Already a well known name in Southeast Alaska and in Alaska Native artwork, Tlingit Master Carver Wayne Price is preparing to pass on his knowledge to university students in Juneau.
The University of Alaska Southeast announced this month that Price is joining the school as an associate professor of Northwest Coast Arts. Price, a member of the Wooshkeetaan clan, has carved more than 30 traditional and non-traditional totems. He’s also worked extensively on canoes, paddles, masks, drums, regalia and more.
Price, who lives in Haines, has been carving since 1971 and his art has been featured around the world. He has remained active in recent years. In April 2017, two totem poles of Price’s were raised in front of the Soboleff McRae Wellness Center in Haines. He produced the two 12-foot totems in honor of Tlingit veterans Walter Soboleff (Raven/Dog Salmon) and Howard McRae (Eagle/Wolf).
UAS’ expansion of its Northwest Coast Arts program follows along with Sealaska Heritage Institute President Rosita Worl’s vision of making Juneau into a center for Northwest Coast art and indigenous artistic development. In a UAS press release, Worl expressed her elation at Price’s hiring.
“Wayne Price is a great artist who represents the best of Northwest Coast art traditions and I am certain that students will benefit from his teachings,” Worl said in the release.
UAS currently offers a Northwest Coast Arts occupational endorsement and, this fall UAS will offer several arts courses, including Intermediate Design and Beginning Carving. The university is also offering a survey course in Northwest Coast Native Art History and Culture which explores the visual art of Northwest Coast Native peoples. It will feature traditional methods, materials and images discussed within a cultural and historical context.
In addition to Alaska Native arts and language classes offered for academic credit, those same classes can be taken by locals at a reduced rate in a non-credit format. This is intended for community members not otherwise enrolled in a degree or certificate program at the university.