Art Beat: Irish dancers join Celebration; new art at Fire Station 3

The biennial Juneau festival known simply as Celebration is underway. Southeast Alaska art, language, culture, food, etc. are part of the big event — so big that it's crowded the Legislature out of the capital for a week. Six thousand people are in town for the four-day fete, including 2,000 dancers in 50 dance groups from around Alaska, Canada and the Lower 48.

Most of those groups are Native American, but the O'Shea-Rhyan Irish Dancers are a Celtic troupe from Australia, who perform twice on Friday. While Celebration was started in 1982 with the intent of sharing Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures with the general public, Sealaska Heritage Institute President Rosita Worl said, that goal involves "sharing other cultures as well."

And so the program includes a performance by the Juneau Symphony at Marine Park and a concert by Tsimshian jazz piano musician Chantil Dukar at the Clan House.

More familiar highlights will be back: the Juried Art Show and Competition, seaweed and soapberry contests, films, lectures, language sessions, Northwest Coast Art Market and Toddler Regalia Review. New this year are a Juried Youth Art Exhibit, a Native Fashion Show and the first ever Ravenstail and Chilkat weaving presentation and class, featuring several of the best-known weavers in Alaska.

Firehouse gets a mural

Anchorage artist Kevin G. Smith will install a percent for art mural at the new Fire Station 3 in Mountain View on Saturday. The 38-foot-long mural is composed of 137 historic and recent photographs showing firefighters associated with the station in both posed scenes and in action.

Alaska-made video goes online

"Shade," an Alaska-made short film (like 2 minutes and 21 seconds short) featuring Ron Holmstrom and Jill Bess will be released on Vimeo on June 10. The film has been or is scheduled to be shown at festivals in California, Washington, Italy and elsewhere. It was most recently screened at the Machetanz Festival at Mat-Su College. The link is