Shannon Haugland of Sitka will take home a Governor’s Arts and Humanities Award for arts advocacy Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | James Poulson for the Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards)

Shannon Haugland of Sitka will take home a Governor’s Arts and Humanities Award for arts advocacy Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | James Poulson for the Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards)

Southeast arts advocate and longtime teachers to be honored at Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards

Meet some of the Southeast’s winners.

The Hudsons have been teaching Northwest Coast art in Metlakatla for more than 40 years, and that contribution to Alaska Native art hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Thursday, teachers Jack Hudson and his son, John Hudson III, will be recognized at the Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards for their efforts perpetuating and promoting Alaska Native arts.

“We’ve been at it for a long time,” said John Hudson III, whose Tsimshian artist father started the Native Art program at Metlakatla High School in the ’70s. “The nice thing is he (Jack Hudson) is getting some recognition, and he’s around to see it.”

The Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards are a collaboration among the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation and the Office of the Governor to recognize noteworthy contributions to the arts and humanities in Alaska.

The awards ceremonies will be 7 p.m. Thursday at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center, 350 Whittier St. and can be purchased online at

This year’s award winners include the Chugach Regional Resources Commission, Laureli Ivanoff, Bede Trantina, Maida Buckley, the Hudsons, Shannon Haugland, Nita Rearden, Jon Van Zyle and Dot Bardarson.

There’s only one father-son tandem being honored.

“We’re a father and son being recognized, which is special,” said John Hudson, who was in Juneau to meet with Sealaska Heritage Institute and Juneau School District to discuss Northwest Coast art curriculum.

[Even a decade of experience isn’t much for this carving group]

John Hudson took the program’s reins from his father in 2010 after Jack Hudson retired.

At the time, John Hudson was a professional artist, real estate agent and landscaping company owner living in Portland, Oregon, but he was in town to make some renovations to his house when his father decided to retire.

That was nine years ago, and Hudson has now seen a full cycle of students pass through the Annette Island School District’s arts program.

“We can have a student go through our program for seven years,” Hudson said.

During that time, students learn about formline and can make masks, bowls and totem polesm and work with computer design programs and a plasma cutter to cut metal.

“I get to teach in a building that’s named after my father,” Hudson said. “That’s pretty special.”

From the background to the stage

Shannon Haugland is another longtime Southeast arts advocate who will be getting her due Thursday.

After a career spent behind the scenes, Shannon Haugland is going to have a moment on stage.

Haugland has been a reporter at the Daily Sitka Sentinel for almost 29 years, is president of the Sitka Film Society, producer for the Greater Sitka Arts Council’s Sitka Community Theater and host of the radio program “Anything Goes.”

Thursday, she will be the 2019 recipient of the Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards’ Arts Advocacy Award.

“I am excited,” Haugland said. “I was completely shocked when I got the call. It was a moment of stunned silence. For the most part, I kind of work behind the scenes. I organize events. I tend to shy away from being noticed. When I found out about this award I was really flattered, excited and surprised.”

[Young students love this classic musical]

Haugland said she cannot recall if she has previously covered the arts awards or interviewed an award-winner but was confident it has happened at some point in the last 28 years.

“That would have been a really nice connection,” Haugland said. “I’m sure I have.”

Haugland came to Sitka in May 1990 as a temporary fill in at the Sentinel. It turned into a permanent job, and Haugland stayed put, got involved in the arts community and joined the group that started the Sitka Community Theater.

“We kind of built this program from scratch,” Haugland said. “We were years without a program. At least 10-15 years without a theater group.”

[Latest play is a ‘Whale’ of a tale]

While Haugland has been a lifelong fan of the theater and especially appreciates the set design and technical theater, she found her role as a producer for the group.

“I do the fundraising,” she said. “I put the people together to make the show. I set up the table reads, and I make snacks and stuff for the cast sometimes. I kind of keep them going.”

Haugland has also been president of the Sitka Film Society, “for something like 25 years.”

“That brings independent films and documentaries to town,” Haugland said. “That is not really hard work but someone has to do it because I want to see the films.

“That’s kind of what drives everything,” she added. “When we were talking about rebuilding our theater program, we were all asked why we were there, and I gave some kind of an answer, but the woman next to me said, ‘I want to see something.’ And that’s a better answer. I want to see something because I love theater and I love film.”

• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or . Follow him on Twitter @BenHohenstatt.

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