Sealaska Heritage arts campus gets largest private donation to date

Pictured: Sealaska Heritage Institute - Walter Soboleff Building.(Photo: Ken Graham, courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute)

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Rod Worl and Dawn Dinwoodie donate $25,000 toward Sealaska's planned arts campus

News Release

Sealaska Heritage Institute

An Anchorage couple has donated $25,000 toward Sealaska Heritage Institute’s (SHI) planned arts campus, which will be a public space for perpetuating and experiencing Alaska Native art.

The couple, Rod Worl and Dawn Dinwoodie, made the gift in part because the names of contributors will be engraved at the Sealaska Heritage Arts Campus as founding donors, which has personal meaning for them. 

“I believe that having our names placed together in a culturally significant venue is a way of renewing our marriage vows!” wrote Worl, who is the son of Sealaska Heritage Institute President Rosita Worl. “Dawn and I have teased each other about my viewpoint on this for years. However, we both agree it is a great way to support a very good cause.” 

Pictured: Sealaska Heritage Insitute donors Dawn Dinwoodie and  Rod Worl.
Pictured: Sealaska Heritage Insitute donors Dawn Dinwoodie and Rod Worl.(Photo: Sealaska Heritage Institute)

Worl and Dinwoodie also donated $25,000 toward construction of Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Walter Soboleff Building, which opened in 2015 and was phase one of the institute’s vision to make Juneau the Northwest Coast arts capital and to designate Northwest Coast arts a national treasure. The arts campus is phase two. 

With this week’s donation, Sealaska Heritage Institute has raised or secured commitments of $10, 267,465 for the $12,750,000 million project since 2019, or 81% of the total needed to bring the campus to fruition. Sealaska Heritage Institute hopes to break ground this year during Celebration 2020, scheduled June 10-13. The donation from Worl and Dinwoodie is one of nearly 700 received from individual donors to date that are dedicated to the project. The names of donors who give $25 or more will be permanently recognized at the campus. 

Worl and Dinwoodie are long-time donors to Sealaska Heritage Institute. They regularly contribute to the institute’s biennial dance-and-culture festival, Celebration. They also support Sealaska Heritage Institute’s athletic programming through donations and in-kind services.

About Sealaska Heritage Institute

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. Sealaska Heritage Institute also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.

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