The Evergreen State College will add to its Indigenous Arts Campus with the opening of a new 2,000-square-foot carving studio.
Mario Caro, curator and program coordinator for the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center, said that on the Indigenous Art Campus, he and the other staff and faculty do what they can to bolster and facilitate indigenous art forms.
“We try to support native artists with space to do their art, grants and classes about their art,” he said.
Other than this new construction, existing buildings on the Indigenous Arts Campus include the Longhouse, the fiber arts studio and the old carving studio. Also, a cast-glass studio will be coming in the next few years.
The new carving studio will have its official opening at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 13, on Evergreen’s Indigenous Arts Campus. This free, public celebration will include Maori visual and performing artists from Aotearoa/New Zealand — Henare and Tawera Tahuri.
Laura VerMeulen, assistant director of the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center said that the original carving studio was much smaller than the new one. So now, the old carving studio will become a design center for artists, a clean space without sawdust. Caro agreed, saying now the Indigenous Arts Campus can work on larger projects.
“In the new studio we will be able to work on larger projects live the canoe,” Caro said. “Our first carving project will be a dug-out canoe.”
Tina Kuckkahn-Miller, vice president of Indigenous Arts and Education at Evergreen, said that there is a very practical reason for upgrading to a 2,000 square-foot studio from one that sported just 800-square-feet.
“The 800 square foot carving studio that we built in 2012 allowed us to provide residencies at a scale and number that we had never had the capacity to provide,” Kuckkahn-Miller said in a press release. “However, the limited square footage allowed for only one large-scale project at a time, or up to ten students working on small projects. The increased scale and square footage of the new carving studio will allow us to not only continue to serve tribal artists throughout the Pacific Rim, but also to offer classroom instruction at Evergreen’s 25:1 student-to-faculty ratio.”
The new carving studio will also be equipped to handle any and all wood byproducts, with an incorporated dust collection system insuring that artists will be able to breathe clean air while they work.
Caro said these new developments to the Indigenous Arts Campus is one step in the right direction for establishing a Master of Fine Arts Program on the Indigenous Arts Campus.
“It’s an exciting situation,” he said. “There is nothing like the Indigenous Arts Campus anywhere on the scale that we are producing. It’s wonderful.”
According to the press release, the idea here is to expand the capacity of the Indigenous Arts Campus to further create a creative nexus in the region.