Whales Tails to be auctioned off Friday

An auction and dinner will be held Friday, Sept. 14, to raise funds for The Whale Project, the ongoing creation of a 25-foot bronze whale sculpture by R. T. “Skip” Wallen for the Juneau waterfront.


The focus of the auction is the 10 whales’ tails created by local artists, which have been on display at various locations around Juneau all summer. At Friday’s event, the 10 art pieces will be auctioned to the highest bidder. Sponsors will have first option to buy the tails for the auction bid.

Tickets for the dinner are $75 and seating is limited. A three-course dinner will be prepared by Whale Committee member Laraine Derr, and dessert will be prepared by the young chefs from the Johnson Youth Center’s chef class.

Prior to the dinner, whales’ tails will be available for viewing, from 2-5 p.m. at the JACC. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m., and the auction begins at 8 p.m.

The outcry auction, hosted by Jesse Kiehl, is open to the public -- you need not have participated in the dinner to attend.

The 10 tales were designed and built by Pedar Dalthrop and his sculpture students at the University of Alaska Southeast. They are 6 feet high and about 3 feet in diameter. Artists selected to decorate the tails were given free rein in determining their designs and each one is quite different. Here’s a closer look:

Dan DeRoux, “Bubble Feeder”: Well-known local painter DeRoux created this tail, sponsored by Juneau Drug in memory of Tom Findley. The tail is displayed alongside a bubble machine.

Clarissa Rizal and Lily Hope, “Yáay Xhooni” (whale friend): Mother and daughter Rizal and Hope, both well-known Tlingit artists, chose a design inspired by a Tlingit ceremonial robe edged with mother of pearl buttons. Sponsored by Huna Totem Corporation, the tail has been displayed atop the Alaska Airlines baggage claim in the Juneau International Airport.

Gabe and Jerry Smetzer, “The Story of Flewn”: This father-son team modeled their design on young Smetzer’s current animation project “The Story of Flewn.” This tail has been displayed outside of Paradise Cafe, the project’s sponsor.

Bruce Simonson, “Tales on the Tail”: The Juneau Bach Society’s Bruce Simonson created his tail out of posters from past local art events, such as symphony performances, jazz and classic festivals, and Perseverance Theater productions. His sponsor was the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council.

Lauralye Alison-Miko “Juneau Rollergirls Kick Some Tail”: Sponsored by Nugget Alaska Outfitters, this tail was created Wearable Art artist Lauralye Alison-Miko and celebrates the Juneau Rollergirls.

Pua Maunu, Jay Crondahl, Christine Crooks “Dive Splash”: Plein Rain artists Maunu, Crohdahl and Crooks designed their tail as a collaborative project. It features images of the of the Southeast Alaskan landscape, plants and other elements, and was sponsored by Corvus Design Landscape Architects.

Averyl Veliz, “Places in Culture”: Veliz, a local artist currently at work on a feature-length animation project, designed this tail, incorporating formline design with images of the landscape around Juneau. Her sponsor was Commercial Signs and Printing.

Bethany Rodriquez, “Patchwork Paratus”: Rodriguez’s piece celebrates Juneau’s connection to the US Coast Guard, and includes rope knotwork. Willie’s Marine was the sponsor.

Fran Downey, Colleen Goldrich, Evelyn Rousso, “Zippity-doo-dah”: These three artists, whose colorful creations can be seen around town on sign posts, decorated their tail with zip-ties. Their sponsor was True North Federal Credit Union.

Nona Dimond, “A Tail of Two Cities”: Dimond highlighted the bridge between Juneau and Douglas by bridging the gap between the tail flukes of her sculpture. Decorated with colored glass and beads, her piece was sponsored by North Pacific Erectors.

Board Members for the whale project are Bill Overstreet, Kathy Kolkhorst Ruddy, Laraine Derr, Kay Diebels, Sharon Kelly, Nancy DeCherney and Jim Clark

Tickets for the dinner are available at the JACC and Hearthside Books.

For more on the Whale Project, visit www.facebook.com/pages/The-Whale-Project/159864006141 or jahc.org.


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