Local News

Sealaska offers free formline design workshops

An old totem pole is seen in a storage lot in Klawock.

Sealaska Heritage Institute has scheduled a series of free formline design workshops in communities throughout Southeast Alaska.

The goal is to revitalize interest in formline design, a term that describes the complex designs, such as ovoids and split Us, that are the underlying components of Northwest Coast art, and to ensure that people are learning the designs correctly.

“There have been a number of master artists who have commented on a bit of decline in the integrity of formline design and so we’ve been directed by our Native Artist Committee to focus on helping to improve the quality of the formline,” said SHI Arts Director Rico Worl.

The Native Artist Committee is a panel of artists and art historians founded by Sealaska to guide the institute on its art programs.

Another goal of the workshops is to foster more Native artists who are able to teach formline.

“We have a lot of great artists in Southeast Alaska but not all of them have the technical skills for teaching, and it’s really important that we give these skills to the artists so that we can provide the training to our youth,” Worl said.

Sealaska also hopes that public school teachers will participate in the workshops, and then incorporate Native art into their classrooms.

The workshops will be offered in Craig, Hydaburg, Ketchikan, Juneau, Yakutat, Haines, Wrangell, Sitka, Hoonah and Angoon. They will be taught by Lance Twitchell, Gordon Greenwald, Ronnie Fairbanks and Nathan Jackson.

They are open to everybody, but Sealaska shareholders will be given a preference if space is limited.

In Craig, a workshop is set for March 2 and 3; in Hydaburg, it will be March 30 and 31. Both will be taught by Ronnie Fairbanks.

In Ketchikan, a workshop is scheduled for April 27 and 28, taught by Nathan Jackson.

For a complete schedule and more information, go to http://www.sealaskaheritage.org/programs/JineitArtAcademy.htm

To register, contact Shaadoo’tlaa at lorene.hanlon@sealaska.com, 907.586.9129.

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