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Sealaska receives $475K award toward Soboleff Center

Project expects to break ground in September

Posted: May 21, 2013 - 12:07am

Seakaska Heritage Institute received a major award to help fund the forthcoming Walter Soboleff Center, a modern cultural and heritage center, the institute announced Monday.

The award of $475,000 comes from ArtPlace America, a collaboration of national and regional foundation funders, banks and federal agencies, which selected SHI from 105 finalists from a pool of 1,225 applications.

“It’s very exciting,” SHI president Rosita Worl said. “Of course we’re pleased because it moves us closer to construction.”

In total, the center needs $20,000,000 to reach completion. The ArtPlace award will fund construction of the facility and kickstart three master-apprentice teams. The teams will create monumental art for the ceremonial space within the center.

“I’m really very excited about the art we’ll be commissioning,” Worl said. “We’re hoping we’ll get some fantastic pieces.”

Since the project’s inception late last year, the Alaska Native nonprofit organization received backing and support from several organizations including state and local funds. The organization has already raised more than 75 percent of the total funds needed.

Worl also added that the funds will be used to increase community outreach through social media and its lecture series.

Ground for the project is expected to break this year, with Worl hoping for sometime in September.

“One of our goals is to make Juneau the Northwest Coast art capital of Alaska,” Worl said. “This grant moves us closer to that.”

• Contact reporter Kenneth Rosen at 523-2250 or at kenneth.rosen@juneauempire.com.

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