Four Juneau artists honored with Individual Artist Awards

Four Juneau artists received $5,000 project awards from Rasmuson Foundation on Tuesday: performing artist Roblin Davis, photographer Ron Klein, musician and artist George Kuhar, and multimedia artist David Walker.


These artists, and the other recipients of the Individual Artist Awards, were chosen from a total of 305 applicants, whose applications were judged by an national panel of artists and arts leaders.

Rasmuson Foundation’s stated purpose in giving out the awards is to “allow artists to seek a variety of creative opportunities, including providing them with the time necessary to focus on creative work.”

Davis plans to use his award to advance his theater training through a workshop with Shakespeare and Company, and to begin collaboration on a new play.

Klein, who has been experimenting with a wet plate collodion process where images are contact-printed on glass negatives, plans to construct a wooden camera capable of capturing images on the 18-by-22-inch glass negatives, using original lenses from the era.

Kuhar, best known in Juneau for his innovative music, will use his award for software, equipment and travel to create a new film that incorporates his electronic music with elements of animation, cinematography and storytelling.

And Walker, a frequent Wearable Art Show contributor and prize winner who primarily works in wood veneers, will enter his most recent garment into the internationally acclaimed World of Wearable Art Show in New Zealand later this year.

Also on Tuesday, Alaska painter Kes Woodward received this year’s Distinguished Artist Award of $25,000. (See details in story above).

Here’s a look at the full list of recipients of the Individual Artist Awards.


Artist Fellowships ($12,000)

Laura Bliss-Spaan (Media Arts), of Anchorage. Bliss-Spaan, who has been documenting the Eyak language through film for 20 years, will explore some new visual and media art projects and work on a venue where local films can screen to more local audiences.

Jack Dalton (Presentation/Interpretation) of Anchorage. Author, storyteller, playwright and performer Dalton will reprise three to four of his previous performances for presentation at Out North Contemporary Playhouse in Anchorage.

Brendan Harrington (Visual Arts), Kodiak. Harrington, who has sketched, photographed and painted scenery along Alaska’s coastlines from Southeast Alaska to Attu Island, will explore a new territory: Interior Alaska.

Tommy Joseph (Visual Arts), Sitka. Joseph, who has been a carving instructor, interpreter, demonstrator and commissioned artist for more than two decades, will conduct research and work on his first solo exhibit: six Tlingit warriors adorned with full, traditional battle dress and body armor.

Da-ka-xeen Mehner (Visual Arts) Fairbanks. Mehner, whose works examine his multicultural heritage, will work on a new body of work including some that will premiere in a solo show at the Anchorage Museum in September.

Karina Moeller (Music Composition), Anchorage. Born in Nuuk, Greenland, Moeller, a member of the band Pamyua, will work on composing and recording new songs for a solo album.

Phillip Munger (Music Composition), Wasilla. Munger, whose music that explores social and environmental interests of Alaskans, will work on a new orchestral work based on the February 1945 speech given by Tlingit Civil Rights Pioneer Elizabeth Peratrovich.

Kat Tomka (Visual Arts), Anchorage. Tomka, who creates transparent or collaged spaces using 3M Magic Tape, will reflect and create new work, and cultivate new partners in her work.

Sonya Kelliher-Combs (Visual Arts), Anchorage. Kelliher-Combs, who works in mixed-media painting and sculpture, will create two large bodies of work: an exhibit called “Arctic Identity” that will open in May 2013 at the Craft & Fold Art Museum in Los Angeles, and “Indigenopolis,” a major international survey of contemporary Indigenous art from around the world for the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

Morris Palter (Presentation Interpretation), Fairbanks. Palter, a specialist in solo percussion performance, will document and record a CD of works for percussion, including pieces by Alaska composers Matthew Burtner and John Luther Adams.


Project Awards ($5,000)

Roblin Davis (Performance Art), Juneau.

Ronald Klein (Visual Arts), Juneau.

George Kuhar (Media Arts), Juneau.

David Walker (Crafts), Juneau.

Karrie Pavish Anderson (Presentation Interpretation), Galena. Anderson, a jazz-influenced singer/songwriter, will tour in support of her new CD, “Once Blind.”

Beth Blankenship (Crafts), Anchorage. Blankenship, who has mastered the technique of two-needle couching, will attend a beading workshop to master the peyote stitch.

Slavik Boyechko (Media Arts), Anchorage. Boyechko, who recently discovered a love for filmmaking, will attend a workshop on documentary filmmaking.

Melina Draper (Literary Arts Scriptworks), Fairbanks. Draper, a literary artist, will publicize her upcoming book of poems, “Two Shores,” scheduled for publication in 2014.

Ashley DuRoss (Visual Arts), Petersburg. DuRoss, whose work explores the relationship between light and shadow on physical structures, will ship work and travel to upcoming solo shows in Fairbanks and Anchorage.

David Gerard (Folk & Traditional Arts), Homer. Gerard, a cabinetmaker by trade and a luthier by passion, will purchase stationary power tools and hand tools to properly outfit his work space.

Kristin Elizabeth Link (Visual Arts), McCarthy. Link, a natural history artist, will travel into the Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve to study as a naturalist and create a sketchbook of the area’s flora, fauna and geology.

Enzina Marrari (Visual Arts), Anchorage. Marrari, a multi-media artist, will construct three wearable art pieces from natural materials (roses, fireweed, branches and driftwood) that will transform the garments as they dry, decay and change.

Andrew Michael (Visual Arts), Anchorage. Michael, who creates contemporary masks from stone, wood, metal and glass, will outfit a workshop with tools and supplies so that he can produce larger pieces and expand his use of diverse materials.

Maria Nicolai (Visual Arts), Bethel. Nicolai, an illustrator, will create a graphic novel of Yup’ik tales through the technique of sequential imagery.

Tracy Opeim (Folk & Traditional Arts), Kodiak. Opeim, who carves baleen and ivory, will move out of her parent’s garage and construct a workshop.

Cinthia Ritchie (Literary Arts Scriptworks), Anchorage. Ritchie, a writer, will research her next book.

Timothy Robb (Music Composition), Fairbanks. Robb, a self-recording musician, will acquire an oud – a pear-shaped instrument common in north African and Arabic music – to integrate into his compositions.

Mattox Roesch (Literary Arts Scriptworks), Unalakleet. Roesch, a literary artist, will finish drafting and researching his novel about the abandoned village of Egavik, and its reindeer herding and subsistence heritage.

Lucas Rowley (Literary Arts Scriptworks), Anchorage. Rowley, a contemporary Inupiaq writer, will complete a full-length stage play, based on his experiences at a tribal art school in New Mexico.

Mark Tetpon (Crafts), Anchorage. Tetpon, a carver, will purchase tools and materials to support the creation of new work.

Allison Warden (Performance Art), Anchorage. Warden, a performance artist whose work spans theater, music and rap, will purchase digital camera equipment to document and create new work. She also will remix and master a new song.

Teague Whalen (Music composition), Ketchikan. Whalen, a singer/songwriter, will purchase studio recording equipment to create high-quality recordings of his music, both in the studio and during live performances.

Theresa Woldstad (Folk & Traditional Arts), North Pole. Woldstad, a folk and traditional artist, will explore a little-known style of button blanket design that utilizes coins as a decorative element, instead of abalone, shells or pearl buttons.

Meagan Mackey (Music Composition), Anchorage. Mackey, a singer/songwriter, will purchase a portable sound system so that she can promote her music throughout Alaska.

Adam Ottavi Schiesl (Visual Arts) Ester. Schiesl will create a traveling exhibit of 16-by-20-inch glass plate photographs using a camera he plans to build utilizing a 19th century process called ambrotype. His images will feature portraits and landscapes from Homer and the Kachemak Bay area.

Richard Eissler (Visual Arts), Soldotna. Eissler, a photographer, will print and frame up to 20 images for submission to shows and exhibits to expand the audience for his work.

As of this award cycle the program has awarded 267 grants, totaling $1.9 million, to Alaska artists. 

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