SHI offers instruction on Northwest Coast art at the Sealaska Heritage Arts Campus in Juneau. The program provides beginning, intermediate, and advanced training to individuals interested in learning about these unique and culturally rich art forms. Led by experienced instructors, these classes offer teachings in a wide variety of subjects, including basket weaving, beading, formline design, metal engraving, skin sewing, spruce-root and cedar-bark harvesting, tool making, and wood carving. The classes are part of SHI’s goal to establish a bachelor's degree in Northwest Coast art through its partners, the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) and the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Many of the classes at the campus may be taken for college credit through UAS, which offers an Associate of Arts (AA) degree with an emphasis on Northwest Coast arts.
SHI offers in-person workshops to people living outside of Juneau in Alaska and the Lower 48. These classes are designed to teach participants about Northwest Coast art's traditional techniques and styles. Through hands-on instruction and guidance from experienced artists and teachers, participants can develop their artistic skills in ancient art practices such as basket weaving, beading, formline design, metal engraving, skin sewing, spruce-root and cedar-bark harvesting, tool making, and wood carving. Community workshops provide a supportive and inclusive learning environment that encourages creativity, collaboration, and cultural exchange.
Online classes are a form of remote learning where students can participate in educational activities from the comfort of their own homes or workspace. These classes are designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the art forms and techniques unique to Northwest Coast cultures. Through online instruction and interactive sessions, students can develop their skills and knowledge of this rich and diverse art form and connect with a community of like-minded artists and learners. Overall, online classes provide an accessible way for individuals to pursue their artistic interests and deepen their understanding of the Northwest Coast art traditions.
SHI sponsors master-apprenticeships to perpetuate and revitalize Northwest Coast art, especially endangered traditions, such as spruce-root weaving and dugout canoe carving. The program was fostered at SHI's first Native Artists Gathering, which brought together nearly 30 artists in 2015 who identified the most imperiled Northwest Coast Native art traditions. This traditional method of training younger artists still provides the best instruction.
A significant population of Alaska Natives is in correctional institutions. SHI collaborates with Lemon Creek Correctional Center to offer NWC art training in prison as a way to connect Native inmates with their culture and give them a means of supporting themselves through art sales upon release.
SHI operates an artist-in-residence study room at the Walter Soboleff Building named after master artist Delores Churchill to encourage the study of NWC art. Artists have access to SHI’s extensive ethnographic collection for study while they are in residence. SHI also hosts artists at its Sealaska Heritage Arts Campus and accommodates artists working on large-scale projects, such as totem poles and dugout canoes.
We perpetuate, enhance and share Southeast Alaskan Native culture through our Institute, our store, and our True Southeast visitor experience.