Last Dance

Sitka Fine Arts Camp elementary age campers dance with instructor Brendan Jones in their final day of camp today at the Sheldon Jackson College Campus. Middle School Camp, for grades seven thru nine, begins Monday. Registration is still open at 907-747-3085. (Sentinel Photo by Klas Stolpe)

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Daily Sitka Sentinel

Porch Fest to Celebrate Community Art

By SHANNON HAUGLAND

Sentinel Staff Writer

Music, dance, food, storytelling and visual arts will enliven Lincoln Street Saturday at the Porch Fest.

The all-day event, now in its third year, is organized by the Greater Sitka Arts Council, with businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations offering a variety of activities.

“I loved it last year, it’s a one-day extravaganza,” GSAC board vice president and Porch Fest founder Dixon Elegant said. “This year, we have about 11 workshops, 20 musical and dance performances, and 35 food and art vendors – double the number from last year – all within a 10-hour span.”

Aerialists perform in front of City Hall during the 2022 Sitka Porch Fest. This year’s event takes place Saturday. (Sentinel File Photo)

Elegant took the idea of a community arts festival to the GSAC board in 2021. Because COVID was still a risk, she proposed an outdoor event, which was embraced by the council and is today one of its flagship events.

“We want it to be really focused on local, and local artists, and really celebrating all of the art in Sitka,” said Rain Van Den Berg, an organizer and GSAC board member. “It’s a family friendly music and arts event. And it’s a free community event – it’s a time to celebrate artists, and for crafters and other vendors to sell their wares.”

Lincoln Street will be closed 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from St. Michael’s Cathedral to the Cable House, with events starting at 11 a.m. Porch Fest organizers selected a day when no large cruise ships are scheduled to be in town.

The “porch” in the festival title refers to the covered area in back of the KCAW Cable House, which serves as the main stage for the event. Other, smaller stages are in front of the Lutheran Church, for small groups; and near Island Artists Gallery, where dance and music groups will perform.

The festival includes artist demonstrations and workshops, including a Bicycle Part Jewelry Course next to the stage behind KCAW; a henna station in the 200 block of Lincoln Street, hosted by Bhargavi Pochi; and a workshop on collage at Totem Square. 

The forecast is calling for cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-50s. 

A much anticipated event that day is Sitka Tells Tales, featuring live storytellers, 4 to 5 p.m. on the porch stage, with the theme: “Breakthrough: Tales of Sudden Discoveries and New Creations.”

“We had an amazingly positive gathering of storytellers,” said Ellen Frankenstein, who organizes the event on behalf of Artchange, which co-sponsors Sitka Tells Tales with KCAW. “Stories of self-discovery, getting through hurdles and dealing with fears. We’ve also got ghosts, Zambonis and pink underwear.”

Frankenstein said she appreciates the collaborative aspect of Porch Fest, which is a “celebration of local-ness” and brings together individuals, businesses and arts organizations.

“I love things that celebrate community, and that encourage people to come together and sit and watch their neighbors perform,” she added.

Sitka Cirque will perform at 12:15 p.m. on Lincoln Street, then keep its equipment up for “Free Play,” inviting the public to try out the apparatuses. The public can also take a “mini-lesson” for a small donation, with proceeds going toward a new lollipop lyra apparatus.

Just after that, Sitka Studio of Dance will perform at 2:15 p.m.

All of the musicians are local, with the exception of Elizabeth Lubin, an Oakland, California, musician, who will play the KCAW stage 4 to 5 p.m. Saturday, and on a SAIL fundraising cruise at 5:30 p.m. She is a friend of Sitkans.

Elegant invited her mom, Dana Greco, from New York City, to conduct a workshop “Ink Art and Mindful Art Practices.” Greco is a psychotherapist and an artist.

Elegant said Greco’s practice Conscious Counseling PLLC will “conduct an art project using ink and apply the medium toward invoking emotions and insight.”

Van Den Berg said it took a lot to bring the event together, and gave credit to Elegant, John Ingman (social media), and John Stein, for his hard work fundraising through the raffle ticket sales. She thanked Bryan Lovett, for recruiting an outside musician to perform and coordinating the main stage events. Bobbi Jordan, another GSAC board member, helped with musician-coordination efforts.

The event will include a number of food vendors along the street.

Van Den Berg said the event is free, thanks to sponsors Hames Corp, Sitka Rotary, White Elephant, Harry Race Pharmacy and Fortress of the Bear.

The schedule and map are available at sitkaartscouncil.org, under Porch Fest 2023. Programs will be available at the GSAC booth in front of Harry Race, where fundraising raffle tickets for $15 are available. The winners will be drawn at the end of Porch Fest.

 

 

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20 YEARS AGO

June 2004 

Advertisement: Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Caring Employee of the month! Franklin Thomas Hospital Nutrition Services.

50 YEARS AGO

June 1974

Edna Revard is enjoying a much-deserved vacation: she and youngest son Joe are in Italy visiting her older son, Jack, his wife and child. Jack is with the military, stationed in Italy. Edna will be gone a month, the crew at Revard’s Restaurant says.

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