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Master Unangax artists demonstrate bentwood hat making at Anchorage Museum

Unangax (Aleut) master artist Patricia Lekanoff-Gregory making a  bentwood hat, and endangered art.

Unangax (Aleut) master artist Patricia Lekanoff-Gregory making a bentwood hat, and endangered art.

PHOTO: © 2012 Patricia Lekanoff-Gregory/Roy Corral | Anchorage Museum

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 6-9

For a week in March at the Anchorage Museum, Unangax (Aleut) master artists Patricia Lekanoff-Gregory and Michael Livingston will demonstrate the endangered art of bentwood hat making and share their knowledge with apprentices from their home communities.

Museum visitors are invited to observe from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 6 through Friday, March 9 as the artists carve, bend and decorate bentwood hats in the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center. Access to this event is included with museum general admission.

Traditionally, bentwood hats were practical headgear for Aleutian Islands hunters as they traveled in kayaks. At the same time, the hats were ceremonial works of artthat vividly expressed the spiritual connection between people and sea creatures.

During their residency the master artists will discus the art form on film, documenting the traditional knowledge that surrounds this focal item of Unangax culture.

This is the second Alaska’s Living Cultural Treasures artist residency at the museum. The first, on Athabascan snowshoes, was held in May 2011. This program is sponsored by the Alaska State Council on the Arts, Smithsonian Institution and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

ANCHORAGE MUSEUM

The Anchorage Museum is the largest museum in Alaska and one of the top 10 mostvisited attractions in the state. The museum’s mission is to share and connect Alaska with the world through art, history and science. Learn more at www.anchoragemuseum.org.

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