A Teaching Artist: David Woodie: Drawer and painter David Woodie, also an adjunct professor at UAS, was the featured artist in the 2009 edition of Tidal Echoes, Southeast Alaska's literary and arts journal. In Woodie's drawing classes, he often employs models for his students to draw. He said people don't realize the value of drawing from a live model until they have been in a life drawing class and experience it for themselves. "A bowl of fruit ain't the same thing," he said.
The Next Generation: UAS Art Department: Boni Parker is one of thirty-five students currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts program at the University of Alaska Southeast. The degree has only been offered at UAS for two years. The department currently offers classes in ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, painting, photography, art history, Northwest Coast arts and basic design. "Right now, it's kind of hoppin'," said ceramics professor Jeremy Kane. "We have a really focused group of students. They're causing each other to be excited."
One-Man Wonder: Ed Christian: Shortly after performing as a member of the three-person cast of "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)," Ed Christian embarked on an even more ambitious project: a one-man performance of "This Wonderful Life" with Perseverance Theatre. Based on Frank Capra's well-known film "It's A Wonderful Life," the production turned one man into many. "It's different and it's daunting because it's always your line," Christian said. Many audience members the performance was one of Christian's best.
Sharing Her Gift: Anna Graceman: Wherever she goes, Anna Graceman is inspired. The 10-year-old Juneau musician has been tapping that inspiration for a number of years already, writing original songs since the age of six. "Sometimes when I'm walking around, I just want to sing," Graceman said. "So I'm singing words that pop into my head, and then all of a sudden I have the first verse. It's so cool." In October, Graceman was a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she performed one of her original songs, "Paradise," for millions of viewers.
Creative Quartet: Alaska Robotics: From left, Aaron Suring, Pat Race, Sarah Asper-Smith and Lou Logan are Alaska Robotics, a creative quartet in Juneau. Asper-Smith and Race first met as students of Juneau-Douglas High School. Logan, Race and Suring met as students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where they were involved in film club and other film-related events. Now, their collaboration has continued past their educational careers and they have pursued a number of diverse endeavors, including community events that spotlight the work of other artists.
King of Pins: Bill Spear: Bill Spear was once chairman of the board of one of the largest venture capital banks in the world, but he decided he'd rather be drawing. He made a career switch and for the past three decades, Spear has made his living designing pins for fans in Juneau and beyond. He has conceived of nearly 2,000 designs. including special commissions for businesses and organizations around the country. "To keep your integrity as an artist is tough," Spear said. "If you don't enjoy it for itself, you're going to be frustrated."
Sharing Tradition: Yees Ku Oo Dancers: Above, the Yees Ku Oo Tlingit Dancers perform during the Fourth of July celebration in Juneau. The group also performed at the Haines Fair in July. There are 36 members of the troupe, which formed in 2003. The youngest member is three and a half, and the oldest is in her eighties. The group, whose name means "new beginnings," performs songs and dances from the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian and Aleut traditions. "We try to make sure we show the highest respect to all the songs," said dance leader Carolyn Noe. "For us it's an honor to be able to sing the songs and share the stories behind the songs.
Leaving a Musical Mark: Albert McDonnell: 2009 marked a musician milestone for The Preserves. In September the Juneau band, which had been together for 15 years, performed their first - and possibly last - solo gig. The main reason for the performance was the imminent departure of Albert McDonnell, bassist, songwriter, arranger and producer, who, along with Tony Tengs, played a prominent role in shaping the Preserves over the year. "He's probably a musical genius," said singer-songwriter Buddy Tabor of McDonnell. "He's got great, innovative ideas and he's levelheaded in the most stressful times. He can take a mess and turn it into gold."
Sizzling in Sitka: Silver Jackson: Nicholas Galanin, who performs as Silver Jackson, is a jack of many artistic trades. "I work with concepts, the medium follows," Galanin says in his artist statement. Galanin, along with George Huff, created Home Skillet Records in Sitka in 2004. The label now carries over a dozen artists and facilitates performances around the region, including the annual Home Skillet Festival in Sitka. Galanin released his second album, "Thought I Found Gold" this year. He also works as a Tlingit/Aleut multi-disciplinary visual artist.
Puppet Master: Aaron Elmore: Aaron Elmore and his puppet creations graced Juneau stages several times in 2009. Shown is Elmore with the goat puppet (in progress) used in Perseverance Theatre's production of "O Lovely Glowworm." "With the right concentration, the audience forgets about the puppeteer," Elmore said. Elmore also envisioned puppets for "Shepherds, Wise Men & Angels: The Christmas Story told with Puppets," the first play produced at the newly rebuilt Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, which opened its doors in December, just in time for the holidays.
Story last updated at 12/30/2009 - 12:12 pm
From January through December, there was rarely a lull in the artistic life of Southeast. In 2009, our region welcomed new performers and artists to the spotlight, and some venerable local artists reached high points of their careers. In the course of the year, The Capital City Weekly interviewed artists old and young, experienced and the novice. Seen together, these representatives of Southeast's large artistic communities begin to paint a picture of the vibrant contemporary culture of our region.