Things To Do
Annual Art Show
IHC will sponsor an annual juried art show, inviting Iñupiat artists from across the North Slope to enter paintings, graphics, mixed media, artifacts and sculptures for the competition. Prizes will be awarded in each of these categories, as well as special awards will be made possible by several generous donors. This show will be the largest of its kind in the North Slope. The Art Show will feature all new works each year, and will be held annually from the second Sunday in June through the second Sunday in August. Visitors and art collectors from across the U.S. and from other countries will be attracted to the show each year. All pieces in the annual art show will be for sale, providing an excellent market for Iñupiat artist.
Community programs will be listed in our calendar. The community and visitors should look for Iñupiat celebrations. The Family Explorations series will present programs usually on a monthly basis that are designed to allow children and their adult family members an opportunity to creatively explore topics related to Iñupiat art, history and natural sciences. In addition, every changing exhibition at the IHC will be supplemented with special programs organized and presented by IHC staff.
Performing and Fine Arts Programs
The Fine Arts and Performing Arts programs shall be developed in conjunction with Ilisagvik College. The performing arts program will support performances in the Multipurpose Room and will celebrate Iñupiat arts through thematic presentations. It is expected that the tourism industry will continue to make use of the Multipurpose Room for dance and other performances and contribute to the use and development of this service.
Teaching Traditional Games
The Inuit developed games of skill and chance that enhanced survival in the harsh Arctic environment. Many of the traditional games were played to relieve tension during periods of inactivity. Some team or partner games are played as way to share enjoyment with others and teach children skills. Over time the changing lifestyle of the Iñupiat has had an effect on the cycle of inactivity that allowed children to learn the various kinds of traditional sports. These games are now played during the winter holiday season between Christmas and New Year. Some of the games have become part of the competitive sports, such as The Arctic Winter Games in Canada and the World Eskimo and Indian Olympics in Alaska, and are recognized by other cultures. Part of the Iñupiat Heritage Center's role will be to facilitate demonstrations and teaching of traditional games by inviting elders and community members to teach specific traditional games in the Multipurpose Room. New games can be introduced from other Inuit groups to enhance this program.
Elders are highly respected for their knowledge and wisdom in practically every aspect of life. In some Iñupiat communities today, elders are almost the only ones who have knowledge of traditional skills and language. The elders' role has changed dramatically as the changing lifestyle of the Iñupiat move toward the modern age. Language barriers between the older and younger generations make it difficult for elders to pass on knowledge about life, skills and stories known mostly by the elders. Elders have much to contribute toward the education of the young through their life long experiences.
The elders in residence program will allow Iñupiat elders to assist in the delivery of instruction and guidance for the Iñupiat Heritage Center programs and activities. Where seasonal traditional activities coincide with exhibits planned, they will be combined with the elders in residence program. Parents and children will be able to explore the relationship of the Iñupiat to their natural world and their environment following the natural flow of the seasons and seasonal activities.
Inuit art has roots dating back more than 4,000 years. Decorative design on hunting implements and ceremonial objects prevailed in the early cultures defined as the Ovik, Old Bering Sea, Pungnak, Ikpiutak, and Thule periods. Fine carvings of wood, bone, ivory, and other materials give evidence of the sense of humor, both robust and subtle, of their vivid imagination, and their technical virtuosity. Ceremonial objects, hunting implements, and materials for daily life have been transformed into objects of beauty and often carried spiritual significance. Unique Inuit art is praised and collected by art collectors and museums around the world, although not much attention has been paid to "tourist art."
The Iñupiat Heritage Center will preserve and perpetuate Iñupiat art by supporting Iñupiat artists and their work. Eight workstations will allow master artists to share their knowledge with apprentices interested in learning their skills. Local artists may also be observed from the viewing room while they work on art projects.
Performing Arts Programs
Iñupiat singing and drum dances are performed to celebrate special events, successful hunts, annual ceremonies, and large gatherings. Humorous dances and thematic performances would relieve tension during periods of inactivity. Hardship, sad and happy events, spirituality, and comic song and dance are a form of sharing emotions that bring one into harmony with others. The Iñupiat Heritage Center performing arts programs will be developed in conjunction with Ilisagvik College and may be supported by local artists in creating traditional props for thematic performances that will be learned in the Multipurpose Room. Public performances by the participants in this program will be presented by the general public as a part of the Iñupiat Heritage Center performing arts programs.
Cultural demonstrations and performing arts programs can be included in the summer tourist cultural programs coordinated with the local tour industry.
The Iñupiat Heritage Center will feature a movie once a month for education/entertainment purposes. Movies are open to the public. IHC may charge admission and sell beverages & snacks.