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Yup’ik Mask, Drum Making & Dance

The Yup’ik Inuit of the Sub Arctic of Western Alaska have developed their arts in a course of millenias or what we prefer as “Since Human Memory”. In this class, we will quickly do a brief intro to mask, drum, and dance, and the connection to each other. “Nunarpiim Qainganek Taillruunga” (I come from this big land/world) will be the theme song to celebrate our respective Ancestries through song, dance, and mask. The class will use the Traditional Yup’ik Worldview infused into Dance/Song/Mask design style as the foundation to build the mask(s), infused with traditional Yup’ik Symbols and their respective Ancestral Root Designs

Mask Making:
Each student will be encouraged to ‘infuse’ their ancestry in a respectful and simplified representational symbol/form on paper, and then begin the sculpting process on a wood blank, sand, and then paint.

Drum Making:
Each student will learn how the drum(s) are put together for a functional drum, and will be used during the showcase.

Dance Movement Class:
Each student will learn the basics of drumming, singing, and movement with a song to tie in the other two sections, with a story about who they are. “Nunarpiim Qainganek Taillruunga” (Noo-nah-RR-beam Qay-NGah-nek Die-LL-RR-ooh-NGah, Yup’ik) I come from this surface of this world/big land. This will be the song/dance (that the instructor composed) will be the theme to tie in the other two sections: mask making and drum making.

  • Padded seat cushion for comfort
  • Clip on lamp for extra lighting
  • Reading glasses if necessary for fine work

Aassanaaq “Ossie” Kairaiuak is a gifted Yup’ik artist from Chefornak, Alaska whose traditional upbringing by practicing his ancestors’ beliefs and speaking his native language have gifted him with a particular worldview and a commitment to keep his culture alive through the Arts.

“My parents inspired me through stories of my ancestry, of great hunters whom I aspired to become one day and how they themselves served as living examples of those traditional values they taught us. I admire them for they were the last to have been raised in the Old Yup’ik Way. When given an opportunity I use my hands, my (Yup’ik) Voice, or express what I am inspired by either way, and I feel very much alive when I am able to accomplish such a task. I try to harness those old beliefs with stories surrounding them, in a medium best suited to be expressed in; then I try to weave those in, largely through gut instinct and through a thought process.”

Ossie makes Drums, masks and ivory carvings, traditional songs for individuals. Ossie has also written short plays (& composed scores for them). He is founder of a traditional Yup’ik Dance Group Acilquq and a member of an internationally known tribal funk group Pamyua.

Having said of such diverse talents (& collaborated with other artists), Ossie has an exciting positive outlook of how his Yup’ik Culture can fit in and add to a richer thought process that is as old as this Traditional Yup’ik Belief/Proverb Nutmllaq: How the Natural World dictates how we act, think, feel, and express it by continuing to actively engaging in it.

Native American & Inland Empire Teacher Scholarships 

We recently made some changes to our scholarship application process.

Generous donors have made scholarships and fellowships for adult workshops available on a limited basis for these specific groups:

  1. Native American Community Leaders, Artists, Members, and Teachers
  2. Inland Empire Teachers, Professors, and Graduate Students

Scholarships include tuition, lab fee, dorm housing, and all meals provided by the campus dining service. We believe in allowing everyone a chance to experience the transformative power of art at Idyllwild Arts. In order to reach as many as possible with this opportunity we are happy to extend each applicant one scholarship. These scholarships are designed to provide access to arts based educational opportunities that will advance your personal and professional development as well as the Indigenous community(ies) you come from. You are responsible for paying the $50 application fee and transportation to and from campus. A short essay (200 to 750 words) expressing how this opportunity will benefit you and your community is required, we want to hear from you! We also ask that you provide screenshots of your last two W2s so that the scholarship committee can identify financial need and assess the scholarship amount to be offered. We are pleased to offer scholarships in two categories.

  • Full Scholarship: students receive meals, housing, and tuition and lab fee (room and board if applicable).
  • Half Scholarship: students receive approximately half off their tuition (room and board if applicable)

For more detailed information and a Scholarship FAQ please read Adult Scholarships FAQs.

Scholarship Details: 

  1. Native American Community Members, Leaders, Artists, and Teachers
    For adults 19 and older with current tribal affiliation, the scholarship brings community leaders, artists, members, and teachers to workshops at Idyllwild Arts to benefit both the scholarship recipients themselves and those in their schools or tribal communities. Applicants who demonstrate financial need may receive priority. We also offer scholarships for Native American Teens for both the Summer Program and the Academy.
  2. Inland Empire Teachers, Professors, and Graduate Students
    For teachers and graduate students from the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino Counties and the adjacent areas), this scholarship brings teachers and graduate students to Idyllwild Arts to attend Native American Arts workshops. The Native American Arts Workshops benefit both recipients and their students and communities, providing culturally appropriate instruction and professional development to teachers and graduate students. Applicants with financial needs may receive priority. These scholarships are made possible through the generous support of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians.

Click here for more information about adult scholarships.

Age: 19 years and above

Dates: June 26-30, 2023

Tuition, room, and board: $1,719

Day student tuition: $840

Lab Fee: $65

Skill Level: All levels

Enrollment is limited to 14 students.

Faculty: Aassanaaq “Ossie” Kairaiuak

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