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Arts, Culture & Community Features

Bethel Cultural Center Opens For First Fridays, Saturday Markets

The UAF Kuskokwim Campus Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center in Bethel, Alaska.
Dean Swope

Now that over half of Bethel’s eligible population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center will once again begin hosting community events. The first such event will be a community art show on Friday, April 2. Then, the cultural center will host its first Saturday Market in over a year on April 10. KYUK spoke with YPCC Program Manager Teddi Worrock about the details.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 


Worrock: Now I think it's time to go ahead and reopen the doors. I think everybody in the community will appreciate it and is ready to get out of the house.

KYUK: What will be the safety precautions at this first Saturday Market?

Worrock: Masks must be worn at all times and social distancing will be enforced. We will also have a doorman at the front who will be keeping track of how many people are in the building at one time. We'll also have it laid out with stickers on the floor, and arrows that will direct the flow of foot traffic. All of the vendor tables will be safely distanced at least 6 feet apart, and we also have the plexiglass shields that vendors can sit behind and put their merchandise out on the table around them, but they'll be sitting behind those plexiglass shields. We won't be serving food and have food tables. We will have vendors who will have food in to-go containers. So you can't sit down and eat with us because we need to keep those masks on at all times, but you can take food to go and eat in your car, and then come back in through the cultural center if you'd like to continue shopping.

KYUK: A vendor who wants to participate in this first Saturday Market on April 10, how can they get involved?

Worrock: It is different this first Saturday Market. We need to pre-register, so if you are a vendor you can call me, Teddi, at 907-543-4538, or email me at We do need to pre-register, because we will have a cap on how many vendors we can actually put in the building. Right now we're thinking around 30 vendors.

KYUK: When's the deadline that vendors need to register by?

Worrock: I would appreciate if everyone could pre-register by Wednesday, April 7.

KYUK: So about 30 vendors will be allowed inside the Saturday Market. How many customers will be allowed in at one time?

Worrock: For the customers, around 60, and we are following guidelines that were sent by UAF, and it's based off of the square footage of the meeting rooms.

KYUK: Any other changes that people should be aware of for how this Saturday Market will be conducted?

Worrock: With the doorman allowing people in and bringing in more people as people exit, just please pay attention to the front door. I think what we're going to do is have a green light, red light system, and that might just be a printed image. But that will show people that it's okay to come from their car and come on up, and they can come into the building. And if it has a red light, then we're at capacity. I don't want people waiting outside in the cold for too long. We'd appreciate it if everyone comes in and maybe spends about 15 to 20 minutes browsing and shopping. We'll also be extending the time from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. to make sure that we can keep safe distancing and allow as many people as possible into the building.

KYUK: This Saturday Market seems to be indicating that the cultural center is going to start opening up again for community activities. What else is planned?

Worrock: We also have a First Friday event that is this Friday, April 2. It is a celebration of artists. I'm super excited to put this on. It's in the same fashion as the First Fridays in Anchorage at the Anchorage Museum. So they'll put out exhibits. There'll be small snacks that will be provided. And we'll be featuring different artists from the community from 6 to 8 p.m. And we also have performance artists. We have a yuraq group that will be performing as well.

Our featured artists for this First Friday on April 2 are Bob Wasierski, M.J. Fox, Victoria Sosa, Anne Kosacheff, and Lower Kuskokwim School District student artists. The Kuskokwim Consortium Library is providing an art station for kids and adults if you'd like to sit down and create art. You can add your art to the exhibit, or you can take the art piece home. It is free admission, and it'll follow the same COVID-19 mitigation policies. Masks and social distancing are enforced, and we hope to put that on every first Friday of the month from 6 to 8 p.m. And we'll do a rotation of different artists.

KYUK: Teddi, thanks for hosting it and thanks for talking with me.

Worrock: You're welcome. Thank you.