Sitka Arts & Science Festival




about THe festival

As busy adults, we often fail to make time for reflection, to think and feel deeply, to challenge ourselves to see the world in new and beautiful ways. Amid the unrelenting pressures of everyday life, we lose our essential and childlike wonder. Give yourself time, space, and perspective—as a student in the Sitka Arts and Science Festival.


Perched at the edge of a wilderness, nestled in one of the most exquisite and vibrant small communities in the world, the Sitka Arts and Science Festival explores what it means to be human against the immensity of forest, ocean, and mountains in Sitka, Alaska.

Through the complementary lenses of art and science, and guided by an extraordinary group of artists and scientists, Festival participants embark on a journey of learning and discovery.


Join us. Immerse yourself in an intensive workshop and experience our wilderness through guided excursions. Be inspired by performances and provoked by lectures. Go behind the scenes with musicians and actors. Reclaim your capacity for wonder and imagination with us this summer.

A program of Sitka Fine Arts Camp, in partnership with the Sitka Sound Science Center 

2017 FESTIVAL Dates: July 22-28 & July 29-August 4




Workshops: Week 1 > July 22-28

Workshops: Week 2 > July 29-august 4

Field Excursions

Sitka Sound WildLife Quest:

Sitka Sound is home to the greatest variety of wildlife in Southeast Alaska from sea otters to whales, sea lions, porpoises, harbor seals, brown bears, blacktail deer, puffins, bald eagles and more! Scattered with over 200 islands, Sitka Sound is full of history and culture as well as wildlife. View the geology of the islands, scout for humpback whales, and laugh at the antics of a sea otter. Dress warmly and bring a rainproof jacket to wear on the observation deck. Binoculars, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are provided on this 2 hour tour of the waters and islands of Sitka Sound. Captained by Allen Marine Tours of Alaska, a multi-year winner of Shore Excursion of the Year, the waterjet-driven tour vessel is designed to navigate Southeast Alaska’s narrow island passages, allowing for wildlife viewing at close range. The vessel features a warm cabin with comfortable seating, large windows, galley and restrooms.  There is an expansive topside observation deck for unparalleled photo opportunities and to fully experience your quest with all your senses.

Experienced Naturalist, Mary Boose has a deep understanding and enthusiasm for the wildlife and people who call the land and waters around Sitka home. Sharing both natural history and local lore, Mary will guide guests on an adventure packed with species identification, creature anecdotes, and stories of the people who have carved a life out of this wild place. Mary holds a degree in education and an M.E. in Science Education and also works for the Sitka Fine Arts Camp. She loves sharing the richness of Sitka with passengers. 



Sitka is nestled within the 17 million acre Tongass National Forest, the nation's largest forest and also the world's largest temperate coastal rainforest. Home to towering spruce, cedar, and hemlock trees, coastal brown bears, blacktail deer, and countless rivers and streams providing the spawning grounds for millions of salmon. Hike the Indian River trail to experience local ecosystems first hand in the company of local conservationists from the Sitka Conservation Society.  The trail follows Indian River through 75-150 year old second growth and old growth temperate rainforest and passes by a muskeg (bog) with breathtaking views of the 3 sisters mountains. Learn about the salmon life cycle and the nutrient cycling from ocean to forest as you view salmon fighting their way up river. Identify plants and tree species, listen for the call of the varied thrush, keep an eye out for evidence of old hand logging in the valley, and discuss ecological sustainability and land management.




Sitka Conservation Society has been working to protect the temperate rainforest of southeast Alaska and Sitka’s quality of life since 1967. SCS works to protect and manage the Tongass National Forest in a way that the world will be inspired by with the goals of both protecting the coastal temperate rainforest and developing economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable communities in Southeast Alaska. 


Sheldon Jackson Museum:

If there were a museum for museums, the Sheldon Jackson Museum would be part of the collection. As the oldest museum in Alaska, it is located in the first concrete building in the state which was constructed in 1895.  The Museum's collection has been called a jewel in the crown of Alaska ethnographic collections. The core of the collection comes from the Rev. Dr. Sheldon Jackson, a Presbyterian missionary who served as General Agent for Education in Alaska in the 1890s. He made annual trips to Alaska, traveling extensively throughout the region and collected nearly 5,000 items during his travels. While others were also collecting in Alaska and sending their items to noted museums, universities and societies around the world, Dr. Jackson was the only one who collected pieces for an Alaskan museum. 

The Museum's collection is noted for its breadth. Among its best-known pieces are totems, masks, baskets, and traditional clothing distinguished by beautiful ornamentation and fine sewing. The full-size kayaks are visitor favorites. Explore the fine collection of argillite carvings – the sculptures carved in the softly glowing black rock unique to the Queen Charlotte Islands of the Pacific coast. The small size of the Museum and its unusual octagonal structure create an intimate setting that invites visitors to take their time looking at the exhibits. Many of the smaller artifacts, from jewelry to traditional toys, are stored in glass-covered drawers, allowing visitors an unusually close view of dozens of items. Other cases hold traditional clothing and larger artifacts. Several totem poles are on exhibit.

3-Excursion Package: $155 + tax







The Uncommon Music Festival: Musicians in residence

july 29-august 4


The Uncommon Music Festival is dedicated to breaking the boundaries of standard concert repertoire with performances of early music, contemporary music, and under-performed repertoire from any age, bringing together young artists and curious audiences in an intimate setting. The Festival will present a series of solo and chamber concerts and opportunities to meet and talk with the artists. In keeping with their dedication to new music, the Festival is thrilled to present work by the winner of their composition competition, as well as a new commission by Alaskan composer Conrad Winslow. More information about the Festival can be found at


The Little Mermaid: Artists in Residence

 July 22-28


The Sitka Fine Arts Camp serves hundreds of Alaska's and the country's most talented young musicians, dancers, actors, writers, and visual artists. Each summer these students converge on the campus for intense instruction with some of the nation's best teaching artists. Our pre-professional musical theater program draws high school and college students from around the country to create and perform a full-scale broadway musical with live pit orchestra, professional costuming and splendid sets. Pre-professional artists are engaged as actors, vocalists, dancers, musicians in the pit orchestra, costumers, and technicians for sound, lights, and video production. 



Photos from our 2016 festival


Frequently Asked Questions

Who should attend the workshops?

You! This program is for people who want an authentic experience of southeast Alaska and are interested in the creative arts and natural world. You do not need a background in science or art to attend, just an open mind and a willingness to try new things or hone your skills in a particular area. Some of the workshops in the festival require walking and light hiking. If you have limited mobility, please contact us to discuss which workshop will be a good fit for you.

What should I bring?

  • Layered clothing for cool days and chilly nights
  • Warm clothes for sleeping (our dormitories are unheated)
  • Good rain gear (waterproof jacket and rain or hiking boots)
  • Hats (for sun and cold)
  • Sturdy shoes or hiking boots
  • Refillable water bottle or thermos
  • Sunscreen
  • Personal items: alarm clock, soap, shampoo and other toiletries, etc.
  • Small backpack or bag
  • Journal, personal art supplies, camera, and/or binoculars depending on how you would like to get the most out of festival experience and your free time

What will the weather be like?

Sitka can have rain for days on end or the sun can shine for an entire month straight, so be prepared for both extremes. Summer temperatures range from 40-80 degrees, with the average in the 50s.

Will I need to bring my own supplies?

Most supplies will be provided. Please see the supply list for your specific course. Photography courses will require students bring their own cameras. We recommend that you are familiar using your own camera before your photography workshop begins.

Is Sitka the wilderness? Will I be safe?

Sitka is a town of 9,000 situated on the outer coast of Baranof Island. While we are close to wilderness, Sitka is very safe. The campus sits next to Crescent Harbor,  and is a 5-10 minute walk from the center of town and the nearest grocery store.

Can I get a refund?

Registration cancelled by June 1, 2017, will be refunded the full amount, less the $75 deposit. Refunds will be not be granted after June 1, 2017.

What is included in the price?

Festival pricing is a menu of options based on the experiences that work best for you. Workshop tuition includes all scheduled workshop time. The Excursion package includes all 3 excursions: boat trip, hike, and museum visit. Housing and meal packages offer economical options for a stay on our campus. Meals can also be purchased independently at the door of the dining hall or as a week package, depending on which meals you'd like to attend. A Night of Jazz and Dance and The Little Mermaid are ticketed events. All other evening events are open to the public and festival guests at no charge. 

Are there scholarships available?

Yes. We have scholarships available for the Sitka Arts & Science Festival. Please contact Kenley at for more information.

Can I come for just part of the week?

No. Workshop curriculum is based on full participation so classes are designed to be attended all 5 days. 

If I am vegan/gluten-free/lactose intolerant will there be food for me?

Meals at the festival are served buffet style in the dining hall. Vegetarian and vegan options are available and there is a salad bar. Cooks are happy to accommodate most dietary restrictions, be sure to include any requests on your registration form. If you have extensive dietary needs, please reach out to us in advance.  

Can someone stay with me who is not participating in the festival?

Yes. Guests may be added to rooms in North Pacific Hall and eat in the dining hall for an additional fee. Contact our office to make arrangements for your guest.

More questions? Call the Sitka Fine Arts Camp office: 907-747-3085 or email


Our Campus

The Sitka Arts and Science Festival is located on the historic Sheldon Jackson Campus in the picturesque coastal community of Sitka, Alaska. Spectacular views of the surrounding ocean and mountains, as well as easy access to the nearby trails, provide an ideal setting for a relaxing and engaging experience. Dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, art studios, and the Hames Center, a gym and wellness center, are all located on site. Throughout the year, dozens of events and programs are hosted on campus. In addition to the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, the campus is home to the Hames Center, Sitka Sound Science Center, Sheldon Jackson Museum, and Sitka Summer Music Festival.


Sitka Fine Arts Camp provides clean and modest lodging options for an economical stay in Sitka. Housing is assigned on a first-come, first-served basis until housing is full. Housing check-in begins at noon on Saturday before your workshop and check out is by 10am on the Friday following your workshop. Smoking and pets are not permitted in any Sitka Fine Arts Camp housing.

Complimentary airport shuttles are provided for all guests staying on campus who arrive and depart on official program arrival and departure days.

If you prefer luxury accommodations, visit for lodging options or call (800) 557-4852

North Pacific Hall Dormitory

Built in 1911, North Pacific Hall is a two-story, co-ed dormitory that was originally home to students at the Sheldon Jackson School and later Sheldon Jackson College. The rooms have been lovingly restored by dedicated volunteers. There are 30 bedrooms, a lounge and library, and 2 shared, single-sex bathrooms on each floor along with coin-operated washers and dryers. Food is not allowed in the dormitory. Bedding and towels are provided for guests. Guest should plan on bringing their own toiletries and hairdryers. Phones are not available in the dormitory or rooms. Most cell phone providers have service in Sitka.


Dorm Room Options (dining hall meals included)

  • Option 1 (shared room) — $465 per week/guest: 2-­person shared room (single sex), 2 twin beds
  • Option 2 (private room, twin bed) — $630 per week/guest: 1-­person private room, 1 twin bed
  • Option 3 (private room, double bed) — $720 for 1 guest, $930 for 2 guests: 1 or 2 person private room, 1 double bed

Please Note: The City of Sitka has 6% sales tax and 6% bed tax meaning a combined total of 12% tax will be added to your housing invoice.


Freshly prepared meals are served in our campus dining hall. Both vegetarian and meat-­based options are available at each meal. We do our best to offer a variety of vegan, gluten free, and vegetarian options at meals, though we are unable to guarantee that all options will be present at all meals. We encourage those with specific dietary needs to call our office for more information (907-747-3085) or book off­-campus accommodations that have facilities where you can prepare your own meals. A full meal plan includes dinner on Saturday night, 3 meals a day Sunday through Thursday, and breakfast on Friday. Meals can also be purchased at the dining hall if a meal plan is not included as part of your registration package. We are not able to refund unused portions of meal plans.


Individual Meal prices

  • One breakfast – $12

  • One lunch – $12

  • One dinner – $15

  • Six breakfasts – $72

  • Five lunches – $60

  • Six dinners – $90

  • Full meal plan – $210


Please note that the dining hall menu items may contain allergens such as milk (dairy), eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat (gluten) and soybeans, and there may be a risk of contamination or cross-contact.


Week 1: Arrival is on July 22; departure is on July 28

Week 2: Arrival is on July 29; departure is on August 4

Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, and the Alaska Marine Highway are the primary modes of travel to and from Sitka. We recommend making airline or ferry reservations early as flights do up. Alaska Airlines offers a 5% discount. Use discount code ECMX462 for travel booked between July 16 and July 30 and ECMX463 for travel booked between July 28 and August 5.

Sitka Fine Arts Camp offers complimentary shuttle service to and from the Sitka airport or ferry terminal on all program arrival and departure dates for students who are booked for campus lodging. Shuttle service for additional guests on program arrival and departure days is $15. 

Special Requests

Our goal is to meet your needs. Let us know if you have physical limitations for walking, stairs, vision, etc.

Pets and service animals

Pets are not allowed at Sitka Fine Arts Camp. If you must bring your pet, please ask us about alternative lodging options. Sitka Fine Arts Camp complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Any student who plans to bring a service animal must notify the Sitka Fine Arts Camp Office (907-747-3085) at the time of registration, at which time we may ask if the service animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the service animal has been trained to do. A service animal must be under the handler’s control at all times, and the handler is expected to clean up after the service animal. If dorm housing is requested, a fee will be charged should there be any damage to the room. For more information, click here.








Schedule: week 1

Saturday july 22

  • Participant Arrival

  • 1 - 5pm Check In & Registration for participants staying on campus

  • Sitka Fine Arts Camp presents "A Night of Dance and Jazz," featuring the faculty of the summer Jazz Workshop and Dance Intensive along with students from the programs. 7pm at the Sitka Performing Arts Center. 

Featured faculty include Christian Fabian, leader of the Jazz Workshop and frequent recording artist and bass player with the Lionel Hampton Big Band; Tierney Sutton, grammy-nominated vocalist; Mike Longo, pianist for Dizzy Gillespie; dancer Danny Ryan, formerly with Kansas City Ballet and Wunderbound; and Adam McKinney, formerly with Alvin Ailey and Lines Ballet. Ryan and McKinney lead the Dance Intensive.

Part of what will make this evening special is its mix of professional and pre-professional performance in dance and music. "It is more important now than ever that people see the arc of the arts. When people see professionals perform they often forget their start as young people."

-Danny Ryan

The Sitka Fine Arts Campus is home to the nationally acclaimed Sitka Fine Arts Camp--Alaska's Fine Arts Camp. Each summer, hundreds of talented young musicians, dancers, actors, writers, and visual artists from Alaska and other states converge on the Campus for intense instruction with some of the nation's best teaching artists. Their learning experience culminates in performances and art shows. 

Special ticket price: $15 for festival students. General admission $20, Student/Senior admission $15. Special ticket price: $15 for festival students. Tickets available at registration, the office, and the ticket counter.

sunday july 23

  • 9:30-10:00 Registration for participants staying off campus, Sitka Fine Arts Camp Office, Rasmuson Building

  • 10-Noon Workshops

  • 1:30-4 Workshops

  • 7pm Festival Welcome & A Portrait a Day with Clark Mishler: Photography of Alaska, Odess Theater

monday july 24

  • 8:30-Noon Workshops
  • 1:30-4 Boat Trip Excursion
  • 7pm Growing up with Fish Wheels & Now Sewing with Fish Skin with Audrey Armstrong, Odess Theater

Tuesday july 25

  • 8:30-Noon Workshops
  • 2-4 Sheldon Jackson Museum Excursion
  • 7pm Halves of a Whole: Telling Stories with Words and Images with Ellen Weinstein, Odess Theater

wednesday july 26

  • 8:30-Noon Workshops
  • 1:30-4 Indian River Hike Excursion
  • 7pm Beyond the Green Wall: The Value if Seeing Plants in the Everyday with Kitty LaBounty, Odess Theater

thursday july 27

  • 8:30-Noon Workshops
  • 7pm Showcase of student work and Reception in Del Shirley Room upstairs of Odess Theater

Friday july 28

  • Week 1 Participant Departure and Week 2 Early Participant Arrivals

Schedule: week 2

Saturday July 29

  • Participant Arrival

  • 1-5pm Check In & Registration at Sweetland Hall for participants staying on campus

  • 2-4pm Uncommon Music Festival Open Rehearsal at Yaw Chapel

  • Sitka Fine Arts Camp presents "Live" Broadway's version of The Little Mermaid! 7pm at the Sitka Performing Arts Center. 

This year, our extraordinary students open the second week of the Festival with performance of Disney's The Little Mermaid. Starring students from Sitka Fine Arts Camp's pre-professional musical theater workshop, this performance is destined to sweep its audiences away. The musical theater program draws high school and college students from around the country, and over the course of the program they launch and perform a full-scale Broadway musical.

The Sitka Fine Arts Campus is home to the nationally acclaimed Sitka Fine Arts Camp--Alaska's Fine Arts Camp. Each summer, hundreds of talented young musicians, dancers, actors, writers, and visual artists from Alaska and other states converge on the Campus for intense instruction with some of the nation's best teaching artists. Their learning experience culminates in performances and art shows. 

Start the festival by venturing "Under the Sea!" Special ticket price: $15 for festival participants. General admission $20, Student/Senior admission $15. Tickets available at registration, the office, and the ticket counter.

Sunday july 30

  • 9:30-10:00 Registration for participants staying off campus, Sitka Fine Arts Camp Office, Rasmuson Building
  • 10-Noon Workshops
  • 1:30-4 Workshops
  • 4:30pm Reception in Sweetland Lobby
  • 7pm Festival Welcome & Art as a Form of Excavation with writer lê thi diem thúy

monday july 31

  • 8:30-Noon Workshops
  • 1:30-4 Boat Trip Excursion
  • 4:30-5:30pm Uncommon Music Festival Open Rehearsal at Yaw Chapel
  • 7pm Forgotten Voices: Natural Sounds & the Lost Art of Listening with Richard Nelson

Tuesday August 1

  • 8:30-Noon Workshops
  • 1:30-4 Indian River Hike Excursion
  • 4:30-5:30pm Uncommon Music Festival Open Rehearsal at Yaw Chapel
  • 7pm Uncommon Music Festival Concert at Odess Theater

Wednesday August 2

  • 8:30-Noon Workshops
  • 2-4pm Sheldon Jackson Museum Excursion
  • 4:30-5:30pm Demystifying Music with Nate Barnett at Yaw Chapel
  • 7pm Science & Stewardship of the Marine Environment with Shannon Atkinson

Thursday August 3

  • 8:30-Noon Workshops
  • 7pm Showcase of student work & Reception at the Sitka Sound Science Center

Friday August 4

  • Participant Departure



Ellen Weinstein_Naming All The Species.jpg


T: 907-747-3085 (Sitka Fine Arts Camp office)


M: P.O. Box 3086, Sitka, AK 99835

Please contact festival director Kenley Jackson with any questions. 

Register here


Build a festival package that best fits your interests:

  • Workshop Tuition: $445 + tax
  • Dorm Housing Options (Includes full meal plan):
    • Option 1 (shared room):  $465 per week/guest 2-­person shared room (single sex), 2 twin beds

    • Option 2 (private room, twin bed):  $630 per week/guest 1-­person private room, 1 twin bed

    • Option 3 (private room, double bed): $720 for 1 guest, $930 for 2 guests 1 or 2 person private room, 1 double bed

  • Excursion Package (includes boat trip, guided hike, and guided museum visit): $155 + tax
  • Dance & Jazz night tickets: $15*
  • The Little Mermaid tickets: $15*
  • All faculty lectures & performances and open studio visits are available to festival guests and the public at no charge.
  • Meals can be purchased individually at the dining hall or as a package by calling the office.

*Special rate for festival guests

Please Note: The City of Sitka has 6% sales tax and 6% bed tax meaning a 12% tax will be added to your housing package.


  1. REGISTER for workshops, excursions, housing & meals, beginning February 1, 2017. $75 non-refundable deposit required. Note: Exploring the World by Listening to Nature, People & Places is taking a waitlist. To get on the waitlist, follow the regular registration process. You will be asked to enter your credit card information but will not be charged unless we notify you that a spot is open and you accept.

  2. Pay your tuition balance by July 15, 2017

  3. Complete your travel form by July 15, 2017 (only required for guests staying in campus housing.) 

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE: Contact Kenley at to learn more.

Refund Policy: Registration cancelled by June 1, 2017, will be refunded the full amount, less the $75 non-refundable deposit. Refunds will be not be granted after June 1, 2017.