Grant funds native art academy - $500,000 to teach Northwest Coast formline

A half-million dollar grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation has allowed Sealaska Heritage Institute to start a three-year project called the Jinéit Art Academy - Jinéit means handmade.

Under the grant, artists of all skill levels can develop their formline in the artists’ chosen medium, according to a Sealaska Heritage Institute press release. Formline is the complex ovoids and split Us that are the building blocks of Pacific Northwest art.

Sealaska plans to have Native artists work with K-12 teachers to incorporate Native art classes into public schools.

“Part of the project will be introducing Northwest Coast art to art teachers in the schools and then secondly to be teaching our Native artists how to teach in the schools,” Sealaska Heritage Institute president Rosita Worl said.

The grant funds instructor training to help teach accomplished artists how to teach formline. Artists of all levels can learn from these trained instructors during 10 workshops held in different Alaskan communities.

A final workshop is scheduled for Juneau to produce art kits for future formline classes.

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