Doc Water's joins First Friday crowd

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's time to redraw the art walk maps because Doc Water's, the popular restaurant and bar in the Merchants Wharf, is expanding its taste to include fine art.

Starting Feb. 1, one can grab a cheeseburger and a pint of Alaskan Amber and enjoy the art that graces Doc's Velvet Room. And for its inaugural First Friday, Doc Water's will present the oil paintings of Ralph Mielke.

"It just seemed like a good idea," restaurant owner Jason Maroney said. "People have always stopped here during the First Friday scene, so I thought ... 'Heck, why can't we be a gallery?'"

It took some searching to find an artist, but eventually Maroney found Mielke, who comes to Doc's via the Clallam Art Gallery in Port Angeles, Wash. But Mielke's no stranger to Alaska. He grew up in Juneau before Alaska was a state.

"Every day after school, I used to go down to the old Simpson Nugget Shop and look in the window, and I saw Sydney Laurence's painting," Mielke said. "I got my start (in art) in 1943, but soon got tired with it."

Mielke put down the brush for 41 years before finally picking it up and joining the Clallam Art Gallery in 1994. In 2005, Mielke moved back to Juneau to be with his family. Friday will be Mielke's first chance to show his work in Alaska.

Doc Water's also will be hosting a beer-tasting event during First Friday. Maroney promises more artists and more events in the future.

Here are some other events going on during First Friday:

Alaska State Museum, 395 Whittier St.: Autobiography is an ongoing theme in Anchorage artist Garry Kaulitz' work, and he continues to mine that vein in a solo exhibition at the Alaska State Museum. The show is presented in two parts: "Years" and "Caretakers."

"Years" is a collection of 64 prints, one for each year of the artist's life. "Caretakers" is composed of six large monoprints on handmade paper. Each one-of-a-kind piece is a portrait echoing relationships, events and vignettes of the three women Kaulitz credits with raising him.

Annie Kaill's, 244 Front St.: Traditional ideals of the word "precious" are thrown out the window as Michael Reid presents jewelry made from every kind of material, including rocks, shells, arrowheads, gemstones, rusted steel washers and glittering gold nuggets.

The Canvas Community Art Studio & Gallery, 223 Seward St.: REACH artists will feature their work in the latest installment of "No Two Alike."

Friends of the Alaska State Museum Store, 124 Seward St.: The Alaska State Library's Historical Collections presents "Alaska at War," an exhibit of images from World War II.

Jaded, 51 Egan Drive: Photography by Alan Gordon and original paintings by Kylie Manning, in the Goldbelt Hotel.

Juneau Artists Gallery, 175 S. Franklin St.: Ella Johnson Bentley will display her latest beadwork, which features beaded teddy bears, porcupines, bags and other goodies.

"I've become more daring in the objects that I want to duplicate in beads," she said. "I don't look at something anymore and say, 'I can't do that.'"

Juneau Arts & Culture Center, 350 Whittier St.: Long walks are the inspiration for "Organica," a new collection of paintings and drawing by Julie Counceller. The 24-piece exhibit explores the artist's idea that magic is everywhere in nature.

Ruby Room, Emporium Mall: The gallery will exhibit oil paintings by Alexis Roberts. Her paintings draw inspiration from a trip through Alaska, with subjects from huge mountain ranges to a room at the Alaskan Hotel.

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