Sitka Loves the Arts
There's something deeply inspirational about Sitka. Whether it's the mind bending vistas, clean air, laid back lifestyle or the small town friendliness of the locals - people find that spending time here feeds the soul and heightens the senses. Perhaps that's why a surprisingly large number of artists, musicians, writers, and theatrical performers live in Sitka or come back to visit time and time again.
Art in Sitka began with the first people. Abundant food sources and a mild climate allowed the Tlingit to develop highly intricate and stylized art forms. Today, Sitka's native artisans are still second to none, with world-class wood carvers, basket weavers, silver carvers, and traditional robe weavers.
When Sitka was the capitol of Russian America during the 1800's, it became famous for high society culture, earning it the nickname "Paris of the Pacific". Sitka purportedly had the first opera house, piano, and theater on the west coast. Today, fine arts are still thriving in the middle of Alaskan wilderness. The annual Sitka Summer Music Festival provides world-class chamber music. The festival just celebrated it's 40th anniversary, and has been used as a model for chamber music festivals all over the country.
The Sitka Fine Arts Camp is a nationally acclaimed program that provides artistic development for youth K-12 in visual arts, music, dance, theater, writing, and Alaska Native arts. The camp has been named one of the top ten in the country by the National Endowment for the Arts. Nightly "Art Shares" by students and faculty highlight the program to the public.
Whale Fest, Sitka ArtiGras, HomeSkillet Fest, and the Sitka Monthly Grind are all newer events that are quickly gaining notoriety in Sitka and throughout the Southeast Alaska region.
Alaska Arts Southeast took ownership of the former Sheldon Jackson College Campus, a National Historic Landmark. As a result, they have transformed the campus into a multidisciplinary arts education campus. The new Sitka Festival of Arts, Humanities and Natural Sciences launched in the summer of 2012.