Judy Varney Burch
Founder & Co-Director
Judy fell in love with Inuit art more than two decades ago. Today, she owns and operates galleries in Nova Scotia and Virginia; curates exhibits at museums, universities, and embassies around the world; leads educational workshops for children and adults on Inuit people, culture, and artwork; and serves as a research collaborator for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Her most recent projects called “Culture on Cloth” and “Nunavut’s Culture on Cloth”, are collections of wall hangings created by the women of Baker Lake in Nunavut, Canada. Using vibrant colors and patterns, the tapestries convey Inuit stories, beliefs, and traditions. ”Culture on Cloth has traveled around the world including Alaska, Beijing, and Mongolia, India, Mexico, Latvia, Russia, Japan, Korea, and Mexico. She is dedicated to preserving the cultures of the isolated Arctic through means of education, film and art.
Beatrix Arendt, PhD
Bea is an archaeologist with research interests in the early and late historic period in Labrador, Canada and in the Mid-Atlantic United States. She currently serves as a Research Collaborator for the Arctic Studies Center at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and as an archaeological analyst for the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. She received her PhD from the University of Virginia in 2011, where she studied the interactions between German Moravian missionaries and Inuit during the 18th century and developed a community archaeology program for the Inuit residents of Hopedale, Labrador. She is particularly interested in the history of climate change and the discernible impacts of climate on the Arctic and its people today. While her most recent research focuses on Labrador, her archaeological interests have taken her around the world including excavating slave quarters at Monticello, recovering George Washington’s distillery in Virginia, and discovering 15th century Swahili mud houses in Tanzania.
Berceste was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey and came to the United States to study Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Virginia. As a fourth year student she hopes to get her masters in Bronze Age archaeology in the Aegean and eventually teach. She wanted to take part in this internship to be able to explore a new culture and have more of an exposure to different styles of artwork. One of her main goals is to spread this culture to the wider Charlottesville community and increase the awareness for the peoples.
Larise, hailing from the U.S. Virgin Islands, is currently a 3rd year at University of Virginia, and is majoring in French, minoring in Anthropology, and is working on a Masters in Education. Stemming from an interest in cultural preservation and the arts, Larise is interning at the Inuit Art Gallery.
Therese is a third year undergraduate student at the University of Virginia. Having grown up in that great crossroads of the world, New York City, she has always felt a keen interest in different cultures. She particularly enjoys learning about and celebrating the traditions and stories that diverse groups have to share. This passion fueled her decision to double-major in English and Anthropology. As an intern at the Arctic Culture Forum, she works to bring the Charlottesville community together in celebration of a people, culture, and way of life.