Sitka Arts & Science Festival


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about THe festival

JULY 28 - AUGUST 2, 2019

The arts and sciences come together where human expression and understanding meet. Immerse yourself in an intensive workshop in the mornings and experience our wilderness and town through guided excursions in the afternoons. Be inspired and provoked by nightly concerts and  lectures.

Perched at the edge of a wilderness, nestled in one of the most exquisite and vibrant small communities in the world, the Sitka Arts & Science Festival explores what it means to be human against the immensity of forest, ocean, and mountains in Sitka, Alaska.

We describe our experience of the world in myriad ways— through story, song, dance, music, painting, 

sculpture in the arts; through mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, natural history in the sciences.

These artistic and scientific forms of expression use creativity, observation, and experimentation to help us tell one another about what we see and know and feel. 

This is what lies at the heart of the Sitka Arts and Science Festival. lt offers opportunities for reflection and engagement that reawaken our sense of ourselves in relationship to the world around us and refresh our thinking about how to live our lives.

Join us. Reclaim your capacity for wonder and imagination.


2019 Workshops

Choose 1 workshop for the week. Workshops run Monday, July 29 - Friday, August 2, 2019

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Fish Skin Baskets with Audrey Armstrong

Sewing fish skin to make garments, shoes, bags, and vessels is a traditional Alaskan art form that, until recently, was nearly forgotten. Fish skin is very strong and can be used to make beautiful, waterproof bags and baskets. Learn the process for preparing and sewing fish skin and make a beautiful vase or basket. The workshop will begin with creating a pattern for your basket. Once the fish skin is sewn and dried, embellish your basket with leather, beads, and shells. The workshop will include a field trip to the Sheldon Jackson Museum which has over 50 fish skin pieces in the collection. Basic familiarity with sewing is encouraged.


Photography at the Intersection of Science and Art with José Francisco Salgado

Whether produced as part of a scientific imaging process, as the artistic expression of a creative process, or as  both,  photography lets us perceive physical processes that lie beyond the light sensitivity of our eyes and the timescale at which our brain operates. Astronomer and visual artist Dr. José Francisco Salgado has been developing photographic techniques to capture natural scenes, physical phenomena, and the process of science-making itself. The workshop will focus on the techniques he has perfected including time-lapse, infrared, high-speed flash, and more.


Explore the World by Listening with Richard Nelson 

Explore the joys of listening, the rewards of learning from other cultures, the gift of focused curiosity, and the value of deeply experiencing earth’s infinitely varied places. Each morning we’ll seek another way of learning about the world--through the insights of Alaska Native traditions, through the hunter’s eye, through focused attention to natural and human music, through heightened appreciation for the gifts of wildness. We will consider the sound of water, the magic of ice, the subtlety of deer, the voices of birds, the marvel of language, the power of bears, the mystery of salmon, the wisdom of elders, and the possibility that the world is listening back. Bringing a camera, recorder (as on a phone), journal, and above all your inborn senses. The goal is to learn and think anew about the world, while we hang out together, laugh, get wet, grow tired, lavish ourselves in the beauty of this place...and above all, listen. Moderate Activity level: Includes walking on trails with uneven surfaces.


Art of Ecology with Kathy Hocker & Kitty LaBounty

Science and art intertwine in this workshop presented by botanist Kitty LaBounty and science illustrator Kathy Hocker. The forests and wetlands of Sitka are our field sites, where Kitty will guide us in discovering the diverse and fascinating ecological interactions that shape this place. As we explore, we’ll use field sketching and book arts to seek a deeper understanding of the living landscape and share what we find. This workshop is appropriate for naturalists and artists of any skill level.

Workshop tuition: $650 + tax, Includes: 5 day workshop, interdisciplinary seminars, concert & lecture series, 3 lunches, & the closing banquet.


2019 Excursions


Every afternoon features options to get out and explore Sitka. Excursion sign ups will be at Sweetland Hall and the evening Concert & Lecture Series.


Sitka Sound is home to the greatest variety of wildlife in Southeast Alaska from sea otters to whales, sea lions, porpoises, harbor seals, brown bears, blacktail deer, puffins, bald eagles and more! Scattered with over 200 islands, Sitka Sound is full of history and culture as well as wildlife. View the geology of the islands, scout for humpback whales, and laugh at the antics of a sea otter. Dress warmly and bring a rainproof jacket to wear on the observation deck. Binoculars, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are provided on this 2 hour tour of the waters and islands of Sitka Sound. Captained by Allen Marine Tours of Alaska, a multi-year winner of Shore Excursion of the Year, the waterjet-driven tour vessel is designed to navigate Southeast Alaska’s narrow island passages, allowing for wildlife viewing at close range. The vessel features a warm cabin with comfortable seating, large windows, galley and restrooms.  There is an expansive topside observation deck for unparalleled photo opportunities and to fully experience your quest with all your senses. The tour is on Wednesday, July 31st, boarding at Crescent Harbor at 1pm, returning at 4pm.

Sitka Sound Wildlife Tour $100 + tax, requires sign up at registration, available until full.


Hikes, visits to the Alaska Raptor Center, Fortress of the Bear, Sheldon Jackson Museum, Sitka National Historic Park, The Russian Bishop’s House, Seafood shopping at North Pacific Seafoods, Hatchery Tour at Sitka Sound Science Center, and more.

Excursion fees will be charged directly to participant accounts to cover admission and transportation after sign up.



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The Uncommon Music Festival is dedicated to breaking the boundaries of standard concert repertoire with performances of early music, contemporary music, and under-performed repertoire from any age, bringing together young artists and curious audiences in an intimate setting. Each night, musicians will present solo and chamber pieces featuring vocalists, guitar and piano. Open rehearsals are a great time to listen and learn more about the music-making process as well as ask questions. In keeping with their dedication to new music, musicians will perform the work by the winner of their composition competition.  More information can be found at


“I’m deeply grateful for the Sitka Fine Arts Camp’s wonderfully meaty Arts and Science Festival. I participated both of the first two years, drawn by the conjunction of arts and science. Year one, I never imagined being able to create a salmon skin basket in the five short days, with Athabaskan elder Audrey Armstrong’s careful guidance in her fish skin sewing workshop. Year two I was in more familiar territory with a writing workshop, but under the direction of thúy lë, a particularly insightful teacher, I found myself creating work that had been out of reach and now was not. And while the workshops were the heart of the Festival for me, the evening faculty talks offered more fresh perspectives that broadened and deepened the whole experience. Not to mention the stunningly beautiful setting that Sitka, Alaska offers and the opportunities to surround myself with that wild country. I came away feeling vibrantly alive and awake and curious, refreshed and grateful. I would attend again in a heartbeat.”

-Carolyn Servid



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Frequently Asked Questions

Who should attend the workshops?

The festival and workshops are designed for people who want an authentic experience of southeast Alaska and are interested in the creative arts and natural world. You do not need a background in science or art to attend, just an open mind and a willingness to try new things or hone your skills in a particular area. Some of the workshops in the festival require walking and light hiking. If you have limited mobility, please contact us to discuss which workshop will be a good fit for you.

What should I bring?

  • Layered clothing for cool days and chilly nights

  • Warm clothes for sleeping (our dormitories are unheated)

  • Good rain gear (waterproof jacket and rain or hiking boots)

  • Hats (for sun and cold)

  • Sturdy shoes or hiking boots

  • Refillable water bottle or thermos

  • Sunscreen

  • Personal items: alarm clock, soap, shampoo and other toiletries, etc.

  • Small backpack or bag

  • Journal, personal art supplies, camera, and/or binoculars depending on how you would like to get the most out of festival experience and your free time

What will the weather be like?

Sitka can have rain for days on end or the sun can shine for an entire month straight, so be prepared for both extremes. Summer temperatures range from 40-80 degrees, with the average in the 50s.

Will I need to bring my own supplies?

Most supplies will be provided. Please see the supply list for your specific course. 

Is Sitka the wilderness? Will I be safe?

Sitka is a town of 9,000 situated on the outer coast of Baranof Island. While we are close to wilderness, Sitka is very safe. The campus sits next to Crescent Harbor,  and is a 5-10 minute walk from the center of town and the nearest grocery store.

Can I get a refund?

Registration cancelled by June 1, will be refunded the full amount, less the deposit. Refunds will be not be granted after June 1

What is included in the price?

Festival pricing is a menu of options based on the experiences that work best for you. Workshop tuition includes all scheduled workshop time, interdisciplinary seminars, free entrance to the evening concert & lecture series and receptions, and 3 lunches, and the closing banquet. The Sitka Sound Boat Tour is available for purchase at registration, as space is available. Other excursions are available by sign ups during the festival and will be charged to your account after you sign up. Housing and meal packages offer economical options for a stay on our campus. Meals can also be purchased independently at the door of the dining hall or as a week package, depending on which meals you'd like to attend. Oklahoma is a ticketed event. The 7pm concert & lecture series is open to the public with a $5 suggested donation.

Can I come for just part of the week?

No. Workshop curriculum is based on full participation so classes are designed to be attended all 5 days. 

What about dietary restrictions?

Meals at the festival are served buffet style in the dining hall. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options are available and there is a salad bar. Cooks are happy to accommodate most dietary restrictions. If you have extensive dietary needs, please reach out to us in advance.  

Can someone stay with me who is not participating in the festival?

Yes. Guests may be added to your room package and eat in the dining hall for an additional fee. Contact our office to make arrangements for your guest.

More questions? Call the Sitka Fine Arts Camp office: 907-747-3085 or email [email protected]


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Our Campus

The Sitka Arts and Science Festival is located on the historic Sheldon Jackson Campus in the picturesque coastal community of Sitka, Alaska. Spectacular views of the surrounding ocean and mountains, as well as easy access to the nearby trails, provide an ideal setting for a relaxing and engaging experience. Dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, art studios, and the Hames Center, a gym and wellness center, are all located on site. Throughout the year, dozens of events and programs are hosted on campus. In addition to the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, the campus is home to the Hames Center, Sitka Sound Science Center, Sheldon Jackson Museum, and Sitka Summer Music Festival. Sitka National Historical Park is our next door neighbor.


Sitka Fine Arts Camp provides convenient and modest lodging options for an economical stay in Sitka. Lodging is available on a first-come, first-served beginning the night of Friday, July 26, 2019 and ending the morning of Monday, August 5th, 2019. Smoking and pets are not permitted in any Sitka Fine Arts Camp housing. The campus is a smoking & drug-free campus.

Complimentary airport shuttles are provided for all guests staying on campus who arrive and depart on official program arrival and departure days.

If you prefer off-site accommodations, see for lodging options or call (907) 747-8604.

Sweetland Hall Dormitory

Sweetland Hall is our largest co-ed dormitory that was originally home to students at Sheldon Jackson College. The rooms and bathrooms have been recently renovated. Bedrooms are equipped with 2 twin beds or 1 king size bed. There are 2 shared, single-sex bathrooms on each floor along with coin-operated washers and dryers. Food is not allowed in the dormitory. Bedding and towels are provided for guests. Guest should plan on bringing their own toiletries and hairdryers. Phones are not available in the dormitory or rooms. Most cell phone providers have service in Sitka.

Housing Options (dining hall meals included)

  • Two-person shared room:  $672/person for a 2-­person shared room, 2 twin beds or 1 king bed, shared bathroom on hall + 2 meal plans

  • One-person private room:  $974.40/person for a 1-­person private room, 2 twin beds, shared bathroom on hall + 1 meal plan

Check is in Sunday, July 28 & check out Saturday August 3. Early arrival and late departure are available. See “Extending Your Stay” below.

Please Note: Prices include 6% sales tax and 6% bed tax.

If you are sharing a room, please indicate whether you would prefer 2 twin beds or 1 king size bed and who you request to share a room with.


Freshly prepared meals are served in our campus dining hall. Both vegetarian and meat-­based options are available at each meal. We do our best to offer a variety of vegan, gluten free, and vegetarian options at meals, though we are unable to guarantee that all options will be present at all meals. We encourage those with specific dietary needs to call our office for more information (907-747-3085) or book off­-campus accommodations that have facilities where you can prepare your own meals. Meals are included with the housing reservation. Meals can also be purchased at the dining hall if you are not registered to stay on campus.

Individual Meal prices

  • Breakfast – $13

  • Lunch – $13

  • Dinner – $17

Please note that the dining hall menu items may contain allergens such as milk (dairy), eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat (gluten) and soybeans, and there may be a risk of contamination or cross-contact. Meals are non-refundable.


Standard Arrival is on Sunday, July 28 by 3pm; Standard departure is anytime on Saturday, August 3. Lodging is available for early arrivals beginning Friday July 26 through extended departures on Monday, August 5.

Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, and the Alaska Marine Highway are the primary modes of travel to and from Sitka. We recommend making airline or ferry reservations early as flights do fill up. Alaska Airlines offers a 5% discount using the discount code ECMC108 when booking.

Sitka Fine Arts Camp offers complimentary shuttle service to and from the Sitka airport or ferry terminal on all program arrival and departure dates for participants who are booked for campus lodging. Shuttle service for additional guests on program arrival and departure days is $15. 



  • Two-person room:  $319.20/person for the weekend for a 2-­person shared room, 2 twin beds or 1 king bed, shared bathroom on hall + 2 meal plans

  • One-person room:  $470.40/person for the weekend for a 1-­person private room, 1 king bed, shared bathroom on hall + 1 meal plan

Extend your stay through Sunday August 4th to explore Sitka and experience more world-class music. The weekend features multiple performances by musicians of the Uncommon Music Festival.

The extension package includes lodging on Saturday and Sunday nights, meal service in the dining hall, and shuttle service to the Sitka airport or ferry terminal on Monday, August 5th. All Uncommon Music Festival Events are provided to the public free of charge.

Prices include 6% sales tax and 6% bed tax.

Special Requests

Our goal is to meet your needs. Let us know if you have physical limitations for walking, stairs, vision, etc. or if we can help make your stay more comfortable.

Pets and service animals

Pets are not allowed at Sitka Fine Arts Camp. If you must bring your pet, please ask us about alternative lodging options. Sitka Fine Arts Camp complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Any student who plans to bring a service animal must notify the Sitka Fine Arts Camp Office (907-747-3085) at the time of registration, at which time we may ask if the service animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the service animal has been trained to do. A service animal must be under the handler’s control at all times, and the handler is expected to clean up after the service animal. If dorm housing is requested, a fee will be charged should there be any damage to the room. For more information, click here.









2019 Schedule 

(Subject to change)

Friday July 26

  • Early Participant Arrivals

  • 7pm Oklahoma the Musical at Sitka Performing Arts Center

Saturday July 27

  • Early Participant Arrivals

  • 2pm & 7pm Oklahoma the Musical at Sitka Performing Arts Center

Sunday july 28

  • Participant Arrival

  • Campus tours

  • 4:30pm Reception

  • 7pm Festival Welcome at the Odess Theater

monday july 29

  • 8:30-Noon Workshops

  • 1-4pm Excursions

  • 4:30pm Uncommon Music Festival Open Rehearsal

  • 7pm Concert & Lectures with at the Odess Theater

Tuesday July 30

  • 8:30-Noon Workshops

  • 12-1pm Lunch provided for all festival registrants

  • 1-2pm Interdisciplinary Seminar

  • 2-4pm Excursions

  • 7pm Concert & Lectures at the Odess Theater

Wednesday July 31

  • 8:30-Noon Workshops

  • 1:30-4pm Sitka Sound Wildlife Boat Tour (boarding begins at Crescent Harbor at 1pm)

  • 7pm Concert & Lectures at the Odess Theater

Thursday August 1

  • 8:30-Noon Workshops

  • 12-1pm Lunch provided for all festival registrants

  • 1-2pm Interdisciplinary Seminar

  • 2-4pm Excursions

  • 4:30pm Uncommon Music Festival Open Rehearsal

  • 7pm Concert & Lectures at the Odess Theater

Friday August 2

  • 8:30-Noon Workshops

  • 12-1pm Lunch provided for all festival registrants

  • 5:30pm Closing Banquet & Reception with participant work

Saturday August 3

  • Participant Departure

  • Uncommon Music Festival Weekend Extension Package. Visit Your Stay for details.

Sunday August 4

  • Uncommon Music Festival Weekend Extension Package. Visit Your Stay for details.

Monday August 5

  • Extension package departure day

Campus Map

 The evening concert & lecture series is open to the public with payment at the door.




T: 907-747-3085 (Sitka Fine Arts Camp office)

E: office(at)

M: P.O. Box 3086, Sitka, AK 99835

Please contact Festival Director Kenley Jackson with any questions. 


Build a festival package:

  • Festival Registration: $650 + tax

    • Includes: One 5-day workshop, interdisciplinary seminars, concert & lecture series, 3 lunches, & the closing banquet

  • Campus Housing Options (Includes meals):

    • Two-person room:  $672/person for a 2-­person shared room, 2 twin beds or 1 king bed, shared bathroom on hall + 2 meal plans (includes %6 sales tax & 6% bed tax)

    • One-person room:  $974.40/person for a 1-­person private room, 2 twin beds, shared bathroom on hall + 1 meal plan (includes %6 sales tax & 6% bed tax)

  • Excursions:

    • Sitka Sound Wildlife Tour (Wednesday 7/31, 1-4pm): $100 + tax

    • Other excursions will be available for sign up during the festival. Charges will be billed to your account after you sign up.

  • Oklahoma Tickets for guests arriving before July 28

  • Uncommon Music Festival Weekend Extension Package (Includes full meal plan):

    • Two-person room: $319.20/person for a 2-­person shared room, 2 twin beds or 1 king bed, shared bathroom on hall + 2 meal plans (includes %6 sales tax & 6% bed tax)

    • One-person room:  $470.40/person for a 1-­person private room, 1 king bed, shared bathroom on hall + 1 meal plan (includes %6 sales tax & 6% bed tax)

    • Visit Your Stay for more details.

Please Note: The Campus Housing & Extension Package prices include 6% sales tax and 6% bed tax. 


  1. REGISTER for workshops, excursions, housing & meals. A $75 non-refundable deposit is required.

  2. Pay your tuition balance. Half is due March 1 and the remainder is due May 1, 2019.

  3. Complete your travel form by May 1, 2019 (only required for guests staying in campus housing.) 

Refund Policy: Registration cancelled by June 1 will be refunded the full amount, less the non-refundable deposit. Refunds will be not be granted after June 1.