This drawing included in Sealaska Heritage Institute’s presentation to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole depicts what the area surrounding a proposed arts campus would look like following the project’s completion. SHI President Rosita Worl asked the Assembly on Monday to consider providing $1.5 million to the project. (Courtesy Photo | Sealaska Heritage Institute)

This drawing included in Sealaska Heritage Institute’s presentation to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole depicts what the area surrounding a proposed arts campus would look like following the project’s completion. SHI President Rosita Worl asked the Assembly on Monday to consider providing $1.5 million to the project. (Courtesy Photo | Sealaska Heritage Institute)

Arts campus project asks for city funds

Will the city support it?

Sealaska Heritage Institute wants to build an arts campus downtown, and the private nonprofit wants financial support from the city to do it.

Rosita Worl, SHI president, presented information about the project to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole Monday. It’s currently planned to be built in the Sealaska parking lot, and Worl requested $1.5 million in support over the next two years.

“We at Sealaska Heritage Institute are grateful to the city and the borough for your continued partnership, your leadership and commitment to artistic growth and collaboration,” Worl said. “Together we can continue to build the foundation for Juneau to become the Northwest Coast arts capital of the world.”

[SHI receives federal grant for planned arts campus]

After the meeting, Worl said it did not matter how much of the $1.5 million was shared each year.

“However the city can work it out,” Worl said.

Mayor Beth Weldon said the matter would be moved to the finance committee.

The Sealaska Heritage Arts Campus is planned to be a 6,000-square-foot project with both indoor and outdoor space for artists, according to Worl’s presentation.

The project would include an underground parking lot, which would offset the loss of parking that currently exists above ground. The plans also call for nine new surface parking spaces.

Assembly member Greg Smith said it would make the Assembly’s job easier if the underground parking was accessible to the public.

Worl said it was something that would be looked at.

Assembly member Wade Bryson asked how the property would be secured in its off hours.

Worl said SHI currently has cameras places all around the Walter Soboleff Building and works closely with the Juneau Police Department. Additionally, she said more security measures are being considered.

“Including the placement of security guards around our facilities,” she said.

The project is expected to cost a total of $12.75 million, and Worl said it is about 80% funded. Last year, it was announced SHI received a $5.6 million federal grant for the project. Other grants and donations account for the other funding the project has received.

Worl said a ceremonial groundbreaking is planned to take place during Celebration 2020, the every-other-year celebration of Southeast Alaska Native culture and art that will take place in early June.

If the Assembly ultimately approves the funding, it wouldn’t be the first time CBJ helped fund an SHI project. In 2012, the city OK’d $3 million in funding for the $20 million construction of the Walter Soboleff Building.

Worl said after the meeting while SHI is not a public entity, the Walter Soboleff Building is the site of many open-to-the-public events, and there has been collaboration with other Juneau organizations to hold events in the building.

During the meeting, Worl touted SHI’s financial impact on Juneau and support of local education. A McDowell Group study previously found in 2018 SHI added $9.2 million to the capital city’s economy and $10.4 million to the state economy.

[SHI means millions to Juneau, study finds]

Worl said the project would also help SHI work to further establish two-year and four-year Northwest Coast arts certificates and degrees with University of Alaska Southeast and the Institute of American Indian Arts and help with other goals.

“We will offer a space where the public can learn about Alaska Native and Northwest Coast cultures and enhance cross-cultural understanding,” Worl said, “and also establish Juneau as the Northwest Coast arts capital and an economic engine for the region.”

More in News

This photo shows the National Archives in the Sand Point neighborhood of Seattle that has about a million boxes of generally unique, original source documents and public records. In an announcement made Thursday, April 8, 2021, the Biden administration has halted the sale of the federal archives building in Seattle, following months of opposition from people across the Pacific Northwest and a lawsuit by the Washington Attorney General's Office. Among the records at the center are tribal, military, land, court, tax and census documents. (Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)
Biden halts sale of National Archives center in Seattle

Tribes and members of Congress pushed for the halt.

This photo shows Unangax̂ Gravesite at Funter Bay, the site where Aleut villagers forcibly relocated to the area during World War II are buried. A bill recently passed by the Alaska House of Representatives would make the area part of a neighboring state park. (Courtesy photo / Niko Sanguinetti, Juneau-Douglas City Museum) 
DO NOT REUSE THIS PHOTO WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM JUNEAU DOUGLAS CITY MUSEUM. -BEN HOHENSTATT
Bill to preserve Unangax̂ Gravesite passes House

Bill now heads to the state Senate.

After over 30 years at 3100 Channel Drive, the Juneau Empire offices are on the move. (Ben Hohenstatt /Juneau Empire File)
The Juneau Empire is on the move

Advertising and editorial staff are moving to Jordan Creek Center.

The state announced this week that studded tires will be allowed for longer than usual. In Southeast Alaska, studded tires will be allowed until May 1 instead of April 15. (Dana Zigmund / Juneau Empire)
State extends studded tire deadline

Prolonged wintry weather triggers the change.

COVID at a glance for Monday, April 12

The most recent state and local numbers.

Has it always been a police car. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Sunday, April 11, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Court sides with Dunleavy in appointments dispute

The court, in a brief order, reversed a ruling by a superior court judge.

The Juneau Police Department are seeking Brenda Jay Gallant, 40, after she was indicted recently for her alleged role in a 2021 vehicle arson. (Courtesy photo / JPD)
Police seeking woman indicted for arson

The indictment for the August fire came this March.

Most Read