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Sealaska Heritage secures federal grant for downtown arts campus

was written by Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO – Juneau , 2019-09-21 02:34:24

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This rendering by MRV Architects shows an unfinalized concept for Sealaska Heritage Institute’s downtown arts campus. It accompanied a Sept. 18, 2019, announcement about securing a federal grant for the project. (Courtesy Sealaska Heritage Institute)

Sealaska Heritage Institute announced Wednesday that it will receive a federal grant for $5.6 million to build out its vision for an arts campus in downtown Juneau.

The cultural nonprofit estimates the project will cost $12 million and hopes to break ground in June 2020, during Celebration. It would turn the parking lot at the corner of Front and Seward streets into a plaza, connecting new buildings with the regional Native corporation’s headquarters and the institute’s Walter Soboleff Building.

“We are thrilled to officially kick off the fundraising campaign for our arts campus, which is a major component of our vision to make Juneau the Northwest Coast arts capital of the world,” SHI President Rosita Worl said in a press release. “Our campus will be a major step toward perpetuating Alaska’s Native arts for Native Peoples’ personal and ceremonial use as well as for the general public.”

The new buildings are intended to house classrooms for art instruction, an art library and space for artists-in-residence.

The announcement says parking that serves the Sealaska Corp.’s headquarters will move underground.

Juneau city officials named the Front and Seward street intersection Heritage Square last year amid an artistic redesign. The campus project is part of an institute goal to make Juneau the world capital of Northwest Coast arts.

With this grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the institute says it’s about 70% to its goal for this project. The institute is asking for donations for the project online.

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Glacier Bay National Park. Glacier Bay is found in southeast Alaska, around 60 air miles west of the state capitol of Juneau. The closest town is Gustavus, Alaska situated 11 miles away. Glacier Bay National Park today includes more than 3 million acres, and is often referred to as one of the Crown Jewels of the National Park system. The Park offers snow-capped mountain ranges ascending to 15,000 feet, seaside shorelines with shielded coves, deep fjords, tidewater glaciers, coastal and estuarine waters, and fresh water lakes. Along with extraordinary vistas, there are plentiful wildlife viewing opportunities along with a wide variety of seabirds, sea and land mammals. Many visitors experience Glacier Bay National Park while on big cruise ships that visit the Park for the day, while others remain inside the Park at the Glacier Bay Lodge. While there are no roads to Glacier Bay National Park, you will discover convenient air connections to Gustavus from Juneau, Skagway and Haines. Ferry service can also be available from Juneau. Through Gustavus it is about 10 miles by road to Glacier Bay Lodge & Tours situated from Bartlett cove and hosts visitor center and departure point for day boat trips to Glacier Bay National Park. Accommodations within Glacier Bay National Park are at the Glacier Bay Lodge. The lodge features 56 rooms with dining, activities desk, gift shop, and the Park visitor center is found upstairs. Just about all rooms have private bath and/or shower and can accommodate up to four guests. Glacier Bay Lodge is open mid-May to mid-September every year.

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