Story last updated at 11/16/2016 - 1:41 pm
Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) this month will open the Walter Soboleff Building to all second-grade students in Juneau as part of a national program to expose children to the arts.
The event is part of the Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child program, which was founded by the Kennedy Center to create equitable access to arts education programs and resources for K-8 students. The Kennedy Center works with 20 sites in the country, and 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.
The arts excursion to the Walter Soboleff Building is scheduled Nov. 17-18. Students will attend a 45-minute session that will include a visit to the Nathan Jackson Gallery and cultural stories told by Mary (Daaljíni) Folletti in Shuká Hít (the clan house). Elementary art specialist Nancy Lehnhart developed an art kit that 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 make a miniature replica of the screen.
In addition to SHI, local groups supporting this month’s excursion are the Juneau School District, the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council and Behrends Mechanical, Inc.