A Journey to What Matters Project

Homer, Alaska Native Arts Workshops

Story by Scott Bartlett


Between January and August 2023, Homer Council on the Arts presented a series of workshops with two amazing artists through The CIRI Foundation’s “Journey to What Matters” program. June Pardue and Nikki Corbett shared not only their artistic skills, but their stories, values, and senses of humor.

June presented two all-ages workshop using salmon leather: earrings and soft-sculpted animal ornaments; and returned in August for a week-long salmon leather tanning workshop. Since leather tanning involved a lot of soaking time, she also provided craft workshops so that the participants would be familiar working with their newly tanned leather. In February, Nikki Corbett taught an intensive two-day workshop on qaspeq sewing.

All of these workshops were attended by youth and adults, facilitating a rich venue for stories and sharing. This fostered a sense of communal work and collaboration among the participants. Both artists were received as absolute rock stars! They were amazing instructors and artists that enjoyed not only their craft but the process of sharing their knowledge and connecting with new people. Some workshop participants were seasoned artists eager to learn new perspectives to improve their craft, while others came with a willingness to learn something completely new.

Here are just a few quotes from workshop participants:
What an honor it has been to learn from June!”
“The best part was learning a new skill and gaining indigenous traditional knowledge.”
“It was really great to learn from June, because we share ancestors.”

Homer Council on the Arts and all of our class participants are grateful to The CIRI Foundation for supporting this wonderful workshop series! Thank you to our wonderful teachers for sharing their knowledge so generously with both CIRI Shareholders and the Homer community!

Read more about TCF’s A Journey to What Matters: Increased Alaska Native Art & Culture