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Exhibits & Events at Sheldon Jackson Museum

Artist-in-Residence Neva Mathias (Cup'ik)

Neva describes a Yup'ik grass basketThe Sheldon Jackson Museum welcomes Cup’ik grass basket and dance fan weaver and doll maker Neva Mathias as the second artist-in-residence of 2024. She will be creating art at the museum July 23-August 9. While in residence, Neva will offer a grass dance fan making class and a special traditional Cup’ik dance performance, accompanied by her daughter and granddaughter.

Neva first began making baskets in 1979. By 1985, she was an expert at her art form. She learned to make baskets and dolls, including how to prepare the raw materials to make them, from her mother. She makes her dolls during the winter months, using seal and rabbit fur, seal skin, and kuspuk materials. She makes grass baskets during the summer while she is at fish camp, collecting grasses from the beaches of Hooper Bay. Neva is employed as a teacher in the Chevak Middle and High Schools. When she is not teaching at school, she teaches doll making workshops and focuses on her art.

The Alaska Native Artist Residency Program is underwritten by the Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum and is made possible with support from the Friends, the National Endowment for the Arts, Alaska Airlines, the Baranov Lodge, and private donors. To find out how to support the residency program or for future calendars of events and details, visit friendsofsjm.com.

Dance Fan Making Class

grass dance fans with fur trimJuly 26 and August 1 & 2, 11 am-12 pm and 2-3:30 pm each day
Sheldon Jackson Museum

Learn how to make small grass dance fans with Neva Mathias (Cup'ik). 

Students are asked to attend all six class sessions at the museum. Mathias will provide material packets on the first day. The class is free, but a $25 materials fee applies. Please make a check out to Neva Mathias when you sign up. Class is for 18+ and limited to 8 students.

Mathias is the second artist in the 2024 Alaska Native Artist Residency Program. She is a doll maker and grass basket and dance fan weaver and will be at the museum July 23 - August 9. She will be working at the museum most days Monday-Friday. During her residency, she will focus on weaving, teach a grass dance fan class and a beading class, and offer a dance performance with her daughter and granddaughter.

Neva Mathias first began making baskets in 1979. By 1985, she was an expert at her art form. She learned to make baskets and dolls, including how to prepare the raw materials to make them, from her mother. She makes her dolls during the winter months, using seal and rabbit fur, seal skin, and kuspuk materials. She makes grass baskets during the summer while she is at fish camp, collecting grasses from the beaches of Hooper Bay. Neva is employed as a teacher in the Chevak Middle and High Schools. When she is not teaching at school, she teaches doll making workshops and focuses on her art.

Upcoming Classes

The Sheldon Jackson Museum is pleased to announce that it will host the following artists this summer and fall through the Alaska Native Artist Residency Program:

  • Lisa Kamahamak Lynch, Inupiaq painter and beader (June 11-July 2)
  • Neva Mathias, Cup’ik grass weaver and dance fan maker (July 23-August 11)
  • James G̱ooch Éesh Hart, Lingit carver (August 20-September 8)
  • Tina Cupell'aq Harness, Mixed Yup’ik beader (September 12-October 2)
  • Denali Taniilux̂ McGlashan, Unangax painter (October 3-24)   

Resident artists will create art at the museum, study the permanent collection, give talks, and offer hands-on-classes. Classes are offered at the museum free of charge, although some have materials fees to help cover costs. Some classes are open to youth and adults while others are for 18+. All classes require advance registration. Space is limited. To register, call the museum at (907) 747-8981.

Lisa Kamahamak Lynch (Inupiaq) will teach a beginner’s beading class compromised of two Thursday sessions on June 13 & 20, 2-3:30 pm both days. Lynch will teach students ages 10+ how to make either a beaded keychain or a pair of beaded earrings. The class is free, but there is a $10 materials fee. A check made out to Lisa Lynch is due at the time of sign up. Lisa will provide material packets the first day of class. 

Neva Mathias (Cup’ik) will teach adults how to make small grass dance fans. The class will take place over six sessions: Friday, July 26, Thursday, August 1 and August 2, 11 am-12 pm and 2-3:30 pm each day. Be prepared to attend all six sessions if you sign up. A check made out to Neva Mathias for $25 is due when you sign up to help cover the cost of materials. Neva will provide a material packet the first day of class.

James (G̱ooch Éesh) Hart (Lingit) will teach students teach the basic principles of Northwest Coast formline drawing. This class is compromised of two sessions on Tuesday, August 20 and Wednesday, August 21, 2-3:30 pm both days. The class is open to ages 14+. Youth need to be accompanied by an adult.  

Tina Cupell'aq Harness (Mixed Yup’ik) will teach a beaded earring class on Thursday, September 19, 9 am-12 pm and 1:30-3:30 pm. The class is for ages 12+. Youth should be accompanied by adults. A check made out to Tina Harness for $50 is due when you sign up.

Denali McGlashan (Unangax) will offer a watercolor painting class on Friday, October 11,1:30-3:30 pm. Students are asked to bring their own rock, shell, leaf, flower, or other natural item to paint. The class is for ages 12+ and youth need to be accompanied by an adult. There is no materials fee, but please purchase a watercolor set (for $12.90) in advance from https://www.risdstore.com/koh-i-noor-watercolor-wheel-stack-pack.html?id=55179320.

For more information or questions about any of the above classes, visit the museum or call (907) 747-8981.  

The Alaska Native Artist Residency Program is underwritten by the Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum and is made possible with support from the Friends, the National Endowment for the Arts, Alaska Airlines, the Baranov Lodge, and private donors. To find out how to support the residency program or for future calendars of events, visit friendsofsjm.com.

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