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In Yup’ik culture, “Cama-i!” is a welcome greeting often accompanied by a handshake. It’s also the spirit behind the annual Cama-i Dance Festival, a three-day event held in Bethel and sponsored by the Southwest Alaska Arts Group. Visit www.swaagak.org for this year’s detailed schedule. The longstanding festival features Yup’ik dance, arts, crafts, seminars, a qaspeq fashion show, and public honors for local culture bearers. It has attracted 4,000 people and 20 Alaskan and international dance groups. This year’s theme is Yuraq Paiciutekaput – Dance is Our Legacy. Alaska Airlines offers a 7% discount code ECMK252 for people traveling to the festival (some exclusions apply). The event relies on volunteer support, and anyone wishing to volunteer can contact Laura Ellsworth at [email protected]. This year’s festival is dedicated to the memories of Seliksuyar Bob Aloysius of Bethel and Inuguarpak Stanley Anthony of Nightmute. And it honors culture bearers Ap’alluk Levi Hoover of Kasigluk and Atrilnguq Joseph Asuluk Sr. of Toksook Bay. Photo credit: Wáats’asdiyei Joe Yates

Meg Smith paints Alaska by Alisha McDarris Sharp edges and fine lines, saturated jewel tones, graphic prints, and colorful acrylics: Meg Smith’s work is otherworldly. Art is life. A whale swimming beneath the surface of the ocean comes alive. The deep shadows of mountains and the muted hues of peaks in the distance create not just a sense of endless space, but time. Puffins soar and dive in scenes that divide horizons. Three skiers celebrate finding clean lines in soft powder. Indeed, Smith’s art is more than just a pretty picture: in the geometric lines, the crisp detail, the bold colors, there is an indescribable sense of adventure in each mountain vista and dancing depiction of northern lights. Each piece represents the landscape the artist fell in love with when she moved to Girdwood 10 years ago, as well as the feeling of overwhelming vastness, and the sense of awe…