29 Alaskan Artists Receive Awards Through Rasmuson Foundation Program
May 18, 2010
Interior artist receives Rasmuson Distinguished Artist Award
29 Alaskan artists receive awards through Foundation program
ANCHORAGE – The Rasmuson Foundation announced that musician and Interior resident John Adams Luther is the 2010 Distinguished Artist Award recipient at the Individual Artist Award ceremony held this morning in Anchorage.
Adams is the seventh Alaskan artist to receive the Foundation’s Distinguished Artist Award, which recognizes artists with stature, a history of creative excellence and accomplishment in the arts. The award provides $25,000 in unrestricted funds allowing him the freedom to reflect on completed works or to explore new artistic endeavors.
“John’s work is exceptional, riveting and captures the essence of Alaska in a unique and expressive way,” said Diane Kaplan, Rasmuson Foundation president and CEO. “The Individual Artist Award program is a fitting venue to spotlight a number of Alaskan artists, their talent and projects. This year we honor John with the Distinguished Artist Award for all that he brings to the art community and Alaska.”
Adams began his musical expression as a drummer. Studying composition at the California Institute of the Arts, where he received a bachelor of fine arts. He moved to Alaska in 1978 and has been creating a unique musical world grounded in the physical, cultural and spiritual landscapes of Alaska. He has served as composer in residence with the Anchorage Symphony, Anchorage Opera, Fairbanks Symphony, Arctic Chamber Orchestra and the Alaska Public Radio Network. He has taught at the University of Alaska, Bennington College and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and served as president of the American Music Center.
In addition to this award, Rasmuson Foundation awarded more than $175,000 in grants to 28 emerging, mid-career and established artists from across Alaska. The Foundation’s Individual Artist Award program has awarded over $1.4 million in grants to 191 Alaska artists. Recipients are chosen based on work that reflects the diverse cultural and aesthetic communities in Alaska
Project Awards – Up to $5,000
Karen Benning – Literary artist – Karen is currently revising her first book manuscript. She will take a sabbatical and finish the manuscript’s revisions and submit it to agents for publishing.
Jason Parizo – Multidiscipline/new genre – Jason will pursue formal training in filmmaking and purchase professional equipment to grow as an artist of “Social Practice.”
Jimmy Riordan – Visuals artist – Jimmy is a printmaker creating work that is inherently narrative, owing to tradition and history, both in craft and in content. Jimmy will produce portraits of abandoned gas pumps along the Alaska Highway using unconventional paper lithography that will be exhibited at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art.
Robin Lovelace-Smith – Folk and traditional artist – Robin is currently finishing three masks of original design, which will expand her collection for exhibition. Robin’s designs are a collaboration of traditional and contemporary Northwest Coast Art.
Ricky Vang – Folk and traditional artist – Ricky plays the traditional Hmong instrument, the khean. The khean is a cultural identifier of the Hmong, however, the process of making and repairing it is becoming a lost art in the United States. Ricky will be traveling to Fresno, where the largest US population of Hmong resides, to learn to repair the khean.
Harold Wallin – Media artist – Harold has been a painter for twenty years and is now focusing on moviemaking. He is currently collaborating with Alaskan poets to use their words as the basis for short narratives
Christopher Ho – Media artist – Christopher has primarily focused on nonfiction short films, but with the project award will move into fiction filmmaking. He will produce the short film, “Trust,” which will “explore the bond of brotherhood, the will of survival, and the clash between the belief of free will over destiny.”
Brookelyn Bellinger – Media artist – Brookelyn will attend a two-week intensive film school to receive hands-on professional training. Her next documentary will focus on noteworthy Alaska writers.
Jessie Hedden – Visual artist – Jessie uses vibrant color to create mixed media abstractions of mountain landscapes. Jessie will create a body of work for her exhibition at the Bear Gallery in Fairbanks.
Brian Schneider – Visual artist – Brian will purchase a large format camera and spend the summer photographing Interior Alaska from the Brooks Range south to the Alaska Range.
Lani Hotch – Folk and traditional artist – Lani will travel to study textiles and Northwest Coast Art collections.
Phoebe Gonzales Rohrbacher – Visual artist – Phoebe will work on a solo exhibit for the Juneau Douglas City Museum.
Manley Hot Springs
Arthur Fisak – Craft artist – Arthur will create a new collection of bowls over an eight-month period, perfecting and experimenting with his craft.
Wendy Smith-Wood – Craft artist – Wendy is a self taught fiber artist specializing in arashi shibori on silk, a Japanese art of folding and tying silk on poles.
Fellowship Awards - $12,000
John Damberg – Music composition – John will attend a number of music workshops in Brazilian and Afro-Cuban musical styles. For his upcoming CD, John will work collaboratively with Brazilian composer and pianist, Jovino Santos Neto.
Hal Gage – Photographer – Hal has blended the aesthetic of traditional landscape photography with personal documentary. Hal will undertake new work and mount three exhibitions, create a book, and make 30 years of black and white negatives digitally accessible.
Diane Melms – Visual artist – Diane, a fiber artist, will create a body of work for a solo show.
Gretchen Sagan – Visual artist – Gretchen, a printmaker and copperplate etcher, will challenge herself by changing her focus to large-scale works and installation pieces.
Charles Mason – Photographer – Charles will purchase materials to enter large works in juried shows, travel on a photographic project, and focus on his artistic development.
Jim Fowler – Visual artist – Jim will dedicate more time to painting, exploring new and old places.
Jeremy Kane – Visual artist – Jeremy will build a studio and kiln, not only for use in creation of his own work, but also to educate other ceramists.
The Rasmuson Gallery of Alaska Artists in Second Life
Following the live event, Rasmuson Foundation announced this year's awards in the virtual world Second Life in the Rasmuson Gallery of Alaska Artists. Located on the University of Alaska Fairbanks virtual island Rhetorica, the gallery features the work of several dozen of Alaska-based artists, each a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award recipient.
Rasmuson Foundation partners with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and Conversify to bring Alaskan artists and their work to this new platform or "world". Gallery visitors must have a free Second Life account and avatar and go to the SLURL at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Rhetorica/185/237/44 <http://slurl.com/secondlife/Rhetorica/185/237/44>
About the Foundation
The Rasmuson Foundation was created in May 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband "E.A." Rasmuson. The Foundation is a catalyst to promote a better life for all Alaskans. www.rasmuson.org