Sealaska Heritage


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May 20, 2013

A major national donor has awarded $475,000 to Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) to help fund construction of the Walter Soboleff Center and monumental art for the building.

ArtPlace America, a national collaboration accelerating creative placemaking, selected SHI from among 1,225 applications from across the country. The institute was one of 54 organizations to receive an award.

“We are very grateful and honored to receive this very prestigious award,” said Byron Mallott, chair of the Walter Soboleff Center Capital Campaign Committee.

“It moves us closer to the center,” said SHI President Rosita Worl. “We’re still working very energetically to try to raise the rest of the funds.”

SHI must still raise an additional $4,000,000 plus $250,000 matching money for a Rasmuson grant to complete construction of the $20,000,000 center.

Most of the ArtPlace funds will go toward construction of the facility, which is expected to break ground soon in Juneau. A portion of the grant also will be earmarked for three master-apprentice teams, which will create three Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian masterpieces. The monumental art will include a clan house screen and house posts for a ceremonial space inside the center.

“When people come into the building and see it, they are going to be in awe of the master work,” Worl said.

SHI also will be reinstituting the master-apprentice system, which almost disappeared.

“We’ve seen more and more people using it more recently and we want to make sure that it survives because it’s probably the best way for our young artists is to train under master artists,” Worl said.

Sealaska Heritage Institute was founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding. 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.


CONTACT: Rosita Worl, SHI President, 907.463.4844; George Abbott, ArtPlace America,