LEGACY TO CONTINUE IN PARTNERSHIP
ANAF to gift assets to Sealaska Heritage Institute
April 8, 2016
The ANAF board of directors’ choice to gift its assets to SHI not only acknowledges its prodigious work but also how the mission of both organizations is to promote, preserve and perpetuate Alaska Native arts. Both organizations share a vision to create economic opportunities through art sales. They serve many of the same artists throughout the state — from Ketchikan to Kaktovik.
Under the agreement, SHI will acquire ANAF’s intellectual property, inventory and other valuable items.
“The partnership between the Alaska Native Arts Foundation and Sealaska Heritage Institute is a natural fit that will continue to build a stronger future for indigenous arts in Alaska,” said Gail Schubert, Chair of ANAF.
"Our vision was to build markets and exposure for emerging and established artists whether in traditional Native art forms who learned from the grandparents in rural communities to the contemporary artists doing innovative, versatile work who achieved their masters of arts at some of the best art institutions in the world. Our depth, scope and focus will continue through the Sealaska Heritage Institute and the good work they do to build a platform and voice for Native artists," said co-founding ANAF board member, Susie Bevins Ericsen.
Longtime culture and arts advocate and SHI President, Dr. Rosita Worl said, “Sealaska Heritage over the years has admired the work done by the foundation and appreciated its effort to penetrate large markets and educate collectors about Alaska Native art. SHI is very pleased to inherit the legacy of the Alaska Native Arts Foundation, which did groundbreaking work, and carry on its mission to promote Alaska Native art and artists.”
“We hope to continue its tradition of enriching peoples' lives with Native art and contributing to artists' income as well as educating the public about Native art and culture through our exhibitions,” Worl said.
Sealaska Heritage opened a new cultural building in downtown Juneau in 2015. The building includes the Sealaska Heritage Store, a retail space that specializes in Alaska Native art. SHI hopes to feature artists who sold their work through the foundation at the store. The new building also includes an exhibits hall, through which the institute educates people about Alaska Native cultures and art. The exhibits display both traditional and cultural objects and contemporary Native art. The building is in the heart of the tourism district in Juneau, which receives about one million visitors annually.
ANAF and SHI have operated parallel and complimentary programs to benefit Native artists. They include master artist workshops, promotional events and fashion shows, all aimed at providing business training and obtaining fair market value for Native art online and in the galleries and stores.
ANAF announced in February, 2016 that it would close after 14 years of service and support to Alaska Native artists and the Native arts community. Established in 2002, ANAF supported Native artists in rural and urban Alaska. ANAF began as an online e-commerce operation, eventually opening an Anchorage gallery. ANAF represented over 1,300 artists, traveled to 25 rural communities to purchase art directly from Alaska Native artists, organized nearly 20 artist promotional events, and hosted over 50 art openings in Alaska, the nation and overseas.
ANAF and SHI welcome the public to a joint celebration and ceremony on Friday, April 8, 2016 at the Alaska Native Arts Foundation Gallery, located at 500 West 6th Avenue in downtown Anchorage. The doors open at 7:30 am for coffee and pastries, with the “gifting ceremony” from 8:30 – 9 am.
Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private, nonprofit founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.