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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Alaska Arts Southeast Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts, Culture & Humanities

Mission: To provide Alaska youth with the opportunity to develop personal artistic interests and skills in an intensive artistic experience through stimulating, high quality, professional instruction in visual arts, music, dance, theater, writing and Alaska Native Arts

Results: In February 2011, we were given the Sheldon Jackson Campus, a campus whose doors had been shut in 2007. This year we spent more than 15,000 volunteer hours and raised over $250,000 to begin revitalizing the 20 buildings and 20 acres. Our dream is to make a campus thriving in the arts, sciences and culture of Sitka.

Target demographics: Students, from kindergarten through 12th grade, from Alaska and throughout the country.

Direct beneficiaries per year: almost 600 students

Programs: Aase runs the only fine arts camp in alaska, the camp just completed its 40th year. It offered over 70 different multidisciplinary arts classes taught by faculty drawn from prestigious venues across the country. The 2013 camp served over 700 students in three age-divided sessions. Students came from a number of alaskan communities and around the world. In addition, aase manages and staffs the sitka performing arts center. Out- of-town artists and art educators give performances and instruction in the center and in the sitka schools.

hames recreation center is the largest of 20 buildings gifted to aase in 2011. The building allows aase to further its mission of providing arts and recreation to sitka. The facility houses the only community gymnasium in sitka along with workout and training rooms. The fee structure for the use of the facility includes both drop-in and membership rates. There are currently approximately 600 active memberships. Hames recreation center offers a number of programs which emphasis community wellness through physical activity. The center is administered by one paid position and a large number of volunteers including those serving on the administrative comittee.

Community Stories

18 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

I moved to Sitka in the summer of 1975, about a week before the start of what I believe was the second year of the camp. For those two weeks, and for two weeks out of the next three years, I met friends that I would have for the rest of my life, and learned an incredible amount in an incredibly short amount of time. I can safely say that Fine Arts Camp changed my life. Without it, I could very well have gone in a different direction, and would've missed out on some precious memories. Thank you SFAC!!

Ariel L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SFAC Changed my life. For the better. I'll have to look back and review, and I hope SFAC got on the list of top non-profits, cause they deserve it, but I think everyone must have had the same words. SFAC changed my life, and was life for so many of the people I met there. Many of my closest friends are still the people I met nine years ago at SFAC. I knew many middle and high school kids who survived isolation and alienation in their small communities for 50 weeks a year because they knew for 2 weeks a year they would be held up, supported, loved, and accepted. Young students with not much going for them would spend the year seeking out and writing grants, asking for the support of local businesses, and working every job they could find all year to send themselves to camp for those precious two weeks. SFAC is a place where young people thrive. My artistic inspiration and life inspiration still draws so strongly from my experiences at SFAC years ago - when I am feeling not-so-artistic or inspired, I think back to my time there and the words from my instructors and friends and feel a wave of inspiration, motivation, encouragement, and dreams. Those two weeks a year did more for my art than the years of classes I have taken since. Thank you so much to SFAC and all the people who make it up! I am so glad it is back at SJ campus where all my happiest memories thrive, and flourish. SFAC is a breath of fresh air in the stress of youth and life. I would not be who I am today without SFAC. If every week was like those two weeks, the world would be a radically different place and we could accomplish anything.

Tracy234567

Board Member

Rating: 5

My first experience with Sitka Fine Arts Camp was as a camper back in the '70's. Each summer I spent 2 weeks in intense training and exploration in my chosen art courses. I had small classes led by professional artists. I bonded with other kids who, like me, heard a different drummer. It was magical. My kids became campers during this past decade. They received the same kind of high quality, compassionate and just plain FUN arts experiences that I did. I know that they learned more about who they are, what they want and where they are going. They learned to take risks, to overcome challenges and to explore with passion. They learned through the examples of their teachers and counselors, to be respectful and supportive of other explorers. All three of my grown childeren are bettter people for having attended.
I believe that the arts are an integral part of education. The arts help to foster creative and indepent thought. They help teach communication and adaptability. In a world that is changing at an inconceivable rate, these are the traits are most sought after by businesses, the most capable leaders. Sitka Fine Arts Camp is growing artists, but more importantly, it is growing great people.

Christina234

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended SFAC as a camper from ages 12 to 17, as an intern at 18 and a councilor at age 19. Basically, I grew up in this wonderful artistic environment. Each year I attended I learned more and more about my art, my life and myself. The teachers are the best in their field and they have an invested interest in their students. I honestly would not be the person or artist I am today without this camp.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's hard to describe how great it feels to walk into a building that had been boarded up and left to rot and now see kids prepping for mask making class.
The abandoned campus in the middle of our town is now the home of The Sitka Fine Arts Camp, where kids from Alaska and all over the states come for 5 weeks of amazing arts.
I feel fortunate to be a board member of this organization, where daily I can see the positive changes that have taken place in our community. Thanks for allowing me to share my story!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I had the privilege of teaching keyboard classes and accompanying voice and choir classes for three summers at the SFAC High School Camp. The students come eager to learn and to interact with each other and the faculty and counselors.

One of the unique aspects of the camp is the opportunity for students to not only pursue their particular interest but to experience and try other disciplines in the arts and see how those compliment and enhance the training they've already received.

The evening Art Shares programs showcase faculty and student talent both individually and in groups. This develops a camaraderie amongst the camp participants that draws them back each year to continue learning in a postive supportive atmosphere. SFAC embraces students of any skill level and seeks to build them from where they are.

The beautiful setting in Sitka just adds to the asthetic experience.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended Sitka Fine Arts Camp as a young adult and I think it was one of the most valuable experiences I have had to date. This camp helped me develop my artistic abilities and build confidence more in the two weeks I had the privilege of attending every summer than my whole year at school and in other programs. I owe so much of myseld to those who continually support and recognize this camp as the invaluable asset that it is.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter will be attending her fourth year of mini-camp in the spring of 2012. Because of the hard work and dedication of Alaska Arts Southeast (AASE) staff, board members, volunteers and financial donors, she will be attending camp on the historic Sheldon Jackson campus, the original home of Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

Since we live in Sitka, we are lucky enough to benefit directly not only from the presence of Sitka Fine Arts Camp, but from the Sheldon Jackson Campus rejuvenation project AASE has taken on. In the last 9 months, AASE has turned a boarded up eyesore back in to a welcoming, vibrant educational facility.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Both of my children attend Fine Arts Camp in Sitka and love every minute of camp. I have volunteered on the campus and am excited to see the changes being made in our community through Sitka Fine Arts camp taking over the historical Sheldon Jackson College Campus.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I came to SFAC this year for the first time on a scholarship. I loved all the different instruments we could play and all the help from the pros who assisted us and helped us gain more knowledge.. the sky was the limit for us, the campus was my mom and aunties old college and we stayed in their dorms. It was great, the town and scenery is breathtaking... I am coming back next year with my brother.. tyvm SFAC I had a blast

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughters have attended the Mini Fine Arts Camp since they were first added to the camp schedule, and my eldest daughter attended the Jr. HIgh Camp for the first time in 2011. We had attended many of the art shares and performances in the past, but the jr. high camp far exceeded our expectations. I would call it a life changing experience. To be surrounded by such talented teachers and students who were all excited about the arts for 2 weeks is a joy. Although she is primarily a dancer, the camp encourages exploration of many different art forms and I believe this makes it unique.

Donor

Rating: 4

We became connected to SFAC through one of the teachers at the camp. When my daughter decided to go, it became a family commitment. The arts are being brought to the world, not just Sitka through this experience. The teachers are top rated, provide a great atmosphere and teach challenging lessons. It has been a great experience and the setting is beautiful. Even more so with the addition of the Sheldon Jackson campus. It is wonderful to see the commitment of all to the improvement of the campus, SFAC and the communtiy.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been attending Sitka Fine Arts Camp for the past six summers and it is the highlight of his year. He has volunteered as a counselor at the camp for elementary students and served as an intern at the middle school camp. Our family could not be more impressed with the quality of all the services offered by Alaska Arts Southeast and we are grateful to have such a vibrant organization in our communty.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I accompanied my granddaughters to the elementary camp in June, 2011. I home school them at their parents' isolated wilderness lodge on Prince of Wales Island. With both BS and MEd degrees and 30 years experience teaching in public schools, I know they are well educated. However, I cannot give them interactions with other children or the fine arts taught by highly qualified instructors. These they received abundantly at SFAC. I am so appreciative that this opportunity exists. The girls learned joyfully and can hardly wait to return in 2012.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Three out of four of my children have gone to SFAC. My second son has been a participant, councelor and student teacher. The amount of knowledge he has received from his experiences in the SFAC has giving him a great deal of confidence to go on with his music. The community has enjoyed his successes. My twin daughters have also gone as first summer participants. There pride in their instruments have shown in their accomplishments here in the lower 48 states. I am greatful to the strengths the SFAC has given all of my children and look to see more.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to SFAC for my first time in 7th grade. It was awesome. Since then I have went back every year and its only gotten better. SFAC is truly an amazing place.

Blythe C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been following Sheldon Jackson College for many years as they struggled with sustainability and finally folded. The Sitka Fine Arts Camp took a huge risk and rallied the community to not only save a historic set of buildings, but they had the vision to create an amazing asset for their community and the state. The number of volunteer hours alone that have been donated in a very small community has got to be some kind of record. This organization deserves financial support.

Donor

Rating: 5

This is one of the most exciting, interesting and valuable organizations I've come across. Taking an open and nurturing attitude towards education of young people from not only Southeast Alaska, or even just Alaska, but across the country, the Fine Arts Camp run by Alaska Arts Southeast gave my children memorable experiences that increased their understanding, appreciation and abilities from grades 7-12. My son is looking forward to returning in a year or two as a counselor, adviser, or maybe just volunteer.
If I lived in Sitka, I'd be reporting to volunteer duty on the newest project of Alaska Arts Southeast--the renovation and rejuvenation of the historic Sheldon Jackson College campus, for use by the Fine Arts Camp and other arts and education groups who may want to help support and use the campus outside of the camp's needs.
Current director, Roger Schmidt has ushered the camp into exciting new directions with the backing of a strong and remarkable board.
Every penny is well-spent and Alaska Arts Southeast seems to be able to increase each penny a hundred-fold to take the organization in captivating and wonderful new directions.