Project: Alaska Native PLACE Sewing Workshops, Professional Development & Dialogue
Grantee: Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center
Story and photos by: Angela Demma

Alaska Native PLACE, which stands for Providing Living Artists Creative Environments, holds a monthly gathering for Alaska Native artists (except during subsistence activities in the summer), in Anchorage and beyond on Facebook. The artists can be students or a seasoned professionals, working as an artist full-time or in their spare time. The group’s goals are getting to know one another, sharing information, showing off their latest work, finding inspiration, hearing about market and exhibition opportunities, learning, and having fun.

The A Journey to What Matters funds from The CIRI Foundation provided PLACE participants expansive learning opportunities in the fall of 2018. Four sewing workshops were taught about sewing and processing fish skin, caribou tufting, sewing polar bear hide, and sewing seal skin by Elders and Master Artists Lydia Apatiki, Eva Bryant, Emma Hildebrand and Joel Isaak in October and November. The funds also helped provide professional development opportunities during the statewide AFN conference in October by offering artists professional photography by Chris Arend and help drafting artist statements and biographies during the art market at AFN. The funds also provided an opportunity to discuss “How to Create Change Through Their Art” with visiting artist Merritt Johnson and local artists Allison Akootchook Warden and Amber Webb. Melissa Shaginoff moderated the dialogue.