Bunnell Street Arts Center is pleased to announce that the National Endowment for the Arts has approved Bunnell Street Arts Center for an Our Town grant in the amount of $50,000 to work in partnership with the Ninilchik Village Tribe and the City of Homer to support fabrication of Tuyanitun: Tuggeht, an Indigenous landmarking sculpture at Bishops Beach Beach Park in Homer. We look forward to working with the Arts Endowment to finalize the award paperwork and appreciate the agency’s support for this project. Tuyanitun: Tuggeht anchors future renovations to Bishops Beach Park the vision for which includes new restrooms, expanded parking, a fire pit and cohesive signage.
In 2020, The Ninilchik Traditional Council, the government of the Niqnalchint/Ninilchik Village Tribe, approved the concept for Tuyanitun: Tuggeht proposed by tribal member and artist, Argent Kvasnikoff. Next, Bunnell Street Arts Center brought the project to the City of Homer Parks, Art, Recreation and Culture Commission which approved and brought it to the City Council. With Resolution 20-079, the City of Homer approved and accepted the gift of Tuyanitun: Tuggeht, a sculpture for the Municipal Art Collection.
As a landmarking project, Tuyanitun: Tuggeht elevates the visibility of Indigenous ancestral lands. Homer is situated within the tribal lands of Nichiłt’ana. Nichiłt’ana is a contemporary geographical ethnonym for Ninilchik Village Tribe, whose descendants trace their roots from the ancient Kachemak peoples, and the Dena’ina and Sugpiaq people of this region who have sustained these lands since time immemorial. Tuggeht is the Dena’ina name for the place settlers have called Bishops Beach since the mid 1900’s. Tuggeht means “at the shore” in Dena’ina. Tuyanitun: Tuggeht represents a single point in the larger concept of place and navigation. Tuyanitun marks a wayfinding point referring to a traditional Dena’ina system of navigation embedded in the landscape based on five directions radiating from the Ninilchik Dome.
Our Town is the Arts Endowment’s creative placemaking grants program, supporting projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. Of the more than $88 million in funding included in this announcement are 63 Our Town projects totaling $4 million. These grants will support creative placemaking projects in 28 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Northern Mariana Islands. This year, a significant number of organizations submitted proposals with powerful visions for how arts, culture, and design can guide communities towards reconciliation and meaningful change. The Our Town portfolio is diverse in many respects. The common thread is their desire to establish new ways of working that sustain the integration of arts, culture, and design into strategies for strengthening communities.
With the City’s acceptance of Tuyanitun: Tuggeht as a municipal public art project, a working group formed, including the artist/designer, Argent Kvasnikoff, representatives and staff of the City of Homer, Islands and Ocean and Bunnell Street Arts Center. The working group began to meet last year to plan and discuss how the project would unfold. Tuyanitun: Tuggeht is currently in the modeling phase. Midton Acrylics in the United Kingdom will cast the sculpture, beginning with a small scale model to help raise awareness and community support. (Scale model pictured here) The project will be completed by 9/30/22. Bunnell will host a video-cast conversation about the sculpture with Argent Kvasnikoff and community partners on June 11, 2021.
Tuyanitun: Tuggeht design and artist fees and community engagement are supported by Bunnell Street Arts Center with support from the National Performance Network’s Artist Engagement Fund.