Summer Institutes

Professional Development is one of the main goals of the Alaska Arts Education Consortium and can take various forms ranging from short workshops and school district inservices to 2-week long, 80 hour Institutes.  Every year varies on Institutes offered, locations in Alaska, focus of the training, and teacher-leaders hired to run the Institutes.

Link to AAEC Institute 2004-2018 Chart:  institute-numbers-2004-2018.xlsx (285 downloads)

Below is a general description of different offerings and a short history of past trainings.

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 21 special topics Institutes.  These range from:

  • Advanced Institutes for prior attendees
  • to Special Education and the Arts Institutes focusing on working with students with disabilities as well as all students
  • to Alaska Cultural Institutes that focus on Alaska Native cultures and rotated (for 5 years) annually around the State.
  • to specific arts integration Institutes
  • and include a new focus on a multicultural institute.

Most of these Institutes are one week long, but some are two week.  The daily schedule reflects what has worked for us before…the day starts with a plenary session often featuring brain and educational theories as applied to arts in education settings.  This is followed by 3-4 sessions that participants rotate through, working with expert teacher-leaders. 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.

2019 Institutes

2019 Ketchikan Basic Arts Institute

2019 Kodiak Multicultural Arts Institute

AAEC institutes are supported by District membership, participants, local school districts, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, Kennedy Center VSA, and Regional Alaska Native groups.)

Bethel Multicultural Arts Institute


2018 Summer Intitutes

2018 Institutes

AAEC offered three Arts Institutes during summer 2018.


2017 Institutes

During the summer of 2017, AAEC held 3 Arts Institutes.  In chronological order:

Sitka Basic Arts Institute.  21  teachers from Sitka, Copper River, Mt. Edgecumbe, Anchorage, Kodiak, Fairbanks, Mat Su,  and Virginia attended this 2-week Institute.  aThere were 4 strong teacher-leaders focusing on arts integration, teacher wellness,  visual arts, movement, digital arts and cultural arts.  AAEC partnered with Sitka School District to assist with this training.

Juneau Basic & Beyond.  16 teachers from Juneau, Sitka, Chatham, LKSD, the Netherlands and the Canvas Art Center this 2-week Institute.  The first week–led by 4 teacher-leaders–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.  AAEC partnered with Sealaska Heritage Institute and the University of Alaska Southeast for this training.  (4 credits)

Anchorage Arts are Exceptional.  26 teachers from Kenai, Anchorage, Mat-su, Fairbanks, Kuspuk, and Juneau School Districts attended this 1-week training,   3 teacher-leaders, highly experienced in special education, led the training focused on visual arts, music, and movement. AAEC partnered with the Anchorage School District and was supported by grant funds from the Kennedy Center VSA.  (3 credits)


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.  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. (3 credits)

Sitka Advanced Arts Institute.  16 teachers from Sitka, Kenai and Lower Kuskokwim School Districts attended this 1-week Institute., 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. (3 credits)

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. (4 credits)

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. (4 credits)

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.  (3 credits)

2015 Institutes

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

Sitka ACT (Arts, Culture & Technology) Institute.  32 educators from Sitka, Bering Strait, Yukon-Koyukuk, Mt. Edgecumbe, North Slope, and Lower Kuskokwim School Districts attended this 1-week Institute.  They were led by 4 teacher-leaders plus various Tlingit elder presentations.  AAEC partnered with Sitka School District and Sitka Tribes of Alaska. (3 credits)

Bethel Yupik Cultural Arts Institute.  24 educators from Iditarod, Yukon-Koyukuk, Kenai, North Slope, Lower Kuskokwim, and Alaska Gateway School Districts attended this 1 week Institute.  They were led by 3 teacher-leaders plus two local Yupik artists that taught storytelling/story knife techniques and history.  AAEC partnered with Lower Kuskokwim School District and the Worldwide IDEA project on this institute. (3 credits)

Juneau Basic Arts Institute.  30 educators from Juneau, Sitka, Bering Strait, Ketchikan, and Mat-Su School Districts attended this 2-week Institute.  They were led b6 4 teacher-leaders plus 2 Tlingit support teachers provided by Sealaska.  AAEC partnered with Sealaska Heritage Institute on this event. (4 credits)

Juneau Basic 2015

2014 Institutes

During the summer of 2014 AAEC held three institutes:  Mat-su Basic Arts Institute, Ketchikan Basic Arts Institute, and Fairbanks Athabascan Cultural Arts Institute.

Mat-Su Basic Arts Institute: 26 educators from Mat-su and Yukon Flats School Districts attended this 2-week Institute. They were led by 2 full-time and 5 part-time teacher-leaders. AAEC partnered with the Matanuska-Susitna School district for this training. (4 credits)

Ketchikan Basic Arts Institute: 23 educators from Ketchikan and Southeast Island School District attended this 2-week Institute. They were led by 4 teacher-leaders, and had a number of artist presentations. AAEC partnered with Ketchikan School District, Ketchikan Arts Council and Ketchikan Indian Community on this training. (4 credits)

Fairbanks Cultural Athabascan Arts Institute:  31 educators from many districts attend this 1-week institute.  They were lead by 3 cultural arts teachers.  AAEC partnered with Doyon and Fairbanks North Star Borough School District on this training. (3 Credits)

Kenai Celebrating All Abilities Arts Institute:  32 educators from Kenai, Fairbanks and Lower Yukon School Districts attended this 1-week special education focused training.  They were led by 3 teacher-leaders with presentations from artist/teachers.  AAEC used grant funds from a Kennedy Center VSA grant to support this training. (3 credits)



2013 Institutes

During the summer of 2013 AAEC held three institutes:  a Nome Basic Arts Institute, a Sitka Basic Arts Institute and a Kodial Alutic Cultual Arts Institute.  


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