Sealaska Sponsor Formline Design Classes at Prison with Master Artist

SealaskaTeacher to lead Tsimshian immersion classes in the evenings

Published August 25, 2015

JUNEAU, ALASKA—Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) is bringing Washington-based Tsimshian master artist David A. Boxley to Juneau to teach formline design to inmates at the local prison. Boxley, an advanced Tsimshian language student, also will teach language mini-immersion classes in the evenings at the Walter Soboleff Building.

A masterpiece by Boxley was unveiled during the grand opening of the Walter Soboleff Building in May. The main entry features his piece “Am’ala: Wil Mangaa da Ha’lidzogat” (The Man Who Held Up The Earth), which is thought to be the largest carved-and-painted Tsimshian house front in the world. Several Northwest Coast art scholars have noted the house front will become the masterpiece for which Boxley will be known.

The institute is sponsoring formline design classes to connect inmates to their culture and to help them earn a living upon release, said SHI President Rosita Worl.

“We want our people to have an outlet that connects them to their culture and that could supplement their income when they return home,” Worl said.

SHI is co-sponsoring the evening language classes, which were organized by Nancy Barnes. Haayk Foundation also is a co-sponsor.

The classes at Lemon Creek Correctional Center are scheduled 9-4pm, Monday-Thursday, Aug. 24-27. The Tsmishian classes at the Living History Center in the Walter Soboleff Building are scheduled 6-9pm, Monday-Thursday, Aug. 24-27.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private, nonprofit founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.

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