The JKCHC building design by The Portico Group. (JKCHC website)

The JKCHC building design by The Portico Group. (JKCHC website)

Klukwan’s Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center will commission six new artworks for its central exhibit using a recent grant from a New York-based foundation.

The Surdna Foundation awarded the heritage center a $107,000 Artists Engaged in Social Change grant. The heritage center was one of 15 projects selected out of more than 1,000 applications, according to the foundation.

Lani Hotch is the lead artist on the project. She says the money will pay for six new works of art incorporated into the center’s foundational ‘Cultural Landscape’ exhibit. The exhibit will have a map showing Klukwan’s ancestral territory, which Hotch says extended from around Three Guardsmen Mountain to Berners Bay – from mountaintop to mountaintop.

“The ancestors used to say those were our fence posts, those mountain tops,” Hotch said.

She says the six artworks could complement the map. For example, one idea she has is for an artist to recreate a trekking outfit of a Chilkat man on a trading route.

Hotch plans to do a weaving as part of the grant. She says after weaving a few river robes, she’d like to do create one that focuses on the Lynn Canal.

“And now I think I’d like to do one with kind of a saltwater, you know, the ocean, the Lynn Canal.”

Aside from Hotch herself, the other artists and artworks are not yet decided. Hotch says it will likely be a mix of local and non-local artists.

And she says, without this grant, they wouldn’t have been able to commission these six new art pieces at all.

“I don’t think we would’ve been able to include this. I mean, we’re really grateful that they funded us so that we could do that.”

Hotch hopes to have the art installations completed and placed in the exhibit by next spring.

The other Surdna Foundation Artists Engaged in Social Change grants are going to everything from a Los Angeles-based documentary on immigration to a storytelling performance about post-Katrina New Orleans.

According to its website, the foundation is focused on fostering sustainable communities guided by the principles of social justice.