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UAS Northwest Coast Arts: Ancient Art Forms Meet Modern Technology

The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Northwest Coast Arts program hosted its first Online Northwest Coast Woolen Weaving course and Online Northwest Coast Basketry course this spring.

Juneau, Online, Alaska

Date of Press Release: June 26, 2020

Photos taken and provided by student Cara Gilbert
Photos taken and provided by student Cara Gilbert

The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Northwest Coast Arts program hosted its first Online Northwest Coast Woolen Weaving course and Online Northwest Coast Basketry course this spring. Due to COVID-19, no “face-to-face” courses could be held during the last part of Spring term and all of Summer 2020 term. This meant that the two NW Coast Arts courses already scheduled would have to either be cancelled or taught online. Could our seasoned instructors meet the challenge of teaching these courses online for the first time?

Kay Parker taught a stacked Northwest Coast Woolen Weaving course at the beginning of the Summer term, then Delores Churchill & Holly Churchill-Burns followed with a Beginning Northeast Coast Basketry course. Despite not being experienced in online teaching, and experiencing a few technical challenges along the way, both instructors and their courses were a huge success. The Students expressed their gratitude to the instructors for keeping the art going during such as stressful time.

Online teaching also brought new opportunities for students ordinarily unable to attend in person. Kay Parker’s weaving course enrolled a cohort of San Francisco students who gathered together as part of Tlingit & Haida’s San Francisco chapter. These five students were so grateful for the opportunity to be able to take a course based on their cultural heritage despite being far away from their traditional lands and wished that there were more opportunities like this.

"I say hooray to the University for using the online technology to continue teaching NW Coast weaving styles. In the end, teaching the online class consisted of explaining and demonstrating, just like in the classroom setting. Having the ability to offer these classes online to a broader audience is a “silver lining” to our current situation.” - UAS Woolen Weaving instructor, Kay Parker.

“I know it can be a pain [for the instructors] but I like these zoom classes and being able to be at home. Although I do miss the interaction [when meeting face-to-face], they [the instructors] are doing a really good Job. They are doing great.” Student, Cara Gilbert who was able to take both NWC Woolen Weaving and NWC Basketry.

The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), in partnership with Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI), will offer a new Associate of Arts (AA) degree with an emphasis in Northwest Coast arts this Fall 2020.

Please visit the UAS schedule for information on upcoming classes.

UAS professor and master carver Wayne Price is teaching Beginning Northwest Coast Carving, Intermediate/Advanced Northwest Coast Carving, and Northwest Coast Tool Making this Fall.

Lily Hope is teaching Career Development for the Artist, then Natural Dye later in the Fall.

Kay Parker will teach a stacked Northwest Coast Woolen Weaving course starting in September.

We also have scholarships available for Alaskan Native students to take Northwest Coast Art course through the Juneau campus! Please contact Davina Cole, drcole3@alaska.edu for an application or more information about Northeast Coast Art courses.

These courses were provided by the University of Alaska Southeast with support from Sealaska Heritage Institute through a program funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education ANEP Grant PR# S356A170001. The contents of this program do not necessarily represent the policy of the DOE, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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Press Release Contact

Wayne Price
Associate Professor of Northwest Coast Art, University of Alaska Southeast

wgprice2@alaska.edu
Davina Cole
Program Coordinator of NWC Art, University of Alaska Southeast

drcole3@gmail.com
Keni Campbell
University of Alaska Southeast
(907) 796-6509
klcampbell4@alaska.edu