PUBLISHED: 4:48 PM on Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Artistic freedom
artistic FREEDOM
JUNEAU - In an attempt to capitalize on the fireworks crowd, First Friday appeared a day early this month. Some galleries opted to forego the walk altogether - possibly foreseeing a later crowd - while others took advantage by extending past 7p.m. and inviting musicians to attract evening audiences.

Bridging the walk to the fireworks seems to have been the way to go, according to Sydne Williamson of the Painted Canvas gallery, as attendance was slow early in the evening. The July 3 audiences started later and looked to begin their festivities in light and fun venues.

Katie Spielberger photos
  Artwork on display at the Painted Canvas (pictured) includes work by owner Sydne Williamson, Candice Christie and Noelle Derse. The featured artist is 9-year-old Kiran Rampersand.
The Painted Canvas, a new studio gallery, may not have foreseen the late night crowd but hopes to appeal to the holiday masses by extending their art auction through the month.

According to Williamson, the gallery runs an auction for each gallery walk. The auction consists of one piece by each of the displayed artists (with minimum bids recouping the artist's costs). Because attendance was a bit lower than usual, Williamson decided to continue the auction bids throughout the month. Interested artists can sign up at the Painted Canvas on the corner of North Franklin and Front Street.

For the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, a shift in the Concert in the Park schedule allowed for a smooth transition from gallery walk to live jazz. Works from the Blue Clay Studios were on display in the main gallery, after which the band Fleet Street entertained with cool jazz rhythms.

The Canvas gallery and studio also tapped into the celebratory mood, coupling live music and art. Featuring the

photography of Tim Chandonnet, a brief presentation on the Rivers Without Borders project and the surf rhythms of Slow Gun Runner, The Canvas invited viewers to sit and enjoy stunning images of the Taku River while socializing.

Artists to see

Though tourist season is in full swing, don't let the crowds keep you from the galleries as you might miss the new takes on familiar themes. The Painted Canvas features the work of Candice Christie, Noelle Derse and owner Sydne Williamson.

Williamson, a recent arrival from Billings, Mont., presents nature themes in the abstract. Her piece "Longest Day of the Year" captures a light Alaskans are familiar with while avoiding clichés. Christie's "passion to combine texture with the canvas" is also worth seeing. Her works incorporate paper, beads, textile and paint to present nature with texture.

The featured artist, 9-year-old Kiran Rampersand, is one of the young talents with work on display. Rampersand, a Harborview student, was encouraged by Williamson to show her work in the gallery. Rampersand's work in paper makes use of collage and pastel techniques and demonstrates true potential. She says she "likes to imagine ideas." Her work will be up all month at The Painted Canvas gallery and is available for purchase during the auction.

Chandonnet's work at the Painted Canvas this month appeals to both the aesthetic and environmentally minded, and his artistic statement discusses ways in which his project has connected him, and hopefully the viewer, to the issues facing the Taku River.

After working on the Taku River for three years, Chadonnet, originally from Massachusetts, began compiling the work that makes up his first show, "Taku Seasons."

Katie Spielberger photo
  Kiran Rampersand, 9, is the featured artist at the Painted Canvas this month.
The project led Chandonnet to further explore issues facing the river and to connect with conservation projects. More information is available through his website,

Blue Clay Studios

The Blue Clay Studios show at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center is worth a visit, as the pottery is beautiful and reasonably priced. The work of James Voelckers begs particular mention. Voelckers' pottery, such as "Platter #1," demonstrates smooth lines and impeccable glaze work.

He has also branched out, showing a series of charcoal and black crayon drawings that are stunning in their simplicity, convey emotion through minimal strokes.