Having planned for four Arts Institutes in various parts of the state, when Covid hit we made the decision to cancel most events.  However, the Juneau Arts & Culture Institute, went ahead with planning and presenting a 2 week Institute.  There were 29 participants and a team of 7 people met weekly for about 3 months in hopes of  a successful experience for everyone.


Many teachers around the state are struggling with the idea of starting school online – so are the students and parents. This course helped me see ways to incorporate culture, art, dance, and elders into my “online” classroom.

Everyone was wonderful! I would not have guessed that this was the first time in this format! Other than unknowable tech issues (such as a fiber optic cable being cut in Anchorage) and just the general chaotic nature of technology, I would say this was very seamless!

The planning team consisted of::

  • Abel Ryan, NW Coast Form Line Design
  • Barbara Short, AAEC Executive Director & Institute Logistics
  • Martha Gould Lehe, CERRC Cultural Standards
  • Edward Littlefield, Movement, Music and Tlingit Language
  • Andrea Pokryzwinski, Institute Technical Support
  • Shelley Toon Lindberg, Visual and Digital Arts
  • Annie Calkins, AAEC Advisor and Institute Evaluator (not shown)


We met 4 days a week for 7 hours, with plenty of movement, arts, singing and language.  We had 29 teachers from 9 Alaskan districts, offered 3 credits, and implemented evaluation with a number of time-proven tools.

“Once again, – another awesome Basic Institute! This is my favorite form of professional development! All instructors were extremely highly qualified and very adept at sharing their knowledge and wisdom. The cultural component gave every lesson depth and made learning more enjoyable.”

Images below show:

  • on the left, a portion of the class
  • on the right, Ryan Abel drawing showing the class basic forms







AAEC will hold more virtual Institutes in the future now that we have been successful with one, but everyone agrees that in-person events are more dynamic and collegial!