Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tlingit Northwest Native Art Being Damaged in Alaska

The sun is damaging one of Alaska's most important collections of contemporary Northwest Native art. The gallery at Stevens International Airport holds 150 masterpieces including Inupiat etched ivory tusks, Cup'ig beach grass baskets, a Tlingit Northwest Native carved canoe paddle and a floor-length Tlingit ceremonial blanket featuring a 2-foot-high raven shaped from tiny glass beads. All of these pieces are displayed in an area exposed to sunlight. Alaska's state conservator warns that the airport's treasured collection could be ruined within five years unless it is relocated or protected. Committed to protecting the pieces, Stephens Airport officials are relying on experts from the Alaska Arts Council and arts community to help them understand the airport's options.

Outdoor Northwest Native art such as the totem poles at Vancouver's Stanley Park require maintenance on a continuous basis. Therefore, it is highly recommended that any Northwest Native art carvings be kept indoors and away from constant sunlight if possible.

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