Not far from the Friday Harbor ferry landing on San Juan Island you’ll encounter a gallery filled with some of the most intriguing quality Native art outside of museums. The collection of Arctic Raven Gallery includes Northwest Coast Indian masks, jewelry, wood carvings and prints. The art represents local peoples including the Coast Salish, Kwaguilth, and Makah nations as well as the more northern Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian.
While the day trip from Anacortes, we stopped in to Arctic Raven and realized we were in a special place with amazing collections. In one corner was the stunning “Multiple Raven” by Jason Hunt, a mask-headpiece with intricate carving that brought the layered ravens to life. I was drawn to Greg Henderson’s (Weiwaikum) colorful “Box of Treasures,” a yellow cedar box with a serious eagle perched on top.
If you have traveled in Alaska, British Columbia or the Pacific Northwest, you may have had the opportunity to visit Native cultural centers or museums to see the native art of the local people. If you ever have the chance to see a ceremony such as a pole raising or a social dance in full regalia, you will begin to understand and recognize the symbolism depicted in pieces such as found in this gallery. The symbols are part of the culture and heritage of the Northwest. You’ll find the staff at the gallery knowledgeable and well-connected to the Native artists.
I suggest that visitors stop in to see the collections at the Arctic Raven Gallery. They have sterling jewelry, more inexpensive items suitable for souvenirs and two stories of amazing Northwest coast Native art. You might just be enticed to start your own collection.