Sitka is… Southeast Alaska’s Art Destination
People often wonder what folks do in Sitka during the long, gray winter months. The answer is simple - they go to the theater, they participate in theater, they listen to music, they create music, they attend lectures, they give lectures, they take classes and teach classes. Sitka transforms once the tourist season is over.
People often wonder what folks do in Sitka during the long, gray winter months. The answer is simple – they go to the theater, they participate in theater, they listen to music, they create music, they attend lectures, they give lectures, they take classes and teach classes. Sitka transforms once the tourist season is over. It becomes a place of art.
Sitkans are busy. It’s almost fair to say that Sitka hosts 360 days of art in some way, shape, or form. This could be a bit of a stretch, but there is certainly art to be had just about everywhere.
Two organizations are leaders in the arts community: the Sitka Fine Arts Camp and the Greater Sitka Arts Council. In addition to their nationally recognized summer camps, the Sitka Fine Arts Camp also hosts Young Performers Theater and a winter Performing Arts Series. This season features Ghanaian musician Okaidja Afroso and the annual Holiday Brass Concert with members of top orchestras from around the country.
The Greater Sitka Arts Council serves as the umbrella for a host of juicy arts opportunities and events: Sitka Wearable Art, PorchFest, Sitka Community Theater, Sitka Monthly Grind, Gallery Walks, Open Mics, and Sitka Strings.
Near the beginning of the GSAC season is Radio Adventure Hour, an old-time radio show, with live sound effects produced on stage in front of the audience.
Porchfest is the newest GSAC collaboration. It is a day filled with music, dance and visual art in downtown Sitka. All the events are open to the public, free of charge and family friendly.
But wait, there’s more. Sheldon Jackson Museum, Sitka Music Festival, Island Artists Cooperative, Sitka Tells Tales, Sitka Studio of Dance, Ramshackle Cabaret, Naa Kahidi Dancers, Sitka Film Society, Sitka Cirque, and Ocean Wave Quilters Guild – all keep Sitkans fully entertained.
Add in Sitka Library lectures and visiting authors, Public Radio shows produced by KCAW volunteers, events at University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, markets and bazaars, small performance groups (celtic, ukuleles, shape note singing), and individual musicians playing on the street in multiple configurations.
Appreciation of the arts extends to Sitka schools. Mt. Edgecumbe High School and Sitka High School have outstanding drama and debate teams, art students produce amazing pieces, and the music programs are unparalleled. Sitka High School also boasts one of the most acoustically perfect Performing Arts Centers in the United States.
You don’t have to look far to find something “artsy” to do on a chilly winter day. With dramatic landscapes that could be a painting, hiking trails that are art in themselves, and a rich history of Alaska Native Arts, Sitka-by-the-Sea is truly an art lover’s paradise.