In 1988, Janice Criswell, a Tlingit basket weaver volunteered her time to share her culture with Sheldon Jackson Museum’s summer visitors and the Native Artist Residency Program was born. As residents, Alaska Native artists create artwork , traditional and nontraditional, demonstrate their techniques, and discuss their artistic process with visitors at the museum. They offer a hands-on workshop or lecture or lead another outreach or community engagement activity to creatively connect with the locals and visitors from near and afar. While here, the artists often find inspiration in the museum’s collection and augment museum staff’s knowledge and understanding while more closely examining, researching, and discussing the collection in collections storage and on exhibit in the gallery.
The twenty-six year old residency program has grown and expanded since its inception, largely due to financial and in-kind support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Alaska Airlines, Alaska Arts Southeast Inc., the Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum, other local arts organizations, volunteers, and the general public. The museum has most notably partnered with the Sitka Sound Science Center and the Sitka Fine Arts Camp and has annually co-hosted one artist with the latter to teach classes to youth and adults.
Artists-in-residence are selected on a competitive basis in the spring. For an application or answers to questions about the program, contact the Sheldon Jackson Museum curator by calling 907-747-8904 or e-mailing Jacqueline.Fernandez-Hamberg@alaska.gov.
Individuals interested in making a donation to the residency program should contact the Friends of the Sheldon Jackson Museum by calling 907-747-6233 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also donate online.