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SHI Chooses Apprentices to Help Make, Install Monumental Glass Piece


Sealaska Heritage Institute has chosen five apprentices to help create and install a massive glass screen for the new Walter Soboleff Building in Juneau.

Three of the apprentices will help glass artist Preston Singletary make the screen at his studio in Seattle in March. The other two will help Singletary install it in the clan house inside the new building in May. The piece will be unveiled to the public at the grand opening on May 15.

The people chosen to help Singletary make the screen are artists Nicholas Galanin, Alison Bremner and Crystal Worl. The apprentices selected to help install the piece are Mary Goddard and David Roger Lang.

The selection of applicants was a competitive process. Applicants were required to submit samples of their formline designs. The applicants’ names were removed from the designs and the work samples were submitted to Singletary for review. He made recommendations on who should qualify based on the candidates’ formline skills.

The institute then selected apprentices based on their formline skills, on their likelihood of bringing knowledge gained from the program back to Southeast Alaska, and on whether the apprentices would likely use their new knowledge in future work.

In recent years, Sealaska Heritage has put an emphasis on incorporating apprenticeships into art projects, said SHI President Rosita Worl.

“The master-apprentice program is an ancient custom that ensured our art traditions were passed through the generations. To this day, it is still the best way to learn,” Worl said.

Singletary’s piece will be the largest glass screen in the world, measuring 17 feet wide and 12 feet high at its peak and rendered in carved, amber-and-black glass. It will be flanked by two, glass seven-foot posts depicting Eagle and Raven warriors.

The project was supported in part by a grant from ArtPlace America, a collaboration of leading national and regional foundations, banks and federal agencies accelerating creative placemaking across the US. The piece was also funded by an anonymous donor.


Sealaska Heritage Institute was founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.


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