This annual feature, which formerly appeared in the Juneau Empire’s Arts section, is designed to celebrate creativity in all its forms.
Bright moments of 2015: Juneau 123015 AE 1 Capital City Weekly This annual feature, which formerly appeared in the Juneau Empire’s Arts section, is designed to celebrate creativity in all its forms.

The Aangun Yatx'i Dancers of Angoon perform at the Grand Opening for the Walter Soboleff Center on May 15, 2015. Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

People attending the Inaugural Gala of Gov. Bill Walker dance to Susu and The Prophets at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center in January. Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

Juneau artist Rachael Juzeler, right, makes a plaster cast of Katelyn Rathbone, 11, as part of Anchorage science teacher Sarah Davies' sculpture project at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center in August. Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

Vocalist Storm Large performs with Pink Martini's nine-member orchestra at Centennial Hall Sept. 20. The sell-out event was a fundraiser for Juneau Jazz & Classics. Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

Sweeney Todd, played by Enrique Bravo, threatens Judge Turpin, played by Keith McCoy, during a rehearsal of the Perseverance Theatre's musical production of “Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street" in November. Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

Sweeney Todd, played by Enrique Bravo, threatens Judge Turpin, played by Keith McCoy, during a rehearsal of the Perseverance Theatre's musical production of “Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street" in November. Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

Lance Twitchell, left, and Ishmael Hope stand with Nora Marks Dauenhauer as she reads traditional Tlingit oratory by Naa Tláa (Jessie Dalton of Hoonah) during an Indigenous Readings event hosted by First Lady Donna Walker at the Governor's Mansion in October. Photo by Peter Metcalfe

Lance Twitchell, left, and Ishmael Hope stand with Nora Marks Dauenhauer as she reads traditional Tlingit oratory by Naa Tláa (Jessie Dalton of Hoonah) during an Indigenous Readings event hosted by First Lady Donna Walker at the Governor's Mansion in October. Photo by Peter Metcalfe

Lance Twitchell, left, and Ishmael Hope stand with Nora Marks Dauenhauer as she reads traditional Tlingit oratory by Naa Tláa (Jessie Dalton of Hoonah) during an Indigenous Readings event hosted by First Lady Donna Walker at the Governor's Mansion in October. Photo by Peter Metcalfe

"New Traditions," a two-part piece created by Sarah Cannard, Vicki Young, Cathy Anderson and Kay Haneline, and modeled by Cannard (right) and Adriane Honerbrink, is shown during the 2015 Wearable Art Show sponsored by the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council at Centennial Hall in February. The piece on the left, representing the East, was made from fabric and other materials salvaged from thrift stores, and the piece on the right, representing the West, was made from plastic bags. Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

Click Thumbnails to View
Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Story last updated at 12/30/2015 - 5:37 pm

Bright moments of 2015: Juneau

This annual feature, which formerly appeared in the Juneau Empire’s Arts section, is designed to celebrate creativity in all its forms. Each of the following lists of five memorable moments from 2015 presents just a tiny slice of the whole picture, as viewed through the words of one community member. Taken as a whole, the lists are reflective of a spirit of gratitude toward all those who devote their time, energy and talent through the arts, enriching our lives in the process.


Jane Lindsey, director, Juneau-Douglas City Museum

• The 15th Season of Evening at Egan brought us ‘Assimilation,’ a play by Alaska Native storyteller, teacher, playwright, and actor, Jack Dalton. Packed with potential, Dalton is on a steep curve to intellectualize and transfer the complex feelings of forced assimilation of Alaska Natives through the boarding school experience. Before the play begins we are advised that we must select seats based on our race. The play works to present the heartlessness of race supremacy as a Yup’ik elder tyrant forces white assimilation into Native culture and dominates her peers who question this deficit of humanity.

• Communities Disasters and Change, at the City Museum in November explored the theme of disasters and change, curated by the Valdez Museum to commemorate the 1964 Good Friday earthquake. This statewide traveling exhibit grouped 28 Alaskan painters, ceramicists, and mixed media sculptors in a charged exhibit demonstrating sophisticated depth of thinking around natural phenomenon, loss and change.

• As an unabashed fan of the blues, I never miss Juneau, Jazz & Classics’ blues artist. This year was a blues lover’s fix with, Curtis Salgado. Salgado, a veteran performer and harp player gives it up with emotion and grit while maintaining vocal control and interesting phrasing in his original tunes. His musicians, who are also his back-up singers, were first class. My husband is still belting tunes from Salgado’s CD ‘Soul Shot’ in the shower.

• The October 2015 Clan Conference at Centennial Hall was an inclusive, stimulating and thought provoking gathering of scholars, elders, students and artists around Alaskan Native culture. Watching the elders balance and support each other in a relaxed environment as they mentored the youth in protocol was very special. Attending a session panel discussion led by Sergei Kan and Father Michael Oleksa on Richard Dauenhauer’s Russian Orthodox faith and academic study of Tlingit language and culture was excellent thinking and reflection.

• Perseverance Theatre’s production of the ‘Odd Couple’ was a hoot. Seamlessly directed and staged, it was acted on a comfortable set that invited me into man camp. We were reunited with the well-known characters of the play and the universal rubs on the undercurrents of domestic relationships. Aside from the ease in whole-hearted belly laughs, the play prompts melancholy reflection on our enduring need to pursue and cherish friendship and coupling, warts and all.


Steve Henrikson, curator of collections, Alaska State Museum

• The contribution of a Chilkat Robe to the Sealaska Heritage Center by Texan George Blucker.

• The Rasmuson Foundation’s gift of several dozen works by contemporary Alaskan artists to local museums for their permanent collections.

• The 2016 Tlingit Clan Conference, with its typically strong component of presentations on Tlingit art, language, and literature.

• The restoration and re-installation of the Nimbus, under the supervision of renowned sculptor Robert Murray, at the Andrew P. Kashevaroff Building.

• The opening of SHI’s Walter Soboleff Center, and with it the unveiling of significant works of art by Haida, Tlingit, Tsimshian, and non-Native artists, and ongoing commitment to Native arts.


Peter Metcalfe, Juneau writer and photographer

• Community Potluck & Fun-Raiser: Local filmmaker Lisle Hebert received the equivalent of a Lifetime Achievement in the Arts award when several hundred of his friends, neighbors, and Juneau arts benefactors came together in mid-December to open their pocketbooks in support of his film project “Yuuyaraq: The Way of the Human Being.”

• First Lady Indigenous Readings: In late October at the Governor’s Mansion, Donna Walker, First Lady of Alaska, hosted an evening of poetry and prose by Alaska Native writers. For me, the best moment was when two Tlingit scholars, Lance Twitchell and Ishmael Hope, joined Nora Dauenhauer to support her reading of the 1968 oration by Naa Tláa (Jessie Dalton of Hoonah). The young men provided the responses — Gunalcheesh (thank you!), Aaa (yes!) and similar affirmations — and by doing so, they acknowledged the traditions of reciprocity, balance, and the upholding of elders.

• Dedication of the Walter Soboleff Center: The speeches and performances during the mid-May event demonstrated for all the resiliency of Tlingit culture, and perhaps the most affirmative expression was Preston Singletary’s installation of glass totemic screens in the facility’s performance space – fusing traditional Northwest art with its most modern expression.

• The Jones Family Singers: With their exhilarating blend of gospel, soul, and R&B, the group’s first of May performance kicked off two weeks of musical entertainment for Juneau Jazz & Classics, and made for one of the most enjoyable, raucous, and inspirational performances I’ve seen in years.

• Skip Gray’s Facebook posts: Every photo and GoPro video Skip posts has heart and soul. Not as well recognized as he deserves, Skip is one of Alaska’s top photographers. His archive dates back to the late 1960s.


Laura Haywood, executive director, Juneau Symphony

• Duke Ellington: Last February, Juneau Cabaret and the Black Awareness Association teamed up to celebrate Black History Month with a soul food dinner and a musical program that featured the life and work of bandleader Duke Ellington. A small cast of local singers and musicians brought their considerable skills to introducing an audience of all ages to Ellington, one of the greatest American composers of the 20th century.

• Juneau Fine Arts Camp: I learned about this Juneau institution by teaching there last summer. I provided young children with some polymer clay and a few tools and in return, I got to watch them create fanciful creatures, houses, nature scenes, self-portraits, and much more. I loved how they would burst in every morning and get right to work making whatever their imaginations dictated that day.

• Troy Quinn’s October concert: After a long year of trying out conductor candidates, the Juneau Symphony made its selection last spring. The new music director, Troy Quinn, is a unique individual with feet in more than one musical world. He is not only an accomplished young conductor, he is a popular studio singer in Los Angeles. His first concert, dubbed New Beginnings, was a joy. According to the Empire, one UAS student wrote of the experience: “I loved every moment of being a part of the audience and feeling the sweeping music fill the auditorium and completely envelop me.” We look forward to a great ride with our new young conductor!

• ‘Sweeney Todd’ at Perseverance Theatre: I saw this show three times, starting with the very first preview. The show is a brilliant tour de force, layered with meaning as dense as the harmonies. By my last viewing in the final week, the cast and musicians had hammered the show into perfection. The music, actors, choreography, and set combined to create an entirely satisfying, if grim, emotional experience.

• Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM): This has to be the most exciting arts program in Juneau today. Lorrie Heagy of Glacier Valley School and her helpers are teaching children as young as 5 the joy of making music together. But the program is about so much more than music. It teaches children how to be responsible, joyful citizens as well as musicians. Watching the JAMM string ensemble sing to one another as they set up chairs and stands for a performance, and then tune their instruments to perfection, is as inspiring as hearing the music.


Jim Hale, Juneau writer and CCW contributor

• At the top of the list I have to thank our local treasure, Collette Costa, for the wonderful job she does at Goldtown Nick, bringing exceptional alternatives to Hollywood’s usual sweepings and swill and making movie-going fun again. Thanks, Collette!

• Also in Juneau, thanks to the Theatre in the Rough for their production of ‘Henry V.’ I understand that Aaron and Katie are taking a well-earned sabbatical from the stage. I look forward to seeing them mount the boards once again.

• And thanks, of course, to the managing editor at the Capital City Weekly, Amy Fletcher. She has turned CCW into something people not only read but look forward to reading each week.

• And chief among the pleasures of the CCW are the pieces by Brooke Elgie of Tenakee Springs. Whether it’s wisdom or senility, we’re lucky that Mr. Elgie doesn’t keep it to himself.

• And finally: although, strictly speaking, it was a political rather than artistic event, the Inaugural Ball for Governor Walker and Lieutenant Governor Mallott was a great, spirited night for music and dancing. I’m a transplant from the Land of New Jersey, but every now and then I get a deep sense of Alaska’s greatness. And so it was that night. Spirits were already running pretty high at Centennial Hall, but never higher than when the Lieutenant Governor leaped from the stage and joined in the moves of the Yees Ku Oo’ Dancers. Wow. And then, later in the evening, Susu and the Prophets rocked the JACC, and we all danced our asses off, the Walkers out on the dance floor among us. A great night, a great event, a great state.


Richard Radford, Juneau writer

• The Gold Town Nickelodeon’s Not-So-Silent Film Series: The Gold Town’s recurring silent film shows with live musical accompaniment are always a good time. I missed a couple while I was out of town this summer, but managed to catch “Peter Pan,” the amazing animated film “The Adventures of Prince Achmed,” and season finale screening of the epic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” with an equally ambitious score.

• Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna): The puzzle platformer game with Inupiaq language and stories was released at the tail end of 2014, but I didn’t have a machine to run it on until it was ported to the Wii U in June. Getting to play a video game with full narration in an Alaska Native language was incredible, as was seeing unlockable interviews with local artist (and the game’s lead writer) Ishmael Angaluuk Hope on a Nintendo console.

• The Opening of the Mendenhall Valley Public Library: As a Friends of Juneau Public Libraries board member, I was happy to help in my small way getting the final details together for the opening of the new library in the Valley, under the direction of Friends President Paul Beran. But getting to see this project, which was many years in the making, come to life and witnessing the new spacious quarters filled with people actually using it was remarkable.

• Jack Dalton’s “Assimilation”: I was fortunate to get a chance to see a staging of Jack Dalton’s tense, ironic, touching, and occasionally funny dystopian play performed at the University of Alaska’s Evening at Egan lecture series. From the immediate disruption of the dominant cultural expectations during the seating process to the chilling climax, this one has stuck around in my mind for months. This is essential theater to help better understand the colonization of Alaska.

• Playboy Spaceman’s “Skull Party” Halloween Show: I Playboy Spaceman.


Riley Woodford, Juneau writer and musician

• Gov. Walker’s Inaugural Ball: Susu and The Prophets played the dance and the marimba band played a great opening set. I was anticipating obligatory speeches but Walker and Mallott were gracious, eloquent, funny and entertaining all the way around. The women were beautiful, the dancing unbridled and the festivities joyous.

• ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ and Goldtown: Best vampire movie of the year, brought to us by the best art house cinema in Juneau.

• Goldwing Concert and KXLL (360 North Concert Series): Clay Good’s excellent band, thanks to Juneau Public Media.

• Curtis Salgado concert: I remember this band from Portland in the late 1970s, with young Robert Cray. Still going strong. Thanks to Jazz and Classics.

• Falltoberfest: AFF’s Novemberfest reincarnate. Excellent local and out of town bands made for a weekend festival that included the Alaskan and the Rondy.


Geoff Kirsch, Juneau writer and CCW contributor

• “This is How it Really Sounds” by Stuart Cohen: Stuart Cohen interweaves stories of three men with the same name who lead very different lives: a small-town Alaskan, once the world’s greatest extreme skier; a despised New York financier laying low in China and a washed-up LA rock star. The section in which the skier chases down his teenage son in a blizzard rates as one of the most heart-pounding bits of writing I’ve read in some time, if all-time.

• Gastineau Strummers: Skeptical about the merits of art and music in public education? Check out the Strummers at Gastineau Elementary sometime. Developed by music teacher Patrick Murphy and ably coached by paraprofessionals Travis Croteau and Owen Cruise, the Strummers are an afterschool guitar-banjo-mandolin-ukulele band… with a bassist and a drummer, no less. A little noisy, sure, but these kids flat-out shred, leading a school-wide sing-a-long every Friday morning. They even let a certain Gastineau dad sit in with them on uke, even though he sometimes plays wrong chords.

• Juneau Fine Arts Camp: This three-week arts-focused day camp also flat-out shreds, offering classes like Lotions & Potions and Recycled Orchestra. Hundreds of kids K-6 attend this camp, held at JDHS and put on by Juneau Dance Theatre. It’s an excellent, well-organized and, quite frankly, pretty inexpensive program that keeps getting better every year. Of course, you wind up bringing home lots of junk… er, I mean “recycled instruments” and homemade “Gak.” But you know they say: a life without homemade “Gak”….

• Tracy’s King Crab Bisque: Juneau restaurateur Tracy LeBarge has turned a visqueen-walled shack into a burgeoning culinary empire, and it all started with this rich, creamy, crabby delight. I’m seriously thinking about filling my Camelbak with it; that way I can hydrate myself with bisque all day long.

• Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life” Tour: Of all the things I’ve missed since moving to Alaska in 2005 - family, professional baseball, Chinese restaurants that stay open on Christmas - Stevie Wonder in concert ranked at the very top. (He literally ended a 10-year touring hiatus the month after we left.) At long last, he happened to be in New York while I was visiting this past Thanksgiving. Mr. Wonder lives up to his name and then some - I’ve never, seen a display of musical virtuosity like that, at least not live. His voice sounds just as buttery as it did 40 years ago, and he held out a note during a harmonica solo for about three minutes (my wife: “Clearly, there’s a man who’s never put smoke into his lungs”). We gotta get him up here — him and his 30-piece band. Anyone with miles to donate?


Amanda Tatter Kulik Compton, Juneau writer

• Northwords Writer’s Symposium in Skagway: This was a fabulous albeit intensive retreat. While mingling with national best-selling author Mary Roach, the keynote speaker, was a thrill, the major highlight was all the state talent present in the faculty. I left the symposium eager to read all their work.

• Sitka Summer Music Festival: Formal evening concerts with pianists visiting from the feuding countries of the Ukraine and Russia, cello music on an ocean cruise...this was a summer treat.

• Gustavus Disposal and Recycling Center: You can call it a dump but how this operation succeeds, how it is organized and the people that make it happen is a creative and caring force worth noting.

• One Hot Mess: Libby Bakalar’s blog addresses the joys and stresses of parenting, racial and gender inequality and popular social movements with a lot of wit and finesse.

• Katie White’s baked goods: Katie White presented a spread of gorgeous and delicious treats to accompany a jewelry exhibit at this year’s December Gallery Walk. Candied lemon slices, tiered chocolate cake, this woman has serious skills.


Collette Costa, co-owner of the Gold Town Theater

• Not-So-Silent Film Series at Gold Town Theater. All humility aside, this is truly my most favorite thing that happens all year, anywhere, combining the brilliance of classic silent films and well-orchestrated live music.

• Playboy Spaceman’s Day of the Dead concert is the new gold standard by which all other local bands will be measured. Not just a concert, but truly a show, clearly choreographed, tightly played, perfectly executed, and fabulously outfitted.

• Bobby Johnson’s Gospel Workshop held every February is a moving and soulful celebration of the spirit that should not be missed by anyone.

• Pink Martini with Storm Large, whose live show (hosted by Juneau Jazz & Classics) swept up everyone in attendance into their tightly-knit, effervescent swinging sound.

• Premiere of ‘Hunting In Wartime,’ a new film by Samantha Farinella about Vietnam vets from Hoonah. Accompanied by the director and a panel of vets, elders, and other locals who helped on the film, it was an evening of great catharsis, telling a hard but necessary Southeast Alaskan story.


Dick Callahan, Juneau writer and CCW contributor

• MK MacNaughton’s Community Giant Puppet build: Giant puppets have giant personalities.

• Master carvers at the Soboleff Building: The smell of the wood. Artists at the top of their game bringing it alive a shaving at a time.

• Rie Munoz’ prints: Alaskan artist Rie Munoz passed away at 93 leaving people all over the world with much loved prints done in her clean, distinctive style.

• Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth Laprelle at the Goldtown Theater: Old-timey Appalachian ballads, banjo, fiddle and crankies (long, painted, scene tapestries scrolled by hand in a wooden box telling the story in time with the singer).

• New Old-Time Chautauqua: Most fun I had at any event. Jokes, jugglers, aerialists, brass band music, clowns, many workshops. Great energy. Emphasis on building community.


Judy Crondahl, Juneau

• Mudrooms: This has grown from a cozy coffee house event to one that packs the entire space at Northern Lights Church, raising thousands of dollars for worthy local non-profits. At the same time the quality of stories told has improved from some good and some not so much to almost all at least entertaining or absolutely outstanding.

• ‘The Odd Couple’ (Perseverance Theatre): the most entertaining show of the season, a 50-year-old classic that came across as modern as today.

• The Chautauqua marching band added real sparkle and flash to the 4th of July parade.

• Folk Festival, Juneau’s spring bash and home-grown musical bacchanalia.

• The Juneau Symphony’s first concert of the season beginning the tenure of Maestro Troy Quinn.


Steve Quinn, Juneau writer and photographer

No need to look far to find compelling art and inspiring artists. Some do it full time. Others enjoy the hobby and perhaps pick up a few bucks. And some emerge once a year and make headlines for their work. Here are a few that grabbed and held my attention.

• Photographer Chris Miller: For those who may have missed his latest exhibit at the Rookery, don’t fret. Miller is certain to have another equally engaging look at our world’s fishing industry, be it in Alaska or elsewhere. Miller’s photos engage. They tell a story about a place and its people in ways that get others to care about the compelling, and often dangerous, work these people do.

• Photographer Ron Gile: If there were ever someone who selflessly celebrates another person’s photos as much as he shares his own stunning work, it would be Gile. He founded Juneau Photo Group several years ago and watched it grow to 7,000-plus members. He is as humble as he good with his Canon and generous with his encouragement. His nighttime photos are spectacular and make you want to stay up till wee hours to see the auroras he captures.

• Wearable Art: While it’s nothing new to Juneau or other Southeast communities such as Ketchikan and Sitka, it continues to fascinate those who attend and admire the work artists design from what ever is handy, or even possibly ready for discard. For many of these people hitting the runway with their wearable designs is the signature art for the year, yet it creates a lasting image.

• Walter Soboleff Center: Sealaska Heritage Institute christened its new headquarters in May and it features works of the region’s top Native artists: Preston Singletary, David Boxley and Robert Davidson. These are the permanent fixtures. The items in the gift shop reflect work of emerging artists are represent that initial step toward SHI President Rosita Worl’s goal of having Juneau become the art capital of the Northwest Coast.

• Tlingit artist Rico Worl: Last year Worl opened Trickster Co, quickly displaying his signature ski and snowboard designs on his walls. While Trickster features work from other Southeast artists, Worl’s work found its way into the hands of President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. During their August visit, the offices of Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott gave Obama and Kerry basketballs with one of Worl’s Tlingit designs. Perhaps Rosita Worl’s goal is off to a good start.


MK MacNaughton, Juneau artist

Three arts events that I really appreciated this past year were:

• Body Vox – The Juneau Arts and Humanities Council brought this inspiring contemporary dance group to Juneau. This was my favorite performance of the year. They were beautiful, funny, inspiring, thought provoking.

• Merry Ellefson’s production of “A Lifetime to Master” was an important and powerful look at homelessness, mental health and substance abuse issues in Juneau. I appreciate the enormous commitment Merry made to years of interviews and connection to people in our community. I keep thinking about this play and the issues it raises.

• Thanks to artist Sarah Davies and the 100 Stone Project for visiting Juneau. I volunteered to help make plaster body casts during Sarah’s visit. The interactions between all ages on this project were intimate and joyful, which was a really effective way to connect a group of strangers around the issue of depression and isolation. I loved having the opportunity to help Sarah with the project for an afternoon, and I hope to see her final installation of pieces in Anchorage this year.

Emily Wall, Juneau poet

• ‘Tidal Echoes’ 2015 journal and launch. ‘Tidal Echoes’ showcases art and writing from across Southeast Alaska. The 2015 journal featured the work of Ishmael Hope and Fumi Matsumoto.

• Eva Saulitis sent me her new book of poems ‘Prayer in Wind’ and it’s an outstanding book of poems. She is battling terminal cancer and these poems take an honest, beautiful look at the way she’s living life right now.

• The statewide Poems in Place project placed its last two poems in parks this year. I was on the board and able to lead a community workshop along with Jonas Lamb to help local writers submit to the contest. Juneau poet Aleria Jensen came to the workshop and the poem she drafted there went on to win this year’s contest.

• Ernestine Hayes gave a powerful Evening at Egan talk about her new manuscript and a call for everyone living in Southeast Alaska to learn more about indigenous ways of knowing and seeing the world.

• Jeremy Kane has a new show at the Juneau-Douglas museum and it’s fantastic. I’m a fan of his mugs and was happy to see how much he sold at the show.


Dianne Anderson, Juneau artist

Editor’s note: Juneau artists Dianne Anderson and Mark Vinsel were selected as artists-in-residence for a new program at the Gruening Cabin at Ernest Gruening State Historical Park.

• The Gruening Cabin artist-in-residence experience for me was so positive that my art from now on will always have parts of the legacy: beams of and flickering light on the ocean or forest, bears eating berries, fish jumping out of the water and into fishermen’s nets, herons posing in the pond or just reading Gov. Gruening’s book that was penned there. Such inspiration- whether using realism or abstraction of feeling, this Alaska historical setting will always be with me.”


Christine Carpenter, Juneau artist

• The opening of the Mendenhall Valley Public Library. I’m partially biased, but I really think it’s a beautiful example of how modern architecture fits in with our community. When you’re inside the building, it really accentuates the natural landscape in which the building is nestled, from the trees, to the fog, to the mountains, to the glacier. And who doesn’t want to cozy up next to a fireplace on a cool winter afternoon with a book?

• Front & Franklin Street Renovation public meetings. Thanks to the Downtown Improvement Group’s grassroots efforts of banding together to make a difference in our small community, the city started a project to focus on changing infrastructure along Front and Franklin streets. The extensive public meetings that have come from this project has brought up a lot more conversations than just the infrastructure, such as signage, public art, and historical district codes. These vocal meetings have shown me, and hopefully our entire community, that our community is not stagnant, but a living organism that is looking to change and collaborate with one another for the better.

• The SLAM project. I have been working closely on the new exhibit development and design for the new State Museum. It’s been a rewarding experience working with people like Steve Henrikson, Sarah Asper-Smith, Jackie Manning, and Ariel Rolfe. Because I am an Alaskan transplant, having moved here only four years ago, these people who are so heavily woven into the fabric of Juneau’s art community have taught me an enormous amount about the history of Alaska through the museum’s extensive collections. And I can’t wait for the museum to be open to the public so they, too, can learn from these great resources. 

• Folk Fest. I’m a sucker for live music. But beyond that, I love how every year the entire town bands together and becomes entranced with music and culture.

• The rain. We’ve had the wettest year on record, and we’ve had a good time complaining about the weather here in Juneau. However, it still hasn’t stopped me from getting outside and getting inspired by the environment (and, to be honest, by the number of people I’ve seen on the trails, it hasn’t stopped you either). We live in a rainforest, and while it’s amazing when the sun comes out, the different shades of blue-greys that cloak the mountains somehow seem to belong in our landscape more than the yellow sun in the sky. And as an artist, I became heavily inspired by the colors, the smells, and the feelings that rain has evoked.


Kerry Howard, Juneau photographer and CCW contributor

• “Letters Aloud - Private Letters Read in Public”: An intimate look at personal lives. Captivating and intriguing and an experience I shared with my dear friend Justine Muench.

• The Juneau Photo Group: A vision of Ron Gile that daily brings to over 7,000 Facebook members around the world, stunning photography of the place we are lucky to call home.

• Northern Lights and Star Trails: A magical moment in time that I was able to capture late in the night of March 1st from Lena Cove (see photo above). Seeing the northern lights is always a gift!

• Amy Fletcher and the Juneau Empire feature, “Art in Unusual Places.” I appreciate Amy’s intuition to establish a regular photo feature that allows us to celebrate the beauty of ordinary things.

• Juneau Jazz and Classics: A local institution that allows us to enjoy and applaud great musical artists and performances. Aren’t we lucky?

Katie Bausler, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, UAS

• Pink Martini: The internationally acclaimed big band had the audience from the first note sung by the aptly stage-named singer Storm Large, who swept onto the Centennial Hall stage like a cyclone.

• Woosh K’s 2nd Annual Fundraiser at Rockwell: An evening of exemplary spoken word poetry (accompanied by good food and drink), performed by some of the most talented poets to emerge from the going-on five-year-old local phenom.

• Rookery Exhibit of Chris Miller’s Fishing Photos from Brittany France and Bristol Bay, Alaska: Miller’s photos are works of art, stories told in the creased faces of fishermen and women on the front lines of one of the most exhilarating and dangerous professions.

• “Sweeney Todd” at Perseverance Theatre: This dark musical was well wrought and executed by a tight ensemble cast enhanced by perfect lighting and a pit of local instrumentalists.

• Alaska Folk Festival Set with Alyssa Overby (washboard and vocals) from the Overby Family Band and Ben Gallagher (piano and vocals): The connection between these two performers was palpable, both musically and emotionally, from heart to art. Gallagher at times channeled Tom Waits.


Clint Farr, Juneau writer and CCW contributor

• Annie Bartholomew: When Andy Kline left KXLL, I worried about who could replace that voice … ‘cause lets face it, Andy’s got a big voice. Annie B took over the reins and I quickly became a fan. She has a unique, comforting cadence; something like an erudite surfer. That she continues the KXLL tradition of introducing Juneau to the best of modern rock, pop, and hip hop is all the better.

• Jazz Fusion Dance Shows: At the end of a session of dance lessons, in December and May, the Jazz Fusion dance school puts on some of the most entertaining shows of the year at Thunder Mountain High School. Jazz Fusion showcases a lot of different dancing styles – jazz, ballet, tap - to high energy modern music. I’m not a dance guy, but I really love this show. Which is good because my kid dances with them and I’ve got to watch the show up to three times. I spend a fortune on roses.

•North Words Writing Symposium in Skagway: Every aspiring writer in Juneau ought to go to this thing at least once, probably twice. It’s a great opportunity to sit and sip coffee with successful writers. Last year the keynote was national bestseller Mary Roach. This year, Pulitzer nominee Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child, will be on faculty. Come on! You sit with these folks and you learn something. Go!

•360 North’s Writers Showcase: KTOO’s Scott Burton has put together a little gem of a show here. Local actors interpret local writers. It’s a wonderful one-hour short burst of performance perfect for parents with the timer running on a babysitter at home.

• Babysitters – I love that Amy Fletcher asks me to contribute to this year-end arts article, but I hardly get out anymore. What little time my wife and I do find is because of babysitters. So I just want to do a shout out for the babysitters of Juneau. You are rare and wonderful gems of youthful capitalistic endeavor. I wish there were more of you.


Sarah Maria Everett, Juneau theater artist

• Back to the Future Day, Oct. 21, 2015: This event was extraordinarily memorable, not only because of its mention in the Juneau arts community, but it was a world-wide phenomenon that was a once-in-a-lifetime golden date. The Gold Town Theater’s Collette Costa and I set the theater up for multiple showings of the ‘Back to the Future’ Trilogy that week, with special appearances by Doc and Marty, to great success.

• Perseverance Theater’s “Othello” and “Sweeney Todd,” both momentous productions that I was so blessed to have worked on this fall season as wardrobe/costumer. The shows were star-studded with hard-working talented actors from New York and all over Alaska. And they blew local and Anchorage audiences away! For me as an artist, I grew and learned tremendously from participating on both shows. Perseverance Theater has such power here in Juneau for the theatrical arts. I look forward to more work with them this next year 2016.

• KRNN and all the fantastic radio programming from KTOO/KRNN/KXLL, as always. Our public radio stations play a very important role in all the local arts and entertainment. Plus, I delight in being the DJ host for Thursday morning 8-10 am Crosscurrents, three years and going!

• Centennial Hall Convention Center: I applaud my coworkers and staff at the hall for being able and willing to host all the fantastic events that come through the doors. From Folk Fest to the Public Market, Centennial Hall is where the biggest and best grace their artistic and business activities.

• Juneau Lyric Opera’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” a sweet very well-directed production that Amanda Filori kindly gave me the pleasure of stage managing and running lights for this winter. JLO sparkle onstage whichever performance they decide to do, and with spirit. With this show in honor of Christmas, they glowed at McPhetres Hall.


Katrina Pearson, Juneau publisher

• “Ed Ricketts from Cannery Row to Sitka, Alaska”: This new book is a multi-collaborative project published by Shorefast Editions. It brings together science, history, memoir, and creative nonfiction by a collection of authors and features illustrations throughout by pen and ink artist Norm Campbell of Sitka.

• Two Birdsalls at Annie Kaill’s: Byron Birdsall, one of Alaska’s best-known artists and his daughter Courtenay Birdsall Clifford presented work at a wonderful celebration and art opening at Annie Kaill’s. Both artists featured work celebrating our Alaskan environments in both original watercolors and prints.

• “The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but a Story,” an evening with John Straley sponsored by the Friends of the Juneau-Douglas City Museum: John Straley spoke to a standing room only audience about writing history and how it deserves a well-told story – rich in detail, motion, and focused drama.

• Shaped By the North: This 49 Writers sponsored panel featured authors Melinda Moustakis, Brendan Isaac Jones, Ernestine Hayes and photographer Ben Huff, and offered a lively and thoughtful discussion about how place shapes artistic work.

• Juneau Cabaret: Juneau Cabaret continues to offer relaxed and fun-filled evenings featuring local accompanists on piano and drums and singers who offer their renditions of standards, show tunes, and jazz.


Amy Fletcher, managing editor, Capital City Weekly

My favorite event of the year was the opening of the Walter Soboleff Building in May. The opening of this gorgeous contemporary building, with its three spectacular public art pieces by David Boxley, Preston Singletary and Robert Davidson, emphasizes our community’s respect for the indigenous cultures of our region -- Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian -- and the rich rewards of embracing more than one cultural viewpoint.

• Northwords Writers Symposium in Skagway. A surprise highlight of this awesome event for me was the readings by fellow attendees -- which included Juneau’s own Clint Farr, Aleria Jensen, Amanda Compton and Richard Stokes, among others. (Clint Farr, please finish that fiction piece.) While I was there I also got to stay overnight in one of the Alderworks Writers Retreat cabins in nearby Dyea as the guest of Jeff and Dorothy Brady -- an amazing new resource for writers and artists of all types. The Bradys are accepting applications for summer 2016 through Jan. 15.

• Reading Stuart Cohen’s “This Is How It Really Sounds.” What I loved about this book, apart from the fact that it’s a great story expertly told, is how life-affirming it is. Though part of the book is set in Juneau, some of my favorite scenes were set in Shanghai, where Cohen’s imagery -- fed by his extensive experience in that part of the world -- and his themes about the shifting nature of reality and identity come together to produce passages of haunting beauty.

• At the risk of unbalancing my list toward the literary arts, I also loved the poetry reading at the governor’s house hosted by First Lady Donna Walker as part of the Tlingit clan conference. The poetry I heard that evening is still in my head -- and, in the way of good poetry, now part of me; from Maria Shaa Tlaa Williams’ beautiful image of her grandfather holding his language on his tongue like a net, to Nora Dauenhauer’s reading of Jessie Dalton’s oratory accompanied by Lance Twitchell and Ishmael Hope, both of whom also read their own poetry. Thank you, Peter Metcalfe, for inviting me to attend.

• CCW contributors. So many great stories, so much care taken in getting them right. Working with these talented, conscientious regional writers and photographers has been a definite highlight for me. In addition to staff writer Mary Catharine Martin and photographer Michael Penn (who are both a joy to work with), this year’s contributors included monthly standout feature writers Bethany Goodrich and Brian Weed, and regular columnists Jim Hale, Laine Welch, Kelly Moore, Jeff Lund and Randi Spray, as well as frequent contributors Richard Radford, Melissa Griffiths, Dick Callahan, Geoff Kirsch, Clint Farr, Brooke Elgie, John d’Armand and many others; along with Arts in Unusual Places photographers Kerry Howard, Brooke Daly, Denise Carroll, Linda Shaw, Kenneth Gill, Suzanna Lessard, Bing Carillo, Bill Merk and others. Also, behind the scenes at the CCW, thanks to Scott Severance, Matt Wilkinson, Angelo Saggiomo, Jack Marshall and Stephanie West for all you do.

Happy New Year!