The Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum are pleased to announce the selection of the Alaska Native artists for this year’s Alaska Native Artist Residency Program, a program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum. Selected from a pool of applicants, these artists will come to the Sheldon Jackson Museum from all over the state to share their art forms and culture over the course of the next four months.

Between July and October, the Sheldon Jackson Museum Alaska Native artists-in-residence will work in the museum gallery, provide free hands-on classes teaching their art forms, give lectures, and provide the museum with material culture consultations on artifacts. Artists-in-residence will connect the general public to their culture(s) through creation of art in an open studio-like format. Visitors will have opportunities to engage with artists and learn about Alaska Native traditions, art forms, artists’ techniques, and sources of inspiration.

Artists-in-residence will receive an artist stipend for their work, lodging, and travel to and from Sitka, and will have a variety of opportunities to study the museum’s permanent collection and educate staff through “cultural consultations.” As part of their residency, artists have scheduled time to study artifacts on exhibit and in collections storage. Through the study of artifacts at the museum, artists have an invaluable opportunity to examine material culture created by their ancestors. The benefits of this study time extend to the museum staff who gain priceless insight into artifacts as the artists share their knowledge and observations. The indispensable information captured in these cultural consultations is recorded in museum records, adding to the knowledge of present-day staff and members of the public and to future generations of museum goers, researchers, artists, and Sheldon Jackson Museum staff.

This summer, the Alaska Native Artist Residency Program will include the following four artists:

  • Neva Mathias, Cup’ik doll, grass basket and dance fan maker (July 10-28)
  • David John Angaiak, Yup’ik mask maker and mixed media visual artist (Aug. 18-Sept. 8)
  • Selina Alexander, Koyukon Athabascan beader, caribou tufter and moose and bear bladder sewer (Sept. 14 – Oct. 5)
  • Golga Oscar, Yup’ik textile artist and photographer (Oct. 6-27)

In addition to creating art at the museum and studying the permanent collection, resident artists will also hold lectures and hands-on-classes. Talks will take place in-person and simultaneously streamed on Zoom; most classes will only be held in-person, with the exception of David John Angaiak’s class, which will be offered in-person and on Zoom simultaneously. Contact the museum for the most up-to-date information about each class.

The 2023 special artist-in-residency events include:

  • Beginner Cup’ik Grass Basket Making Class with Neva Mathias (meets four times: July 13, 14, 20, and 21)
  • Artist talk on Cup’ik grass basketry by Neva Mathias on July 21
  • Talk on Cup’ik subsistence practices by Neva Mathias on July 27
  • Natural Pigments and Story Knife Class with David John Angaiak (meets August 24)
  • “Behind the Mask – A Yup’ik Expression in a Modern World,” artist talk by David John Angaiak on August 25
  • “A Snapshot in Time – Destined to Live in a Place Our Forefathers Once Considered Modern,” talk by David John Angaiak on September 8
  • Artist talk by Selina Alexander on learning her art forms on September 28
  • Beginner Athabascan Beading Class with Selina Alexander (meets: October 4 and 5)
  • “Decolonizing in the 21st Century,” talk by Golga Oscar in October – date TBD
  • Yup’ik Bag Making Class with Golga Oscar (meets three times: October – dates TBD)

All classes require advance registration. Students are required to obtain materials or purchase a pre-made pack of class materials. Some classes have age and space limitations. To sign up for a class, or to learn more about any class or the materials required, call the museum at (907) 747-8981. For any information on artist talks or further details on days and times when artists are working in the museum, call (907) 747-8981. To view events related to the Native Artist Residency Program, visit the Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum Facebook page or website at or visit the Alaska State Museum website at

The Native Artist Residency Program is made possible through the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Friends of the Sheldon Jackson Museum, and private donations.