NEA awards $10,000 grant for S'Klallam welcome poles

A S'Klallam welcome figure, holding a clam and a clam basket, tops a pole outside the S'Klallam longhouse in Little Boston. Two new welcome poles are planned — one at Heronswood, the other at Point Julia.
— image credit: Quinn Brein

LITTLE BOSTON — The Port Gamble S’Klallam Foundation has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for the creation and installation of welcome poles at Heronswood Garden and Point Julia.

The foundation is one of 895 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant in this cycle.

One welcome pole will be placed at the entrance of Heronswood Garden, the renowned botanical garden in Kingston owned by the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.

The other welcome pole is being planned for Point Julia, which was the site of the Tribe’s first village after being relocated across Port Gamble Bay.

“We would like to thank the National Endowment for the Arts for their generous gift,” said Laurie Mattson, director, Port Gamble S’Klallam Foundation. “Totem poles are a tremendously important piece of the Port Gamble S’Klallam’s history and culture. They serve as not only art pieces, but each pole tells a story.”

The pole designs and artists for both pieces have already been chosen; both artists are Port Gamble S’Klallam members. The 12-foot pole for Heronswood Garden is being designed and carved by Brian Perry. It will feature a heron and a frog, much like that from the garden’s logo, which comes from a piece of original art donated to the Tribe by Robert Jones, one of Heronswood Garden’s founders. This welcome pole will be the first piece of S'Klallam art to be installed at Heronswood Garden since the Tribe took ownership in 2012.

The Point Julia welcome pole will measure 15 feet tall, feature sea creatures and be topped by a S’Klallam person wearing a cedar hat. Artist Jimmy Price is designing the pole to act as a symbolic blessing and welcoming for Native fishers as well as providing a welcome to the Native community and visitors during the annual Canoe Journey and other cultural events.

The cedar for both poles, donated by the Tribe, is being milled now. Once this process and the final designs are complete, it will take about a year to carve each pole.

Other funders for the welcome pole project are the Port Gamble S’Klallam Community Awards grants, The Potlatch Fund, and an anonymous donation in honor of Heronswood founders Robert Jones and Daniel Hinkley.

Funds are still be raised for the projects. If you’re interested in donating, contact the Port Gamble S’Klallam Foundation office at 360-297-9623.

The Port Gamble S'Klallam Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization rechartered from the Klallam Development Fund in 2002 to benefit the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, its members, and its mission. The foundation works to improve the quality of life for tribal members while increasing the understanding of the Tribe's rich cultural heritage with people residing in Kitsap County, the Puget Sound area, and beyond.


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