ANA Grant Helps Establish Raw Materials Cache
Do you need supplies for your latest artistic endeavor? Do you produce beautiful indigenous art, but haven’t found a way to effectively market your items? If you create high quality traditional art for retail sales, the Ilanka Native Artists Consortium may be just the ticket for you. The Consortium helps artists gain access to raw materials, provides educational opportunities, and coordinates cooperative marketing efforts. Our bartering program can even help artists acquire enough raw materials to start up their own cottage industry.
“We know that materials for Native crafts are expensive, and often hard to come by,” says director’s assistant Anna Pirtle. “As times change, traditions and art forms vanish. Ilanka wants to help preserve Native heritage by encouraging artists to pursue skills that have been handed down by elders.”
The Consortium houses a cache of raw materials, such as pelts, spruce roots, carving wood, glass fishing floats, and other hard-tofind items. These materials are available to Consortium members for purchase at a reasonable cost. The bartering program gives new and low-income artists a foot in the door by providing enough supplies to complete a project. The artist enters into an agreement to provide finished art or monetary compensation at a later date. Some items, such as sea otter pelts, are governed by federal law and are available only to Native artisans.
The Consortium, funded by a recent grant from Administration for Native Americans, also provides comprehensive marketing for artists. The ANA grant allowed Ilanka to create various printed materials and advertising media, launching a local, state, and national marketing campaign. Ilanka also produced a new web site, making Alaska Native art available year-round to the world.
Ilanka sponsors educational programs for artists. Earlier this year, the cultural center hosted a workshop that taught artists how to photograph their items for sales on the World Wide Web. Another class is planned this year to teach individuals how to effectively communicate our unique culture to tourists.
“To be successful, artists need to know more than just how to create their art,” says museum director LaRue Barnes. “They also need to know how to communicate the unique cultural qualities of their work that make it so special.”
To join the Ilanka Native Artists Consortium, fill out the application on the back of this newsletter. For more information, call the Ilanka Cultural Center at 907-424- 7903.