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SHI's first art auction attracts big names in Northwest Coast art

Posted: December 19, 2013 - 12:02am
David Boxley works on a bentwood box he is donating to the Tináa Art Auction, scheduled for Feb. 1 in Juneau.  Courtesy of SHI
Courtesy of SHI
David Boxley works on a bentwood box he is donating to the Tináa Art Auction, scheduled for Feb. 1 in Juneau.

Native artists who have committed pieces to Sealaska Heritage Institute’s first-ever Native art auction rank among the top Northwest Coast artists in the world.

The list of donors who have committed work to the Tináa Art Auction — which will raise funds to build the Walter Soboleff Center in Juneau — reads like a Who’s Who of Northwest Coast artists, said SHI President Rosita Worl. Some of the artists are so well known, their pieces sell for tens of thousands of dollars, and the auction will be a chance for collectors to own work by artists they might otherwise not be able to buy.

“Here you have a chance of maybe bidding and getting a Preston Singletary glass piece, a Robert Davidson painting, a Nathan Jackson carving. Those people who are interested in Northwest Coast art will want to attend this event,” said Worl, noting other big names include artists such as Delores Churchill, Nicholas Galanin, Steve Brown, David Boxley and Clarissa Rizal.

The tickets and table sponsorships are now available at www.sealaskaheritage.org or by contacting Christy Eriksen at christina.eriksen@sealaska.org or 586-9262. The auction is scheduled Feb. 1 at Centennial Hall in Juneau.

More than 40 artists have committed pieces ranging in value from $500 to $55,000, including weavings, wood and glass carvings, jewelry, and paintings. The event will include a dinner featuring Alaska cuisine, a Native high fashion show, a live auction and a silent auction. The donors include big names in Northwest Coast art as well as younger, emerging artists. Their generosity underscores their support for the Walter Soboleff Center, which will be an educational facility to perpetuate and promote Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures, Worl said.

“Once we put the word out our artists just immediately began donating or committing pieces because they wanted to support the construction of the Walter Soboleff Center,” said Worl.

The center broke ground in August. SHI still has to raise $2 million — including $250,000 in matching funds to qualify for an additional $250,000 from the Rasmuson Foundation. The event is part of a larger effort by SHI to make Juneau the Northwest Coast art capital of the world.

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.

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