Greater Sitka Arts Council to host annual Fall Art Walk on Friday, Nov. 29

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The Greater Sitka Arts Council will host its annual Fall Art Walk from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29, at several businesses in downtown Sitka.

Lincoln Street will be closed to traffic for this event, and there will be some events in the street by the New Archangel Dancers and from the Nutcracker by Sitka Studio of Dance.

The free art walk will give people a chance to see new art work, visit with your neighbors, and maybe get an early gift idea for the holidays. Friday, Nov. 29, is a sales tax holiday in Sitka, so you won’t have to pay tax on any art you buy.

Here are highlights from some of the participating businesses:

  • SITKA ROSE GALLERY, 419 LINCOLN ST. — Artwork from all over Alaska.
  • GREATER SITKA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE / VISIT SITKA, 104 LAKE ST. — Sign up for your Greater Sitka Arts Council annual membership and get a free mug. Music by David Nichols. Membership drive sponsored by Northrim Bank.
  • CABIN FEVER GALLERY AND GIFTS, 321 LINCOLN ST. — Featuring artwork by local artists.
  • ARTIST COVE GALLERY, 241 LINCOLN ST. — Featuring the artwork of Mark Sixbey.
  • ALASKA PURE SEA SALT, 239 LINCOLN ST. — With Sweet Sister Caramels. New holiday flavors and delicious gifts.
  • ABBY’S REFLECTION APPAREL & QUILTWORKS, 231 LINCOLN ST. — A guide of supplies from A to Z.
  • SITKA LUTHERAN CHURCH, 224 LINCOLN ST. — Photography by Sandra Rudd.
  • ISLAND ARTISTS GALLERY, 205 LINCOLN ST. — Norm Campbell will do calligraphy during Art Walk. Also with new works from a multitude of local artists, including Route 66 photography by Janet Berlin, watercolors from Newfoundland by Pat Kehoe, pottery from Auriella Hughes, silver bracelets from Sarah Winfield, hand-painted purses and bags by Amy Sweeney, ammonite jewelry from Liz Faulkner, evocative imaginary landscapes by Norm Campbell, basket-weave-illusion wooden bowls by Jim Kirkness, beaded jewelry by Cass Pook, acrylic paintings from David Gross, painted drums and beaded jewelry from Helen Mercado, moccasins and beaded works from Linda Janecek, Sitka photographs by Roberta White, lightcatchers by Barb Bingham, wildlife photography from Dan Kilkeary, stained glass pieces by Kate Cluff, dichroic glass jewelry by Catherine Weaver, cast silver jewelry by Doug Dabrowski, handmade rare jewels and accessories by Amelia Mosher, macramé jewelry and artworks by Cayla Pook, metal works by Marcus Lee, paintings by Frances Braun, prints from Steve Lawrie and Nora Skeele, jewelry by Joella and Cloe Turner, fish prints by Jerry Wright, whimsical works from Jan Steinbright, hand-painted silk scarves by Lori Lang, and colorful hats and stickers from Raven Shaw. Appetizers and libations also available.
  • GALANIN + KLEIN, 203 LINCOLN ST. — Featuring fine-crafted knives by artist Adam Fondel and silver carver Jerrod Galanin.
  • SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY, 201 LINCOLN ST., SUITE NO. 4 (UPSTAIRS, ABOVE OLD HARBOR BOOKS) — Featuring the photography haiku of Lione Clare.
  • OLD HARBOR BOOKS, 201 LINCOLN ST. — Paintings by James Poulson and music by Bellymeat.
  • GALLERY BY THE SEA (FORMERLY ROBERTSON’S ART GALLERY AND CUSTOM FRAMING), 128 LINCOLN ST. — Live jazz music by Stephanie Patton.
  • SITKA HOTEL, RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE, 118 LINCOLN ST. — Music by Summerfall.
  • 57 PEAKS, 102 LINCOLN ST. — Watercolors by Dixie Peterson.
  • BEAK RESTAURANT AND KCAW-RAVEN RADIO, 2 LINCOLN ST. — Uilleann bagpipes by John Ingman, beaded jewelry by Haley Angus, nature photography by Matt Goff. The KCAW-Raven Radio Retail Shop will be open.

More galleries and artists may be added later. For more information, contact thinkartthinksitka@gmail.com.

New wayfinding signs find their way onto Sitka streets and alleys

The new wayfinding kiosk near the tour bus stop on the side of Harrigan Centennial Hall.

Kiosk looking toward Crescent HarborOver the last couple of weeks, Sitka residents and visitors have seen 41 new wayfinding signs pop up on Sitka streets, as well as a new information kiosk just outside Harrigan Centennial Hall. These are part of a lengthy project by Visit Sitka, the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce, and the City and Borough of Sitka to update the wayfinding signs in Sitka.

The new signs use estimated walking times instead of distances to show how far away key landmarks are (using about 10 minutes to represent a half-mile, or slightly less than a kilometer). The use of times instead of distances not only encourages walking, but it also is less confusing to foreign tourists used to the metric system. The designs also include Tlingít formline elements, to honor our local Alaska Native culture.

“The Sitka Wayfinding System was installed in September 2018 (and into October),” said Rachel Roy, executive director of the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and Visit Sitka. “This comprehensive and unified directional sign system was customized for our community. Funded with the Commercial Passenger Excise Tax (CPET, or cruise tax) funds, the City of Sitka and a planning committee of tourism industry representatives worked with Great Destinations Strategies to develop a new brand identity for Sitka, and Axia Creative for the sign design and locations.”

A new wayfinding sign in front of Wells Fargo bank, at the corner of Lincoln and Maksoutoff streets, with an old wayfinding sign above.

The project cost just over $300,000 between the branding design and sign costs, Roy said. The branding project started in 2013, and the wayfinding project launched in 2015, with several delays. But the origins of the project can be found all the way back in 1996 in the Gateway tourism plan. The new wayfinding signs will replace the blue signs around town that were installed in 2015 and meant to only be temporary for a year or two.

“The Sitka Wayfinding System serves as a welcome and orientation for visitors, provides a unified image that reflects our community’s character and history, provides a sense of place, a ‘seamless’ experience and a guide to Sitka’s major attractions,” Roy said. “The signs offer visitors access to VisitSitka.org, Sitka’s official visitor website and encourages use of #visitsitka on social media. We are proud to see the signs being used by visitors throughout the community and this further development of our community’s visitor industry infrastructure.”

According to a map sent by City and Borough of Sitka project manager Kelli Cropper, there were 41 wayfinding signs and the one kiosk installed as part of this phase of the project. The majority of the wayfinding signs are on Lincoln Street, but there are a few off Sawmill Creek Road and one on Kaagwaantaan and Barracks streets, plus a few along the Sitka Sea Walk toward the Sitka National Historical Park.

A map showing the locations of the 41 wayfinding signs and new kiosk.

Cropper said there are options to purchase two more kiosks at later dates, with one going underneath the O’Connell Bridge by the lightering dock after the second phase of the Sitka Sea Walk is completed and the other possibly going up on Lincoln Street after that street is upgraded in the next year or two. At this time there are no wayfinding signs on Katlian Street, and any there would have to come during a future phase of the project.

A slideshow showing some of the new wayfinding signs and both sides of the kiosk is posted below.

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New downtown wayfinding signs coming to Sitka in late summer or early fall

Visitors to Sitka will find it easier to get around downtown when new wayfinding signs are posted in late summer or early fall.

This project is part of the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and Visit Sitka‘s new branding campaign, which will give the wayfinding signs a uniform look that matches other promotional items used by the groups (such as the visitor’s guide, ads and website).

“The Sitka Wayfinding plan is a comprehensive and unified directional sign system customized specifically for the Sitka community,” said Rachel Roy, executive director of Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and Visit Sitka. “The plan will help visitors and residents access the walkable downtown and nearby attractions by providing walking times and directions between locations as well as reflecting our community’s character and history.”

The current wayfinding signs were temporary signs posted in the summer of 2013 that were a bit cluttered and confusing. They also didn’t include estimated walking times, which can encourage people to walk to destinations. The new signs are using walking times over distances, since most foreign visitors aren’t familiar with miles/yards and most Americans are unfamiliar with kilometers/meters. The branding and wayfinding project started in 2014, but was delayed in 2015 when the then-Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau (now Visit Sitka) was combined with the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce.

In the Sitka Brand Blueprint released in 2016 by Great Destination Strategies LLC, this is why wayfinding signage is important in the visitor industry. “Pedestrian Signage and Wayfinding: Signage systems serve vital roles. They inform, guide, and motivate travelers. They are also important in shaping the identity of a place through their style, design, colors, lettering, content and placement. Good signage can contribute significantly toward the satisfaction of visitors. The current wayfinding program will contribute significantly to the presentation of Sitka. Signs play an important role in encouraging people to spend money by effectively guiding them to desired locations.”

More information about the branding campaign can be found in the documents below.

• Sitka Brand Guideline 2016.09

• Sitka Brand Blueprint Manual 2016.09

• Sitka Wayfinding Project Dec. 13.2016 Assembly Presentation

• Sitka Wayfinding for Assembly Presentation