2018 Workshops

Choose 1 workshop for the week. Workshops run Sunday, July 29 - Thursday, August 2.



Instructor: Kathy Hocker

The intersection of science and art is a place that fosters mindfulness, observation, connection and creativity. A nature/science sketchbook is a passport into this rich space. In this workshop, we'll go sketchbook-in-hand into the diverse living landscape of Southeast Alaska, exploring shape and form, structure and function, connections and patterns. The workshop is appropriate for "curious naturalists" and artists of any skill level. You'll learn and practice observation and drawing techniques to strengthen your sketching skills and grow your confidence. Leave the workshop ready to continue the field sketching journey in your own home landscape. 

Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 9.26.31 AM.png

NORTHwest coast formline design

Instructor: Abel Ryan

The Indigenous Northwest Coast art form of formline design is created by a connected pattern of painted positive space. The characteristic shapes and  lines alter their thickness which introduces tension and release and gives the art form a calligraphic quality. In this survey course, study the basic elements of formline design and how they join together to create simple or complex imagery. Begin to understand the balance and flow of how formline design connects communities and how humans connect to the natural world. Explore Sitka National Historic Park with an artist as your guide to view totem poles and experience local history. Discuss how the art form was used in the past and visit artist studios to encounter how it is created and relevant today. The workshop emphasizes discovering the artwork in present and historical contexts though participants will also have the opportunity to synthesize what they learn by creating their own design. 


breaking through, scientists & writers collaborate: john steinbeck, ed ricketts, jack calvin, joseph campbell & robinson jeffers

Instructor: Susan Shillinglaw

West coast invertebrates entranced Ed Ricketts, marine biologist, who opened a marine biological supply lab in Monterey, CA in 1923, the first on the West coast. His life's dream was to catalogue invertebrates from Baja to the outer shores of Canada--extending to Sitka as well. His close friend John Steinbeck shared this vision of ecological holism, as did Carmel/Sitka biologist and writer Jack Calvin, co-author of Rickett's 1939 seminal text, Between Pacific Tides. The creative synergy among artists, writers, scientists and--in 1932--mythologist Joseph Campbell and poet Robinson Jeffers--was exceptional: a west coast salon that modeled the possible synergy of artistic and scientific connections. The exceptional inquiries of these men resulted in publications that changed the way we define ecology, social engagement, and heroic narratives.

Uncover the biographical and historical connections among these writers and scientists as they come to life on the pacific coast where their theories and connections were forged. Dive into selections from Between Pacific Tides, The Grapes of Wrath, and Cannery Row to expose the ecological vision of Steinbeck, Ricketts & Calvin. Explore the intertidal zone with expert scientists, and meet the creatures and communities who live between pacific tides. Consider Ricketts's Sitka-inspired essay "Wave Shock," drafted after his 1932 trip to Sitka with Campbell. Meet locals with connections to Ricketts & Calvin and hear stories about how the men still shape the world today. 



Fire and ice: how climate change & tectonics influence the landforms & seascapes of Sitka: Past, present & future

Instructor: Rob Dunbar

Study the powerful forces that have created and sculpted the young and rough landscape of Baranof Island and Sitka Sound. Discover the secrets of its origins by visiting the river valleys and mountains on workshop field trips. Learn about the last great ice age, mighty volcanoes, and the tectonic forces that brought exotic terrains from all over the Pacific to Southeast Alaska. Understand the range of trajectories for the decades ahead as man-induced climate change becomes a stronger force than that of nature alone. We'll also explore the interaction of people and place--how the local environment and geography influence human activities and values on Baranof Island. Besides a focus on science, participants will also use drawing, painting, and photography to deepen their observational skills and gain a better understanding of how Sitka came to look as it does today and how it may look in the future. 

Note: There is a waiting list for this workshop. Email office(at)fineartscamp.org to be added to the waiting list.


The art of photography

Instructor: Betty Sederquist

Photography is more than the click of a camera shutter. Explore the many possibilities of the medium using beautiful Sitka as your subject. Experiment with techniques for making your photos look like paintings using Adobe Photoshop. Learn how to truly SEE and transform a simple snapshot into something magical. We'll spend time learning nuts and bolts, like the rules for great photo compositions. We'll also breakdown the sometimes bewildering complexities of Photoshop in a friendly way with minimal jargon. By the end of the workshop, you will see the world in a different way.

Any ability level is welcome. Almost any digital camera will do as long as it changes shutter speeds and apertures. Familiarize yourself with these settings before you arrive. Ideally your camera should support Camera RAW (Adobe Camera Raw or ACR) files, but we can work around this, if needed. For some work, you'll be using a short zoom lens (24-70, for example) or normal (50mm) lens. When we visit the Alaska Raptor Center and Fortress of the Bears, you'll want a telephoto lens, 300mm or longer. Bring plenty of storage cards, a card reader, camera manual (if you have it), batteries, and chargers. A tripod is useful but not essential. We'll have access to a computer lab with Photoshop. Bring your own laptop with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements if you prefer using your own device. (We will not be using Lightroom because the techniques for photo art require using layers, which Lightroom does not support.) When you sign up, send Betty an email with your ability level so she can tailor the workshop accordingly. Contact Betty with any questions at betty@sederquist.com. 

Workshop tuition: $600 + tax and includes all scheduled workshop time (full day Sunday + mornings Monday-Thursday), access to the evening lecture series and receptions, and lunch on Sunday. Afternoon excursions are optional. A detailed schedule is available here.


2018 Excursions



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. 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 Starrigavan Trail to experience 3 local ecosystems first hand. The trail gently climbs through a typical southeast Alaskan forest to reach a scenic muskeg (bog), dotted with small ponds and stunted lodgepole pines. After descending gradually back into the forest, cross the Starrigavan River by foot bridge and catch a glimpse at spawning salmon. The river flows into an estuary and the boardwalk continues to a bird viewing platform at the end of the hike. Enjoy musical interludes along the hike, performed by the extraordinary musicians of the Uncommon Music Festival. Terrain: Gravel trail & boardwalk, Distance: 1 mile, Elevation Gain: 150 feet.



Venture from the Sitka Sound Science Center along Crescent Harbor, through downtown to a seafood processing plant. Along the way, learn the difference in fishing techniques between gillnetters, seiners, and trollers, hear the political and social issues each gear group faces and their attitudes about fisheries conservation, the business of fishing, and local seafood. The walk culminates in a tour of a seafood processing plant with the opportunity to sample smoked salmon & purchase seafood to ship home to friends and family.

3-Excursion Package: $155 + tax



Artists Tryptich.jpg


The festival kicks off with an unforgetable performance by talented and passionate young performers. Each summer, the Sitka Fine Arts Camp serves hundreds of Alaska’s and the country’s most talented young musicians, dancers, actors, writers, and visual artists. 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. Students are engaged as actors, vocalists, dancers, musicians in the pit orchestra, costumers, and technicians for sound, lights, and video production.  Leave inspired by the energy of youth!

Legally Blonde the Musical: One woman, battling personal demons and societal stigmas, proves against all odds that you can’t always judge a book by its cover, in this comical and witty tale of life for a sorority girl at Harvard Law School. Legally Blonde the Musical is a playful, upbeat look at a woman on her path to self discovery, where “being true to yourself never goes out of style.”

“[A] high-energy... hymn to the glories of girlishness.”– The New York Times



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. Each night, musicians will present solo and chamber pieces featuring vocalists, guitar and piano. Afternoon open rehearsals are a great time to listen and learn more about the music-making process as well as ask questions. In keeping with their dedication to new music, musicians will perform the work by the winner of their composition competition, as well as a new commission by Alaskan composer Conrad Winslow.  More information can be found at www.uncommonmusicfest.org.


“I’m deeply grateful for the Sitka Fine Arts Camp’s wonderfully meaty Arts and Science Festival. I participated both of the first two years, drawn by the conjunction of arts and science.  Year one, I never imagined being able to create a salmon skin basket in the five short days, with Athabaskan elder Audrey Armstrong’s careful guidance in her fish skin sewing workshop. Year two I was in more familiar territory with a writing workshop, but under the direction of thúy lë, a particularly insightful teacher, I found myself creating work that had been out of reach and now was not. And while the workshops were the heart of the Festival for me, the evening faculty talks offered more fresh perspectives that broadened and deepened the whole experience. Not to mention the stunningly beautiful setting that Sitka, Alaska offers and the opportunities to surround myself with that wild country. I came away feeling vibrantly alive and awake and curious, refreshed and grateful. I would attend again in a heartbeat.”
-Carolyn Servid