PUBLISHED: 4:10 PM on Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Three decades of Alaskan art on view
Alaskan art from pipeline days to the present is going on view at the Alaska State Museum. Art for Alaskans, the Alaska Contemporary Art Bank is a survey of artworks created by some of Alaska's most prominent artists over the past thirty years.

The State of Alaska purchased the artworks for display in state offices and public spaces.

The exhibition will open Friday, Dec. 7, with a reception from 4:30-7 p.m. sponsored by The Friends of the Alaska State Museum.

Thirty-seven artists and works ranging from 1976 to the present are featured. The works are in a variety of media, including paintings, prints, sculptures and fabric. Works by Native artists show how traditional styles are changing. Throughout, one can see Alaskan artists' primary concerns such as landscape, tradition, innovation, commercialization, satire and spirituality.

The Contemporary Art Bank was begun in 1975 by the Alaska State Council on the Arts as a way to get Alaskan art into state offices and to promote the work of contemporary Alaskan artists. It was patterned on a similar program in Canada. It currently has more than 600 artworks in its collection.

The works were all purchased from juried exhibitions in Alaska, on judges' recommendations and, more recently, from works submitted to selection panels.

Art for Alaskans was curated by Asia Freeman, an Alaska artist and director of the Bunnell Street Gallery in Homer.

The exhibit was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts under its "American Masterpieces" program.

Writing about the show, Freeman said the art "expresses the evolution of a unique and vibrant aesthetic. Contemporary Alaskan artists offer complex images of beauty and labor that bristle with critical thinking, tension and humor. In search of a beauty more than skin deep, tradition intercourses with invention. A new visual language emerges, one which embraces growth and change."

Art for Alaskans will be on exhibit at the museum through Jan. 15 before traveling on to other Alaskan venues.

Winter hours at the museum are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is $3. Visitors 18 and under are admitted free of charge. An annual pass that allows unlimited visits to the Alaska State Museum and the Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka is available for $15. Assistance is available for visitors with special needs. Contact Visitor Services at 465-2901 before the visit.