ARTShops is a pilot program that was developed through a collaboration between The CIRI Foundation (TCF), the Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA), and the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation. Created in 2016, ARTShops support emerging Alaska Native arts leaders to develop their skills in advancing community-based arts programs in rural Alaska. Each year, pending funding availability, up to four ARTShops leaders are selected through an invited application process to design a tangible arts program in their home community. During the course of six-to-nine months the ARTShops leaders plan, develop and implement their project while receiving peer-to-peer support and mentoring from a cohort of ARTShops leaders, and team members from TCF and the ASCA. In addition to making art, ARTShops leaders explore the holistic understanding of art by examining connections between art making and family, language, and Alaska’s unique ecosystems.


ARTShops projects have included the following


  • Joni Edwardsen of Utqiagvik: Kamipiaq hard bottom crimping class
  • Amber Webb of Kasilof: Qaspeq sewing workshop
  • Marjorie Tahbone of Nome/Fairbanks: Iñupiaq kammak making workshop
  • Laresa Hope Syverson of Unalaska: Unangan fishskin boot workshop



  • Michelle Ravenmoon of Pope Vannoy: Fresh water seal parka making workshop
  • Rochelle Adams of Beaver/Fort Yukon: Fish wheel building, king salmon skin tanning/sewing
  • Bobby Itta of Utqiagvik: Seal skin processing techniques workshop
  • Benjamin Charles of Bethel: Mask carving workshop



  • Melissa Shaginoff of Chickaloon/Kenai/Anchorage: Museum research and 3D replication project
  • Marlene Nielsen of Kokhanok: Grass sewing workshop
  • Lily Hope of Juneau: Woven Chilkat faces and exhibition project
  • Mary Wheeler of Sitka: Sheldon Jackson “Alumni room” exhibition project



  • Teri Rofkar of Sitka: Four generations of spruce root weaving, harvesting and processing
  • Sven Haakanson of Old Harbor/Seattle/Kodiak: Kayak construction documentation
  • Anna Hoover of Naknek/Anchorage: Grass sewing workshop
  • Lena Berns of Old Harbor: Alutiiq cell phone making


Want to recommend an ARTShops leader?

Please contact The CIRI Foundation ( if you know of an emerging arts leader in your community who you would recommend as a future potential ARTShops leader.


Recent Stories from ARTShop Participants