Sitka Arts CampusSitka, AK
Sitka Fine Arts Camp is a nationally-recognized non-profit dedicated to high-quality arts education in Alaska. In February 2011, it became owner of the National Historic Landmark Sheldon Jackson Campus in Sitka. They now have 20 buildings and 20 acres on the historic campus to restore and revitalize.
ArtPlace spoke with Cassandra Olson, Development Director of the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, about what it will take for this project to be successful.
ARTPLACE: What do you have to do really well to achieve success with this initiative?
OLSON: We are really going to have to continue to build momentum and enthusiasm for the revitalization of our campus. In the first year we had 500 volunteers and 350 donors contribute to the cause. (In a town of 8,000 that is pretty impressive.) We know, however, that this is a long-term effort, with a significant long-term need for support.
We need to make sure that each of the programs we bring to the campus is exciting and successful. It’s our hope that the supportive, risk-taking, progressive spirit that fuels our summer camp sessions will be present in everything we do on the campus. Partnerships with organizations and other individuals in the community allowed us to expand our resources and offer seven new initiatives this summer! Events including a Suzuki Music Camp, TEDx, a Musical Theater Camp, and a group of Sitka Fellows made up part of what was the inaugural year of SitkaFest! on the Sheldon Jackson Campus.
ARTPLACE: How do you expect the community to change as a result?
OLSON: By revitalizing the Sheldon Jackson Campus we are not just making it beautiful again. Sitka is an amazing and incredibly unique community. This initiative will highlight what is really special and will create new opportunities to build links between distinct efforts to offer high-quality education and experiences in Sitka.