ImagiNative Alaska Experience

Alaska Native Heritage Center

Funding Received: 2012
Anchorage, AK
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
April 1, 2013

The Alaska Native Heritage Center Reflects On Their Most Rewarding ArtPlace Event
The goal of the Alaska Native Heritage Center’s “Meet Alaska’s First People” initiative is to build community through Native arts. Although our primary goal is to reach the community at large, we do have a special emphasis on serving the Alaska Native community and seeking to find meaningful ways of perpetuating the cultures of the North. In an effort to meet this goal, included in the ArtPlace grant was an initiative to foster the sense of community by using ANHC as a gathering place.

At the beginning of the year, we invited each group, through the cultural advisory committee members, to use our facility. We hosted the gatherings by offering basic refreshments, time, space and staff for each of these groups to have an opportunity to gather as a community for whatever purpose fit their needs. Some groups used the facility for language classes and dance classes, others for artistic endeavors. Most of the groups participated in the cultural gatherings and a few groups used the facility several times. We kicked the gatherings off in the fall with an All Cultures Gathering. All of the regions came to participate in community, food, dance and art.

We have made efforts to re-engage the Native community. Since we do so much activity in the summer around tourism, there has been an expression from the Native Community that the Center is not a gathering no longer place for them, as it was intended to be.  To be able to engage the Native community and have them consider the Heritage Center a useful place is very rewarding and what we hoped to accomplish with the ArtPlace grant.