Courthouse partners with high school art class

Kodiak High School art teacher Bonnie Dillard points out some of her students' drawings that are now on display at the Kodiak Courthouse, on May 24. The drawings will also be turned into a story that can be purchased on iTunes. (Nicole Klauss photo)

The Kodiak Courthouse has partnered with Kodiak High School students for artwork to make the courthouse brighter and friendlier.

Law clerk M’Leah Woodard started a push last August to bring more art to the courthouse, since going to court is often a stressful experience.

“I’m looking to make this place a little softer,” she said. “It’s very institutional.”

In January, the courthouse added two pieces from the Alaska Contemporary Art Bank, but they weren’t what Woodard was hoping for.

“I was hoping to get some color on the walls,” Woodard said.

She reached out to Kodiak High School art teacher Bonnie Dillard to come up with an exhibit for the courthouse.

Dillard’s second-year art students partnered with Alutiiq language students at the high school to come up with illustrations for an Alutiiq story, “The first salmon of the summer.”

The original artwork and images are now on display on the courthouse’s first floor.

“The Alutiiq language students wrote the story and gave me a list of what they wanted in each picture,” Dillard said.

Dillard then assigned each of her art students an image from the story. Some painted people or animals while others worked on backgrounds. Each student’s image was Photoshopped into the scenes by Kodiak Island Borough School District employee Anthony White.

“We put it all together so there was consistency,” Dillard said.

The story and images will be turned into a QBook, an interactive storybook designed for the iPad or iPhone. It will eventually put on iTunes for purchase, and people will be able to read the story using an iPad. The story is written in both English and Alutiiq to help language learners.

“When kids read this book they will be able to touch English, read in English, touch the Alutiiq, and read the Alutiiq,” Dillard said. “They can also touch different elements like birds and it’ll make the sound so kids can recognize the bird.”

The student artwork will be on display at the courthouse through the summer.

Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at

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