SE artists recognized with Rasmuson awards

Amanda Compton, Pedar Dalthorp of Juneau win project grants
Amanda Compton, one of the recipients of this year's Individual Artist Awards, bestowed by the Rasmuson Foundation.

The Rasmuson Foundation’s 2014 Individual Artist Awards were announced earlier this week in Anchorage, a list that includes Juneau artists Amanda Compton and Pedar Dalthorp, both honored with project awards.


Compton, former staff writer with the Capital City Weekly, will use her award to produce an hour-long radio show focused on individuals who work in the Alaska fishing industry. Dalthorp, a sculptor and art educator at University of Alaska Southeast, will use his award to participate in the 26th International Ceramics Symposium in the Czech Republic. He will also create an exhibition and presentation at UAS.

Peggy Schumaker of Anchorage was awarded the highest honor and named the 2014 Rasmuson Foundation Distinguished Artist, a $40,000 award. Shumaker is the 11th Alaskan artist to receive the award.

Rasmuson awarded 25 project grants (worth up to $7,500 each) and 10 fellowships (worth up to $18,000 each) from a total of 274 applicants. The artists were judged by a national panel of artists and arts leaders.

In addition to Compton and Dalthorp, Southeast artists honored with project awards were Kristina Cranston, Jim DiGennaro, Jerrod Galanin and Rebecca Poulson, all of Sitka; Rob Goldberg of Haines; Mike Gates of Ketchikan; and Everett Athorp of Klawock.

Southeast artist honored with fellowships were Nicholas Galanin and Dave Galanin, both of Sitka.

In total, artists from 13 different communities across Alaska won awards, including Anchorage, Klawock, Ester, Fairbanks, Barrow, Homer, Juneau, Soldotna, North Pole, Haines, Ketchikan, Nome and Sitka.

The purpose of 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.

Here’s a closer look at the artists and their projects.


2014 Fellows

• Dave Galanin, a Tlingit carver from Sitka, will use his award to bring his artwork to new levels. This will include large-scale sculptures of a copper rattle and a copper mask. He will then photograph and document work and create a website to archive his projects.

• Nicholas Galanin, a multimedia artist from Sitka, will use his award to realize a large solo exhibition and traveling body of work, which will eventually become a monograph publication. The work will take form through customary techniques such as woodcarving, jewelry and skin and fur sewing. He has confirmed solo shows in New Zealand, Vancouver, B.C. and London.

• Yngvil Vatn Guttu, a composer and musician living in Anchorage, will create a jazz composition “Welcome (to the) Human Race,” a collection of pieces for a contemporary ensemble, exploring interpretations of the words “human” and “race.” This award will enable her to expand the size of her ensemble and allow for more composing time and rehearsals, as well as workshops with peer input. She eventually hopes to release an album.

• Arlo Hannigan, of Nome, will create a new sub-genre of world music. Working with members of the King Island community, he will produce an Alaska-world folk album, emphasizing the sub-Arctic musical landscape.

• George Demientieff Holly, of Soldotna, will spend a year engaging in artistic pursuits honoring the memory of his language and song mentors, who were split willow root weavers, an art now practiced almost exclusively by his cultural group, Deg Hit’an Athabascan. Holly will conduct interviews and document the split willow root baskets at the Anchorage Museum and the Fairbanks Museum of the North. Additionally, he will attend a workshop in Japan training in the art of katazome.

• Amy Johnson, of Anchorage, will make a short film with collaborators including a sound artist in Berlin, engineers in Alaska, a musical technician and dressmaker in Seattle and other international media artists. Her art film will use the Alaska landscape as a metaphor to reflect the interior of our lives and will be representative of contemporary conceptual work from the state.

• Amy Meissner, of Anchorage, plans to use her award to create contemporary textile designs using traditional quilting and embroidery techniques.

• Mavis Muller, of Homer, will create a 30-page color booklet titled “Something has Ended. Something has Begun,” to document her many interactive community art projects- namely basket sculptures woven with natural materials from the local countryside.

• Sheryl Maree Reily, of Ester, is a contemporary artist working in a variety of visual media, currently expressed as sculpture and installations. She wants to pursue large work for large spaces and plans to exhibit in spaces beyond her immediate surroundings and return with insights to share with the community.

• Michael Walsh, a Homer-based filmmaker, will use his award to upgrade and modernize his equipment as he continues to explore and showcase contemporary artists in Alaska through monographs.


2014 Project Awards

• Shehla Anjum, of Anchorage, is a writer who will be completing a series of essays that reflect on the challenges arising from life in two very different cultures, the Islamic culture of Pakistan and the Western culture of the U.S.

• Everett Athorp, of Klawock, will use his award to build a studio, enabling him to pursue his carving and form line design work.

• Tracy Anna Bader, a multi-media artist from Anchorage, will be creating awareness of critical environmental issues through a body of work using discarded plastic-based food packaging. Her project will culminate in exhibitions of her work.

• Teeka Anice Ballas, of Anchorage, plans to discover and tell the story of her father through a multidisciplinary cross genre composition of literary memoir, audio slide show and ethnographic research art documentary.

• Breezy Berryman, a choreographer living in Homer, will stage an evening of modern dance at the Homer High School Mariner Theater. This production will incorporate video images of Alaska’s natural environment and infuse her interpretations of these images into kinetic movement.

• Nicholas Bradford, an aspiring Anchorage-based filmmaker, will make his directorial debut with a short film about the life cycle of a raven, through a first-person point-of-view of the raven across multiple Alaska landscapes.

• Kristina Cranston, of Sitka, will be creating Northwest Coast masks inspired by Tlingit myths and legends, such as Salmon Boy and Fog Woman.

• Dr. Jim DiGennaro, a luthier from Sitka, will attend a seminar on guitar making, and then build six tenor guitars to give to children and young adults on South Baranof Island.

• Jerrod Galanin, of Sitka, will use his award to create new artwork and prepare for his first solo art exhibit at the Alaska Native Arts Gallery in Anchorage in 2015.

• Mike Gates, a Ketchikan photographer, will be upgrading his equipment. His photography tells stories of the buildings and people in Southeast Alaska.

• Travis Gilmour, of Anchorage, will be completing a short documentary featuring intimate portraits of Alaska Native carvers and their work.

• Rob Goldberg, of Haines, will be enlarging his stringed instrument studio to create spaces for apprentices, so that he can pass on his knowledge to the next generation.

• Joan Hornig, a painter and sculptor from Fairbanks, will use her award to buy a kiln and two years worth of clay, allowing for the freedom of a home-based studio.

• Joseph Losinski, a photographer from North Pole, will be producing a project entitled “Torso(s).” His series of photographs of tree stumps and roots are informed by his tour of duty in Iraq.

• Laura Oden, of Anchorage, will be producing a video, “The Pied Piper Project,” a Creative Placemaking initiative in which musicians across town will lead Anchorage citizens to a mobile music event. The happening will be videotaped from an aerial view.

• Jill Osier, a poet from Fairbanks, will be completing her first full book of poems.

• Rebecca Poulson, of Sitka, will be producing a film titled “Sheldon Jackson,” about the now-closed Sheldon Jackson School and College.

• Don Rearden, a novelist and screenwriter from Anchorage, will be adapting his award-winning novel, “The Raven’s Gift,” for the screen. (See feature story in this week’s Arts.)

• Riva Sazama, a visual artist from Fairbanks, will purchase welding equipment to create pieces that will be exhibited in galleries in Fairbanks and Anchorage.

• Michael Shaeffer, a spoken word artist from Fairbanks, will be touring 12 high schools in Alaska, interpreting The 12 Labors of Hercules, incorporating elements of sound design and theatrical-dramatic performance.

• Mary Virginia Stroud, a photographer from Barrow, will use her award to purchase a new camera and computer, allowing her to grow as an artist and take on new challenges and opportunities.

• Caroline Van Hemert, from Anchorage, will complete a book-length nonfiction narrative detailing the landscape, wildlife and relationships she encountered during a 4,000-mile human-powered trek from Puget Sound to the Chukchi Sea.

• Dr. Christiana Veraart, a composer from Anchorage, will complete three phases of “Polar Suite,” a set of musical compositions inspired by Alaska landscapes.

This is the 11th year of the Individual Artist Awards program. As of today, the program has awarded 338 grants, totaling more than $2.7 million, directly to Alaska artists. For more, visit


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