Back in 1973, it took just three months for a small group of students and faculty, who gave birth to the idea of a springtime cultural festival, to implement the Festival of Native Arts and make it an annual tradition. The initial goal was to express the artistic cultures of Alaska Natives and to create an event that would provide education and understanding through Native dance, music and art. Artists, patrons and coordinators all agreed the event was a huge success and so a tradition was born.Since its inception four decades ago, the festival has continued to grow and is now a three-day event with artists, musicians and groups from Alaska Native cultures as well as from Canada, Russia and Japan. All planning, coordinating and fundraising rest on the shoulders of UAF’s Native students who work tirelessly on the project in addition to their existing school-related workload. The incredible result is a testament to their dedication to promoting the celebration of Native Cultures.
The 2013 Festival of Native Arts is taking place Feb. 21-23, and features a schedule full of dance groups, drummers, fiddlers and story telling, in addition to artist displays. The theme for the 40th anniversary, Unity Through Cultures, embodies the spirit of this festival.
While there are plenty of opportunities to learn about Alaska’s individual cultures by traveling the state, not all of them offer the chance to experience all Native Cultures in one easy-to-reach location like the Festival of Native Arts. You’ll be amazed by all the fascinating traditions, colors and people you will see and meet.