With a $18,589 grant from the Alaska Community Foundation’s Alaska Native Social Justice Fund, the Alutiiq Museum is launching the Alutiiq Arts Advocacy project. This one-year effort will assist Native artists with marketing their work to encourage artistic practice and support economic development. Gallery Coordinator Marlise Lee will oversee the daily work of the project with assistance from the museum’s Cultural Arts Committee, a volunteer group that advises the museum on arts programming. Their work begins this month.
According to Alutiiq Museum Executive Director April Laktonen Counceller, “Many talented Native artists have limited access to information on marketing or the basic materials needed to promote and sell their work—information that can help them earn a meaningful wage. This project will take an individualized approach to developing marketing materials for artists. Some people need professional photographs of their work. Others want business cards or a basic website. Still others would like help developing an application to participate in a workshop, attend a class, or apply for an award.”
To assist, the museum is inviting Native artists to apply to participate in the project. All interested artists will also be invited to participate in training webinars and a new artist gallery on the museum’s website. Ten artists will be selected to receive assistance developing personalized marketing materials. For more information on the project, or to participate, please contact Marlise Lee.
In addition to assisting individual Native artists, the museum will make improvements to its store with new signage, enhanced product labels, and rack cards introducing artists represented in the store’s inventory. There will also be a media campaign about the value of purchasing authentic Native artwork.
The museum plans to expand the project in future years to include more artists. Counceller said, “This first year will help us learn more about how the museum can help the arts community. Ultimately, we would like this sort of support to be part of our regular services. When artists are successful at selling their work, they can focus on perpetuating and sharing traditions, which is the museum’s mission as well.”
The Alutiiq Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and culture of the Alutiiq, an Alaska Native tribal people. Representatives of Kodiak Alutiiq organizations govern the museum with funding from charitable contributions, memberships, grants, contracts, and sales.