Summer Institutes

Basic Arts Institutes

AAEC began offering a Basic Arts Institute  in Juneau in 2003. Basic Arts Institutes, now offered statewide, are two-week intensive, summer opportunities for educators to learn how to use the arts to motivate and increase student learning.


The Basic Arts Institute is the  signature summer institute of the AAEC, this two week intensive is designed for teachers, paraprofessionals and administrators to experience how the arts can increase student performance, engagement and motivation in grades K – 12. Participants learn to integrate a variety of art forms (visual, storytelling, drama, music, movement/dance, traditional cultural arts, media arts) into curriculum and instruction. Daily 90-minute sessions focus on current brain research, performing arts, visual arts and Native arts. Teachers practice art techniques, learn how to adapt arts activities for students experiencing special needs, read and discuss articles, visit local community arts venues, design an integrated lesson plan, and reflect on their experiences with colleagues and in daily journals. In addition, each Basic Arts Institute is tailored to meet the needs and interests of the district and community hosting the institute. Participants earn 4 graduate credits. (* During the Sitka BAI teachers will interact with and observe the Sitka Fine Arts Camp)

Participants at Institutes –

  • Learn how to integrate the arts (visual, drama, music & Native cultural arts) into their school curriculum
  • Work with and learn from Alaska Native Elders
  • Understand the impact of the arts on student performance, motivation and brain activity
  • Experience the production, criticism & appreciation of art
  • Form a cadre of teachers in the arts across Alaska

11,800+ Alaska students now receiving more arts education from teachers trained at AAEC institutes

Special Topics Institutes

Since 2005, AAEC has held 20 special topics Institutes.  These range from Advanced Institutes to Special Education and the Arts Institutes to Cultural Institutes that annually rotate around the State.  Most of these Institutes are one week long, but some are two week.  The schedule reflects what has worked for us before…theory and history start the day before the hands-on involvement in the arts begins.  The participants learn to integrate the arts as above.  Credit is available and final lesson plans or PPA’s (personal plans of action for those without a classroom, ie speech therapists, etc.) are required.



2017 Institutes

During the summer of 2017, AAEC held 3 Arts Institutes.  These institutes were (in chronological order) :

Sitka Basic Arts Institute.  Two-week institute attended by 21  teachers from Sitka and around the Alaska.  There were 4 strong teacher-leaders focusing on arts integration, teacher wellness,  visual arts, movement, digital arts and cultural arts.

Juneau Basic & Beyond.  This two-week Institute, attended by 16 teachers,  was a partnership with the University of Alaska Southeast.  The first week focused on Universal Design for Learning, brain research, visual arts, movement and music.  The second week was lead by UAS Tlingit faculty members, looking at art (form-line design), music/storytelling, and writing.

Anchorage Arts are Exceptional.  One-week Institute, attended by 26 teachers,  focused on working with students with disabilites, and arts for all.  Teacher-leaders were highly experienced in special education and visual arts, music, and movement.


2016 Institutes

During the summer of 2016, AAEC held 5 Arts Institutes–more than ever in one summer.  These institutes were diverse in focus and geographically in Alaska.  They were (in chronological order):

Point Hope Inupiat Cultural Arts Institute.  One-week, 20 teachers from NSBSD and Nome, 3 wonderful Inupiaq teacher-leaders taught about the culture participants learned about the history, language, and traditional practices including dancing, carving, and sewing.  Partnering with AAEC was the North Slope Borough School District.

Sitka Advanced Arts Institute.  One-week, 16 teachers from Sitka, Kenai and Lower Kuskokwim School Districts, 4 teacher-leaders taught about Tlingit and Yupik cultures, dance/movement, visual art, and deep integration studies and research that would continue through the next school year.  Partnering with AAEC was the Sitka School District, Sitka Tribe, and Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

Juneau Basic Arts Institute. Two-weeks.  16 teachers, representing Juneau, Ketchikan and Kodiak School Districts.  4 teacher-leaders taught about S.E. culture, visual art, music, movement and theory. Partners with AAEC are the Sealaska Heritage Foundation and the Juneau School District, with support from the Kennedy Center VSA program.

Nome Basic Arts Institute.  Two-weeks.  20 teachers, representing Nome, Bering Straits, Kuspuk, Anchorage and Wasilla School Districts.  5 teacher-leaders taught Yupik and Inupiaq cultures, visual art, arts in technology, movement and had a strong strand in special education and the arts.  Partnering with AAEC was Nome and Bering Straits School District, Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation and support from the Kennedy Center VSA program.

Fairbanks Arts are Exceptional Institute.  One-week.  45 teachers from Fairbanks, Bering Straits, Lower Yukon, Yukon-Koyukuk, Mat-Su, Alaska Gateway, Delta Greely, Northwest Arctic, Sitka, Valdez, Anchorage Districts.  4 teacher-leaders taught special education and the arts theory, visual art, movement, and music.  Partnering with AAEC was the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District and the Kennedy Center VSA program

2015 Institutes

AAEC held three institutes during 2015:  The Sitka ACT Institute (Arts, Culture & Technology), Juneau Basic Institute, and the Bethel Yup’ik Institute.

32 educators attended the Sitka 1-week Institute.

30 Educators attended the 2-week Basic Arts Institute

2014 Institutes

2014 Institutes Mat-Su – Basic Arts Institute

July 28 – August 7, 2014 • HOSTED BY: Mat-Su School District • 4 UAS ED593 Credits

 2014 Ketchikan – Basic Arts Institute

August 4-15, 2014 • 4 UAS ED593 Credits

Fairbanks – Special Topics – Athabascan Arts Institute

June 1-6, 2014 Fairbanks, Alaska, Twin Bears Camp, UAF 3 Credits

Kenai – Special Topics – Celebrating All Abilities Arts Institute

June 2-6, 2014 •  Kenai School District, Kenai Peninsula College, UAA 3 Credits


2013 Institutes

In the summer of 2013, AAEC offered two 2-week Basic Arts Institutes in Sitka and Nome, and one week long Special Topics Institute focused on Alutiiq Cultural Arts in Kodiak.


For more information about hosting or attending a future institute, contact AAEC Executive Director: Barbara Short at, 907-322-6669