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Grant offers new opportunities

Indigenous Arts Center at Evergreen is expanding

Father/daughter carving team Alex and Tierra McCarty (Makah) work on welcome figures for the northwest entrance to Evergreen’s new fiber arts studio, scheduled to open in October 2017. Photo credit: Evergreen State College

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The Evergreen State College Foundation recently received a $1 million grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies for the expansion of the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center's Indigenous Arts Campus. The Arts Campus provides teaching and learning opportunities for the creation of indigenous art forms, including those that may be endangered or are currently under-used.

The new center will include a fiber arts studio and a new 2,000 square-foot carving studio. The existing 800 square-foot carving studio will become the indigenous 2-D design studio. The mission of the Longhouse, a.k.a., "House of Welcome," is to promote indigenous arts and cultures through education, cultural preservation, creative expression and economic development.

"The Indigenous Arts Campus provides art-making opportunities within a setting that affirms indigenous heritage and identity while providing educational opportunities that foster collaborations across generations, art media and diverse cultural practices within state-of-the-art facilities," said Longhouse director Tina Kuckkahn-Miller. "The fiber arts studio, scheduled to open in October 2017, has already provided numerous opportunities for cultural and artistic exchange as carvers and weavers work together to create permanent art for the new studio. An expanded carving studio will provide greater opportunity for both academic use and community-based workshops and residencies, while allowing carvers to increase the scale of their work - for example, to produce full-sized canoes."

Both studios will provide facilities to support tribal initiatives such as the annual Tribal Canoe Journey, in which artists create ocean-going canoes, paddles, regalia and gifts of art.

"The skills and traditions of indigenous art are handed down person-to-person and generation-to-generation," said Evergreen president George Bridges. "And much of that involves actually carving, painting, weaving or creating side-by-side with artist mentors. These studios and facilities represent a vision for creative spaces inspired by the art itself, hands-on learning, international collaboration, cultural preservation and artistic work that really has no parallel."

"The completion of these studios will bring the Indigenous Arts Campus much closer to its full aspiration, which also includes the addition of a cast glass studio, faculty/student studios, a water feature, meditation space, and other landscape elements in the future," said Kuckkahn-Miller.

The Longhouse Education and Cultural Center is known as a gathering place for people of all cultures. It opened at TESC in 1995. It is one of five public service centers at the college. The Longhouse promotes indigenous arts and culture at a local, national and international level. The Longhouse supports Native artists and hosts Native art sales and exhibits offers multicultural classes, presentations, and performances.

To learn more about the Longhouse and the Indigenous Arts Campus, visit

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