Unalakleet Dance Initiative

Teaching artists Leslie Kimiko Ward and Emily Loscocco spent three weeks in Unalakleet in April 2015 providing ballet and hip-hop instruction to K-12 students. The dancers also held an after-school dance program for children, and community dance classes in the evening. Students put on an exhilarating performance for the community on May 1st.

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Brevig Mission Art Camp 2015

ART CAMP 2015!

To keep students engaged during the last antsy weeks of school, Brevig Mission principal, Ginger Crockett, had a vision: two full weeks of art camp for all students K-12!

Each classroom teacher ordered materials and planned classes in a variety of mediums– amongst the projects: monoprint collages, bookmaking, coil-pots, marbelized paper, cyanotypes (sun printing), parachute cord bracelets, tessellations, yearbook, pop-can sculptures, rock-painting, zentangles, wool felting, duck tape art, ulu-making, ivory carving, jewelry-making, sewing, building wind chimes with recycled objects and ukulele!

Check out more pictures! 


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Artist-in-School Residencies 2015

Seven of BSSD’s schools were the lucky recipients of two-week AIS residencies, which could not have happened without the support of the AK State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rasmuson Foundation, and Bering Strait School District.

To learn more about the Artist-in-Schools program, visit:



Melisse Riechman from Homer, AK visited Brevig Mission from April 20th-20th, 2015. During this two-week span, she worked with all grade levels and created paper art. The first project was a sculpture that could be worn as a hat. Each student was to roll newspaper into a tube and smash it flat to create a headband. Each subsequent roll was added to the headband and became a piece of art. Students were encouraged to try new ideas and explore the possibilities presented to them. They were given the option to paint the head piece.

The second piece was much smaller and required fine motor skills to wrap tight rolls of paper and create a three-dimensional design. The products were spectacular! Students greatly enjoyed Melisse’s presence and she made them feel right at home.

Teacher’s also got to partake in the art-making- The evening session focused on how to expand the art being taught and continue it in the classroom.

Overall, Melisse was amazing and we would highly recommend her to any other site. We loved having her here. She had a great energy and attitude.

-Elizabeth Anderson, Brevig Mission Art Liaison 2015



The Artist Residency with James D. Kaiser was an opportunity for the children of James C. Isabell School in Teller, Alaska to learn about stained glass, as well as create their own stained glass pieces. The students all gave wonderful reviews and loved their artwork at the end of the process. For instance, one student said, “It was fun making it!” Another student said, “Thank you for teaching me how to make windows. I will treasure it forever.” In agreement with the students, teachers at the school called the artist residency “…a great experience for the students!” Even the principal stated, “Thank you Mr. Kaiser. You brought beauty to our world.” Throughout the art show, community members repeatedly made comments regarding the incredible art of the kids, as well as the gorgeous window Mr. Kaiser made for the school. One parent said, “Thanks for coming back to Teller twenty-four years later!” There was excitement in the air as parents and children discussed their stained glass experiences, with the same teacher, twenty-four years apart. This Artist Residency with James D. Kaiser in Teller was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that will be remembered for years to come.

-Heather Stump, Art Liaison 2015

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Students in White Mountain worked with artist Ellen Frankenstein from Sitka,  collaborating to plan videos about important places in the village and what will be different 30 years from now. The videos are part of a time capsule project in which all members of the community were invited to share small personal objects and digital artifacts (via hard drive) to be buried for a 30-year window underground.

Check out the awesome films here:

White Mountain Time Capsule Compilation

First and Second Grade film


Ellen Frankenstein works with White Mountain students


Inupiaq spoken word artist and musician, Allison Warden, spent 2 weeks in Shishmaref this spring. She performed at two Monday morning assemblies to which the students were invited and the high school students wrote Shishmaref Raps that were recorded and played for the public on KNOM radio. Younger children were able to play theatre games, hear and tell stories, and perform with and for their peers. Allison also gave a presentation about her path to secondary students and shared what they would need to follow a similar course.

-Brianna Wheeler, Art Liaison 2015


The students and community of Saint Michael just finished a two week journey into the world of mural making. Artist Jen Jolliff, an artist from Anchorage, AK, travelled to Saint Michael to teach painting and mural making skills. Over the two weeks, students learned about mixing color, map scales, map symbols, basic design, and painting skills. Jen incorporated social studies standards, as well as art standards in her lesson. Exposing our students to art is essential to developing well -rounded citizens. The students benefitted greatly from this artistic experience. Keeping programs like the Artist in Schools is fundamental to growing a society that values cultural diversity and respect for visual and performing arts.

-Kristen Seiff, Art Liaison

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Jack Dalton, Yup’ik storyteller and dancer extraordinaire, spent a week in Wales in February. Thanks to the weather, he even got to sew his own qaspeq with Art Liaison and qaspeq-maker extraordinaire, Bethany Fernstrom! IMG_9273


This year we were excited to have performing artist, Stephen Blanchett.

Stephen’s main message was that every dance has a story, and he delighted the students with his storytelling and humor. Each story was followed by a dance. During the two week residency, the school was filled with laughter.

A community event was held on Wednesday evening of the first week with attendance of about 100 community members. The evening started out with a group of students performing traditional Siberian Yupik welcome dances for Stephen.   After that we were all thoroughly entertained by Stephen’s stories, dances, singing and humor. The evening culminated with cookies, punch and tea.

A staff in-service was held on the first Friday, beginning with atuq for the whole community, and followed by Stephen telling stories, teaching a dance, and sharing his teaching techniques.

The culminating celebration was held on the final Friday from 1:00-2:00. Every class performed the dances they learned with pride and enjoyment.

The community embraced Stephen, inviting him into their homes and fixing him traditional food. He even got to take part in a whale harvest, the first whale that has been caught here in two years.

I found Stephen to be a warm, accepting and highly inspirational person. He is doing very important work in helping Alaskan native kids to reclaim their culture.

-Sally Grimsrud, Art Liaison


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Gambell students work with Artist-in-Schools resident, Stephen Blanchett of Pamyua!


Stephen (in white and brown hat) helps pull in a whale!

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Artist-in-Schools Residencies Around the Sound!

Sitka-based artist, Ellen Frankenstein, will be in White Mountain from April 27th-May 8th!

WMO Junior High students collaborate to plan videos about important places in the village and what will be different 30 years from now. This assignment is part of an overarching time capsule project in which all members of the community will be invited to share small personal objects and digital artifacts (via hard drive) to be buried for a 30-year window underground.

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Serving up some Mangtak!

Click here to see more student artwork from Gambell! 

Mangtak (Whale skin and blubber)

Mangtak sculpture (Whale skin and blubber)

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Music is all around us! Atuq- Eskimo Dancing Figures and Jazz Paintings inspired by Coltrane

Watercolor Prints

by Middle, High SchoolArtists

Our inspiration for these pieces came from listening to John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”. The raindrops represent the drums, squares the bass, and snowflakes the piano. We created overlapping colors and shapes after we listened to how the overlapping of rhythms and instruments in the music created new sounds.

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