Sitka is a small community situated upon one of the most stunning natural vistas in the world: Baranof Island, set among mountains and glaciers, facing out onto the North Pacific.
The native Tlingit people have inhabited Sitka for 10,000 years. Though much has changed in the course of Russian and American colonization in the last 200 years, the island is still their home.
Sitka is in the heart of the largest temperate rainforest in the world. With a rainforest comes glorious, vitalizing rain, mist, and all varieties of precipitation in between. Summer temperatures are moderate. July averages 61°F.
Sitka is accessible by only air and sea. Its road system stretches 14 miles, end to end. This geography of isolation fosters a deep and warmly interconnected community. You will see the same smiling faces from these events at the town’s library, bars, and coffee shops. You will be invited to potlucks at houses, to Trivia Night at the pub, to midnight footraces, to arts events, and more. We encourage fellows to get to know the people who call Sitka home.
Well suited for outdoor recreation, quiet reflection, and natural inspiration, Sitka offers residents myriad opportunities to explore the great outdoors. Fellows can kayak by night and work by day, or hike into the alpine by day and work by night.
The program is situated on the Sitka Fine Arts Campus. This beautiful property has been home to a variety of educational institutions, including a high school and college. In 2007, Sheldon Jackson College closed its doors. Since 2011, thousands of volunteer hours have gone towards revitalizing the campus, now under the stewardship of the Sitka Fine Arts Camp.
The campus offers a perfect intimate group setting for sharing the fellowship experience. Residents live, work, and eat in proximity to each other through their time in Sitka. Living together in historic Whitmore Hall, residents become each other’s peers and friends, and importantly, each other’s critics and collaborators.
Following an introductory three day retreat at a remote forest service cabin, fellows will settle into their new living and studio spaces in Whitmore Hall on the Fine Arts Campus. Most of the time during the program is unstructured, and each fellow will find their own balance between personal work on their own creative projects, socializing, collaboration with others in the group, and outdoor adventuring.
At the same time, the program cultivates a constructive, cooperative, “in this together” spirit. Many meals are shared, with responsibility for prep and clean-up shared among fellows. Mealtimes are important opportunities to get to know one another while sharing in the challenges and triumphs of an intensive summer of creative work. Once a week, the fellowswill get together for a studio share, where they will share their work of the week and their plans for the next.
Each fellow will be featured in the Sitka Sentinel (our daily newspaper) and on Raven Radio. Each will offer a workshop for the community during their stay, and will also present their work at the end of the summer in the fellows’ culminating Open Studios event.
The residency award includes living accommodations at the Sitka Fine Arts Campus for the duration of the program, in addition to a groceries stipend and the use of the kitchen for meals on campus, and access to communal and studio spaces. In addition, the Sitka Fellows Program organizes and pays for an opening orientation trip to a U.S. Forest Service cabin in the wilderness of the Tongass National Forest. Fellows are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from Sitka, along with a $200 security deposit to be returned at the end of the program. Fellows are responsible for bringing their own materials to Sitka, and are also responsible for incidental expenses away from the Sitka Fine Arts Campus.