Story last updated at 5/11/2016 - 1:43 pm
JUNEAU — Sealaska Heritage Institute is one of 64 organizations in the nation to receive an arts award given by the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program.
SHI plans to use some of the $100,000 award to hire master artists to teach Native art classes for prison inmates in Juneau.
“We’ve found that once our tribal members are released from correctional centers, they struggle to adapt to life outside and sometimes wind up back in prison. We are aiming to turn that around by connecting them to their Native culture and teaching them a marketable skill,” said SHI President Rosita Worl, adding the project builds on formline and carving workshops that SHI has sponsored in recent years at Juneau’s prison and halfway house.
SHI also will sponsor Native art classes for low income individuals living in subsidized housing through a partnership with the Tlingit and Haida Regional Housing Authority. In addition, all participants will receive business training for artists.
In addition to the housing authority, SHI is partnering with Sealaska, which is supplying wood for workshops and practice, the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Lemon Creek Correctional Center. The project also is supported by the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, the City and Borough of Juneau and the Juneau Re-entry Coalition.