CRAFT OF AK
Center of Russian-American Friendship & Trade of Alaska

Mission Statement

  • As information - communication center, CRAFT of AK's mission is to facilitate cultural outreach among local ethnic groups and entities.
  • CRAFT will support, preserve, and promote cultural traditions of the Russian-speaking community of Alaska by facilitating the development of cultural awareness, understanding and mutual respect among different local and state communities and entities

Purposes

  • To build awareness of Russian historical and cultural landmarks and assist in preserving them. To preserve and share Russian cultural heritage in Alaska with other cultural communities.
  • To assist in creating conditions for preserving and developing heritage languages of the young generation

of the Russian-speaking community.

  • To assist Russian-speaking community in learning English and transitioning to the new culture and environment. To assist in developing and promoting business and cultural relationships between Alaska, Pacific Rim regions and Siberia.
  • To support and promote local businesses established by members of the Russian-speaking community.
  • To provide informational support for Russian speakers who establish themselves as Alaska residents.


 Миссия нашей организации

  • Миссия КРАФТа как информационно-коммуникативного центра – содействовать развитию активного культурного диалога среди различных этнических групп и организаций Аляски.
  • КРАФТ поддерживает, сохраняет и продолжает культурные традиции русскоязычной общины Аляски и способствует активному культурному обмену и взаимоуважению со стороны различных этнических общин, государственных и муниципальных организаций и ассоциаций.

Направление нашей деятельности:

  • Осуществлять информационную поддержку и способность сохранению русских исторических и культурных памятников на территории Аляски.
  • Сохранять русское культурное наследие Аляски и распространять информацию о нем среди представителей других этнических групп и общин.
  • Помогать в создании условий для продолжения и развития русской языковой традиции среди подрастающего поколения русскоязычной общины Аляски.
  • Обеспечивать помощь представителям русскоязычной общины в изучении английского языка и адаптации к новым условиям жизни в американском обществе.
  • Помогать в развитии и поддержке деловых и культурных связей между Аляской, тихоокеанскими регионами и Сибирью.
  • Поддерживать и развивать местные фирмы и компании, владельцами которых являются представители русскоязычной общины Аляски.
  • Предоставлять информационную помощь и поддержку русскоговорящим соотечественникам, приехавшим на Аляску на постоянное место жительства.

Our Mission and Purpose

The CRAFT of Alaska: When and Why
By Marina Gantz

Ты помнишь как все начиналось?       
Как было впервые и вновь.
Как строились лодки, и лодки звались           
Вера, Надежда, Любовь...”

( Машина Времени)

Remember how it all was beginning?
It was all for the first time and new.
The boats were being built, and the boats were being named
Faith, and Hope, and Love…

(Machina Vremeni)                                                                                                                                                                                                   Marina Gantz

                        It was an exciting beginning, a new shift in thinking that somehow after we all have been here, in America, for quite a while, had already become “Americans”, we can feel closer together as “Russians”, supporting each other, preserving our culture, keeping our language alive and well, sustaining the need for our children to recognize who they are, living as one community of so many in the second most diverse city in the Nation.

                       If I could only remember all the details about how the CRAFT got started!
                     I know for sure it was the time to do it. Not surprisingly, the idea to form an organization that could bring together the Russian speaking immigrants, originated as a result of dialectical development when “quantity” began to become “quality”.
                    By 2010 the number of Russian speaking residents in Anchorage had grown considerably greater compared to just a few families and a small number of individuals, who moved to Anchorage during the “first wave” of immigration in the early nineties. In the following years, the geography of the steady flow of new Russian speaking arrivals also had expanded significantly.  If the original “transplants” from Russia were the people who came mostly from the Russian Far East, mainly from Magadan, then in the next ten years, at the beginning of the new millennium, the newcomers arrived from various parts of Russia and from different republics of the former Soviet Union, like Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and others.
                     The population of Russian speaking children attending Anchorage public schools had been gradually increasing as well. For the past 10 years, it has stubbornly stuck at the 2 per cent of the entire student body of the English language learners in the Anchorage School District. By 2010, the annual Russian Language Olympiada had been already up and running, and the first and only Russian Immersion Program in US had been started by Elena Farkas and was successfully moving forward
                     It was the time when American and Russian “honeymoon” had whined and the euphoria of mutual self-discoveries diminished, but our Russian -American identity had solidified.
                     It was the time! By 2010 some of us, the native Russians, had attended one too many parades on July 4th, when we were enviously gazing upon the glow and glitter of the cultural costumes of the Polynesians, the Hmong, the Laotians, the Koreans, the Filipinos, the Latinos…, wondering “why can’t we do this, too? Why are we, Russians, and other Russian speaking members of this vibrant colorful community so isolated?  Why don’t we add our tone and our voice to this company?”  Perhaps one more reason why I was so eager “to belong” was that by then I had been member of the Russian-American Colony Singers and simply could not wait to show off my gorgeous blue Russian sarafan made by my friend Natasha Girard.
                      It was the time to do it! On one chilly Saturday in November 2011, Natasha and Leonid Kokaurov, Lena Farkas and I (all from Magadan) agreed to meet at Title Wave book store on Northern Lights Boulevard to brainstorm the ideas about the mission and the purpose of the new organization. We decided to adopt the name The CRAFT of Alaska (Center for Russian-American Friendship and Trade). That was the name of the business organization where Natasha and Leonid had worked previously.
                    On November 21, 2011, The CRAFT of Alaska held its official meeting at the BP Energy Center. It was our belief that we needed to stick together and support each other in the new place we call our home.  It was our hope that more people would join CRAFT to mutually enrich lives by connecting with one another.  It was our love for our wonderful language and culture that charges us with the responsibility to pass all the best to our children

Marina Gantz
Founding Member,
Co-author of the CRAFT Bylaws
Member of the Revision Committee
Current Member of the Board of Directors

 

Our History