Over the past two decades, I’ve watched a lot of Celebration events. I’ve watched them while pregnant, and with babies on my back, while keeping half an eye on errant toddlers and with (and without) my sulky teenagers. Every year I’ve been thrilled by the visual richness of Southeast Alaska Native culture, and grateful for the chance to appreciate it first-hand in such a dramatic way.
But this year, as I watched the grand entrance last Thursday, I was newly stunned by the artistry of what was in motion in front of me. I even found myself slack-jawed with amazement at a few points.
On a day set aside for sentimental confessions, here is a semi-unprofessional confession from the Arts desk: I tend to fall a little bit in love with the artists I interview. Not in a romantic or physical sense, but in the sense of being drawn to the inner fire that feeds their artistic passion. Gender, age, marital status – none of that really matters. I am blown away on a regular basis by the things that people say and the way their minds work.
If you missed the Juneau run of Perseverance Theatre’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and you’re planning on being in Anchorage in April, I highly recommend you catch the production at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. This is a standout show, anchored by riveting performances on the part of the cast, particularly major players Enrique Bravo as Brick, Elizabeth M. Kelly as Maggie, and Herbert Siguenza as Big Daddy. The show, directed by Robert Barry Fleming, opens in Anchorage April 11 and runs through April 27.
If you’ve never been to a First Friday art walk – maybe you live out the road or simply can’t wait to get home after work on a Friday evening – this would be a great month to check it out. First Fridays used to feel a bit scaled back in the summers, but if this month’s docket is any indication, that’s no longer the case. As Juneau enters its 10th year of art walks, they appear to be stronger than ever.
By far, the best part of my job is listening to people talk about their passion for art. I can honestly say that in the hundreds of interviews I’ve conducted over the past three years, every single one has been interesting, largely for that reason: when you get people talking about why they’ve made art part of their lives, you eventually touch on the very things that make them tick. I’m often reminded after interviews that art is in many ways one of the purest expressions of our individuality, what makes each of us unique in a world of billions.
For the second year in a row, the Franklin Street Gallery at the Baranof Hotel has organized a month-long series of artists’ studio visits – it's a great opportunity for locals to learn more about their favorite artists and to introduce themselves to those they may not know yet. The list of those participating is impressive, and includes some of Juneau’s most prominent local artists. A total of 15 artists in all responded to the open call.