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Anchorage - Nathan Jackson, visual artist, carver, mentor and jewelry maker has been named the 2009 Rasmuson Foundation Distinguished Artist. Jackson is perhaps best known for carving traditional totems, but he has also been tireless in his efforts to pass carving traditions on to new generations of artists.
Nathan Jackson receives $25,000 Distinguished Artist Award 052009 NEWS 2 For the CCW Anchorage - Nathan Jackson, visual artist, carver, mentor and jewelry maker has been named the 2009 Rasmuson Foundation Distinguished Artist. Jackson is perhaps best known for carving traditional totems, but he has also been tireless in his efforts to pass carving traditions on to new generations of artists.

Photos Courtesy Of The Rasmuson Foundation/Dinneen Photography

Nathan Jackson delivers remarks after being named the 2009 Rasmuson Foundation Distinguished Artist. Jackson is perhaps best known for his carvings but has also worked hard to pass carving traditions on to new generations.


Photos Courtesy Of The Rasmuson Foundation/Dinneen Photography

Nathan Jackson delivers remarks after being named the 2009 Rasmuson Foundation Distinguished Artist. Jackson is perhaps best known for his carvings but has also worked hard to pass carving traditions on to new generations.


Photos Courtesy Of The Rasmuson Foundation/Dinneen Photography

Nathan Jackson delivers remarks after being named the 2009 Rasmuson Foundation Distinguished Artist. Jackson is perhaps best known for his carvings but has also worked hard to pass carving traditions on to new generations.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Story last updated at 5/20/2009 - 11:27 am

Nathan Jackson receives $25,000 Distinguished Artist Award
Rasmuson foundation also gives $12,000 Artist Fellowship Awards to five Southeast Alaska artists

Anchorage - Nathan Jackson, visual artist, carver, mentor and jewelry maker has been named the 2009 Rasmuson Foundation Distinguished Artist. Jackson is perhaps best known for carving traditional totems, but he has also been tireless in his efforts to pass carving traditions on to new generations of artists.

The Distinguished Artist Award provides $25,000 in unrestricted funds to allow artists to concentrate and reflect on their work, to immerse themselves in a creative endeavor, or to experiment, explore and develop their artistry more fully. The award will allow Jackson to move away from commission-based work to new work created solely from inspiration.

"Nathan Jackson is dedicated to his art and to maintaining the traditions that epitomize the style of Southeast Alaska carving," said Rasmuson Foundation President and CEO Diane Kaplan. "We are thrilled to recognize his contributions to Alaska with this award."

Nathan Jackson was born into the Sockeye Clan on the Raven side of the Chilkoot-Tlingit tribe. He was raised in Southeast Alaska, spending most of his time in the Haines area, where he learned about his Tlingit heritage from his clan uncle and grandfather. After the completion of military service in Germany, Jackson enrolled in the Institute of American Indian Arts, where he specialized in fabric design, silk screen and graphics. Since 1967, he has been creating masks, panels, house posts, totem poles and jewelry using traditional Tlingit Northwest Coast formline design in his own unique style.

In 1988 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the University of Alaska, and in 1995 he was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship Award. His work is in museums and private collections around the world. He currently resides in Ketchikan.

Jackson was presented with the award in a ceremony that took place in Anchorage earlier today where the Foundation also announced five Artist Fellowship Awards that provide $12,000 in unrestricted funds. Six of these awards were granted to artists in Southeast Alaska, including the following:

Anna Brown Ehlers (Juneau), a folk/traditional artist who incorporates gold thread into her traditional Chilkat blankets, will explore applications of metalwork and mixed media with artists Richard Beasley and Nick Galanin to create new original Chilkat work.

Nick Jans (Juneau), a literary artist who has published nine books and hundreds of articles, editorials and poems, will take time to write a novel.

Bryne Power (Haines), a performance artist who created the Lilliputian Puppet Sideshow in 2005, will create and travel with a larger, more challenging puppet theater show.

Teri Rofkar (Sitka), a folk/traditional artist who weaves baskets and ceremonial robes using traditional Tlingit styles and techniques, will network with her artistic peers, complete her studio, attend a spinning retreat and explore other west coast weaving and fiber arts opportunities.

Donald Varnell (Ketchikan), a folk/traditional artist who blends tradition with social, cultural and political paradigms, will document a trip studying Northwest Coast Native artifacts in Europe and North America, following the route of ethnographer Franz Boas.

The Rasmuson Foundation also announced the award of 17 Artist Project grants, including one to Teresa Varnell, a folk/traditional artist from Ketchikan, who will receive $5,000 to gather and prepare materials for weaving.

The Individual Artist Awards is a program of the Arts and Culture Initiative, a 10-year, $20 million investment to increase the impact of arts in Alaska. To date, the Foundation has awarded $1,216,319 directly to 167 artists and six have been selected as recipients of the Distinguished Artist Award.

The next postmark deadline for Individual Artist Award applications is March 1, 2010. More information is available at the Foundation's website, www.rasmuson.org or by calling Victoria Lord at 907-297-2827 or toll-free 1-877-366-2700.

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.


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