The second annual Sitka Fest—Southeast Alaska’s premiere arts, culture and science festival—returns with over seventy events based on and around the newly revitalized Sheldon Jackson campus. Sitka Fest features events produced by SJ campus partners, including the Sitka Summer Music Festival, Island Institute, Basic Arts Institute, Sitka Fine Arts Camp, Sitka Sound Science Center, Native Jazz Workshop, Sitka Seafood Festival, Sitka Fellows Program, TEDxSitka, Paths Across the Pacific and the Sheldon Jackson Museum. The mission of the festival is to celebrate Sitka’s rich historic heritage while promoting its diverse cultural offerings, ranging from Alaska Native Arts demonstrations to chamber music and dance concerts to theater productions, arts and science camps, special exhibitions, lectures, food tastings and educational programs for all ages.
Sitka Fest events take place at various venues around campus and throughout the community. The primary performance venue on the SJ campus includes the newly restored Odess Theater in Allen Hall. Named after Carol Odess, whose generous gift facilitated the final phase of renovations, the Odess Theater hosts the Sitka Fine Arts Camp “Art Shares,” hour-long variety show style performances featuring SFAC faculty, as well as a residency and performance by the Strange Attractor Theater Company, the Native Jazz Quartet, and the second annual TEDxSitka conference, among others. The main venue in downtown Sitka is Harrigan Centennial Hall, where most of the Sitka Summer Music Festival concerts take place. Situated on the waterfront with stunning views of Sitka Sound from inside the hall, Harrigan is well known as one of the most sublime concert spaces in the world. The third primary venue is the state-of-the-art Sitka Performing Arts Center, which is located on the Sitka High School campus about a mile East of downtown Sitka. The performing arts center hosts the final Fine Arts Camp student performances, the Dee Daniels jazz concert and this year’s featured Musical Theater Camp production–Seussical.
Sitka Fest was established in democratic spirit of the Chautauqua festivals that flourished throughout America in 19th century. Like the Chautauqua’s of the past, Sitka Fest is an informal confederation of organizations that share the goal of cultivating an awareness of Sitka’s rich cultural heritage while making available educational opportunities in the arts, humanities and sciences for all ages. What is immediately evident from the Sitka Fest calendar below is that the wealth of this year’s offerings reflects Sitka’s historic role as a major cultural center of the north Pacific.
Sitka Fest represents a partnership between the SJ campus partners and is made possible by the thousands of volunteer hours and donations made by individuals and business, which continue to pour into the revitalization of the historic Sheldon Jackson campus and by support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Alaska State Council on the Arts.
- Tickets for Sitka Fest events are available through partner organizations and Old Harbor Books.
- Further information is available at http://fineartscamp.org/sitka-fest/