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NEA awards $73,000 to further Dena’ina, marine debris exhibitions

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded a $34,000 grant to the Anchorage Museum for a groundbreaking exhibition about Dena’ina Athabascan culture.

The NEA also awarded a $39,000 grant to the Alaska SeaLife Center for a joint project with the Anchorage Museum — a scientific expedition and exhibition about marine debris.

About half of Alaska’s residents live in traditional Dena’ina territory, but there is little general knowledge about the indigenous people who have called Alaska’s Cook Inlet region home for more than a thousand years. “Dena'inaq' Huch'ulyeshi: The Dena'ina Way of Living,” curated by the Anchorage Museum, will be the first comprehensive exhibition about Dena’ina Athabascan people. This exhibition, opening in summer 2013, will feature about 200 Dena’ina objects from museums across the globe, including caribou skin clothing adorned withfine quill work, puffin beak rattles and birch bark cradles. Dena’ina history and culture will come to life through art, music, storytelling, re-created settings and hands-on activities.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an island of trash about the size of Mexico. Similar accumulations of human debris exist in every ocean. “Gyre” is an expedition and exhibition with marine debris serving as both material and message. In summer 2012, an international team of scientists, artists, and educators will set sail along Alaska’s coast to observe, document and collect marine debris. An exhibition will debut in January 2014 featuring the expedition’s scientific discoveries, as well as art created from the marine debris gathered on the journey. This is a joint effort between the Alaska SeaLife Center, Seward, and the Anchorage Museum.

On Thursday the NEA announced 863 grants totaling $22.5 million. Just eight Alaska organizations received NEA grants.

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.

ALASKA SEALIFE CENTER

The Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward is a private, non-profit marine science facility dedicated to generating and sharing scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska's marine ecosystems. Learn more at www.alaskasealife.org.

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS

The National Endowment for the Arts is a federal agency that supports artistic excellence, creativity and innovation. Learn more at www.arts.gov.

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