TSAS Thunderbird

The new logo for the Tongass School of Arts and Sciences was designed by TSAS Artist in Residence Kevin Clevenger. Image courtesy of TSAS

The Tongass School of Arts and Sciences has a new logo to represent its Thunderbird mascot and highlight the spirit of the school.

The new design was created by Kevin Clevenger, who is Tsimshian of the Raven Clan and a Northwest Coast artist and carver now working as artist in residence at TSAS. 
The new logo, which soon will make its appearance on TSAS apparel and a new school entrance sign, depicts a Thunderbird in the Northwest Coast formline design style. 
"It's been a long process," TSAS Principal Scott Huff told the Daily News on Monday, "but well worth it because we wanted to make sure we got it right as we moved forward."
When Huff took his position as TSAS principal at the start of the 2020-21 school year, he began a "quest to understand TSAS and its beliefs and essence," he wrote in a statement regarding the logo on the TSAS website.
And as Huff became more familiar with TSAS' environment, "one thing started to jump out" at him: "The logo was not of a Thunderbird or in a style that depicted what TSAS represents," according to Huff's online statement.
The existing logo had been created and gifted to the school by Matt Hamilton, who created the image during his time as TSAS' artist in residence.
"I liked it (the existing logo), but it just didn't seem to fit TSAS, where we are and where we're going," Huff told the Daily News. "I just feel for where we are, and then being on the Tongass land, that our logo should reflect that, as well. After talking to the teachers and things like that, as well, we all kind of agreed on that, yeah, it's really important to us. (TSAS has) always done a lot with culture, but we're trying to do even more now."
When Huff first started on the principal job, he was cleaning out old paperwork and noticed a "more traditional Native logo" on one of the papers, he said.
Huff was unable to track down where the logo came from or who had designed it, so he wasn't able to use the logo to replace the existing one.
He approached Clevenger to create the new logo after the school held a "bring the drums to life" ceremony held in October. The ceremony celebrated Clevenger's creation of two drums painted with Native symbols representing the school, the student body and Thunderbirds.
"We had done the bring the drums to life ceremony and Kevin Clevenger had made those paintings ... on the drums," Huff explained. "And when I saw it, I was like, 'That's where we need to go.'"
Clevenger agreed to create a new logo and began working on it after the ceremony, completing the design around Christmas.
"Kevin did a great rendering that showcased the spirit of TSAS," Huff wrote on the website.
The logo will be digitized for use on new school apparel. A new entrance sign featuring the logo will be put up at the school's front door soon.