled to Klawock to meet face-to-face with the Klawock core project team members for the first time: Superintendent Jim Holien, Native arts teacher Jon Rowan, and administrator Eva Rowan.

SHI staff learned about current and past efforts of art instructor Jon Rowan and the school district to teach NWC arts to Klawock’s youth and discussed how to build on these efforts as part of our partnership and grant program.

SHI were given a tour of the Klawock school and the new Klawock carving shed. The school library is rich in NWC arts…

…and to our staff’s delight: SHI’s newly published Baby Raven books.

Student Mary Turpin during a Native arts class in the school’s wood shop working on a shallow relief project using a design by Jon Rowan. Jon Rowan teaches NWC Art to students in grades 1–12.

Klawock’s newly created carving shed, featuring a totem pole in the works. Advanced and dedicated current or graduated high school students of Jon Rowan may apprentice on monumental art projects to further develop their skills outside of school.

Over the last several years totem poles were created and restored in the shed to the left of the new building.

Retired totem poles from Prince of Wales Island that have been re-created in the last couple of decades by lead carver Jon Rowan and his many apprentices.

Klawock Totem Park, with several recarved totems by Jon Rowan and apprentices.

Screen hanging at Klawock School, created during the 2014 Latseen leadership camp on POW.

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