Four Alaskans named to Rasmuson's new Artist Residency Program

Four artists will spend eight-week residencies in the Lower 48 as the first Alaskans to participate in the new Rasmuson Foundation Artist Residency Program.


Artist and educator Jimmy Riordan will serve his residency at Zygote Press in Cleveland, Ohio. Riordan, whose mediums include book arts, is the founder of Rabbit Rabbit Press and co-director of the Girdwood Summer Arts Camp. He teaches for the University of Alaska and regularly participates in artist residencies in rural Alaska.

Playwright, poet and director Arlitia Jones will serve her residency at Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, Calif. Jones, who wrote “Make Good the Fires” in celebration of 50 years of Alaska Statehood, is a playwright in residence with the Seattle Repertory Theatre for 2013-2014 seasons. Her play “Rush at Everlasting” will debut at Perseverance Theater in January 2014.

Inupiaq visual artist Gretchen Sagan will serve her residency at Santa Fe Art Institute in Santa Fe, N.M. Sagan, who divides her time between Anchorage and Tallinn, Estonia, was recently featured in the “Continental Biennale of Contemporary Native Arts” at the National Museum of Popular Culture in Mexico City.

Textile artist Maria Shell will serve her residency at McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte, N.C. Her work has been shown in many national juried exhibitions including “Quilts=Art=Quilts, Fantastic Fibers, Art Quilt Elements, National Fiber Art Directions, and Form, not Function,” where she received the Viewer’s Choice Award. Maria received a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Project Award in 2009, a Sustainable Arts Foundation 2011 Winter Award, and a Rasmuson Fellowship in 2013.

The Artist Residency Program is one element of the Foundation’s Arts & Culture Initiative. Created in 2003, the initiative is designed to strengthen cultural institutions across the state, encourage the development of new work by creative artists, and increase public access to and participation in cultural experiences.

Earlier this fall, the Artist Residency Program embedded four Lower 48 artists in Alaska arts centers. Their residencies conclude Nov. 15. Read more about them by visiting


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