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Sealaska Heritage almost at $20M construction goal

Organization has raised $17.5 million for under-construction Soboleff Center

Posted: December 6, 2013 - 12:06am

Despite construction setbacks due to flooding in September, Sealaska Heritage Institute still plans to complete the $20 million construction of the Walter Soboleff Center by January 2015. 

Chief operating officer Lee Kadinger spoke to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce lunch crowd Thursday at the Moose Lodge about the center’s progress and design. Thanks to funding from the city, state and Rasmuson Foundation and other organizations, along with 680 private individuals, Sealaska Heritage Institute has raised $17.5 million dollars to build the center, Kadinger said.

The bottom floor of the building will display the organization’s historic collections, and provide reading and studying space for students and researchers. The first floor will serve as the only traditional clan house in Juneau, Kadinger said. The ceremonial space will allow for dancing and storytelling. The building also will contain living space for an artist-in-residence.

Right now, steel beams are going up at the construction site. Kadinger said the center is a big endeavor for the time frame Sealaska Heritage Institute decided on.

“Not too many $20 million facilities are built in two to two-and-a-half years,” he said.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is planning its first major public fundraiser to help bring in the remainder of the $20 million. Media associate Christy Eriksen spoke about the Tináa Art Auction, which asked big name Pacific Northwest Native artists to donate work to the cause. TJ Young, Duane Bosch and Robert Davidson are three of the artists contributing to the auction.

The event, which will include dinner and an indigenous fashion show, will be held Feb. 1 at Centennial Hall. More information can be found online at www.sealaskaheritage.org/programs/Art/TinaaArtAuction.html.

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