Rasmuson Foundation Awards Grants to Alaska Artists
ANCHORAGE - A Fairbanks landscape painter is getting $25,000 from the Rasmuson Foundations as part of the charitable organization’s grants to top Alaskan artists.
In all, 37 Alaskan artists were recognized Tuesday in a ceremony at the Center for the Performing Arts.
Fairbanks landscape painter, Alaska art historian and former professor Kessler Woodward won the top honor from the Rasmuson Foundation for Alaskan artists this year.
For the recipient of the $25,000 Distinguished Artist Award, it was a bittersweet moment.
"My dear late wife Missy badgered me to apply for this award for the last five years of her life, and I told her I could never do that, I wouldn't, I couldn't bring myself to do that, and that wasn't going to happen and it drove her crazy."
The Rasmuson Foundation has been recognizing Alaskan artists since 2003, distributing 267 grants totaling $1.9 million.
"The purpose of these awards is to allow artists to seek a variety of creative opportunities, including providing them with the time necessary to focus on their creative work,” Diane Kaplan of the foundation told a small audience Tuesday.
The awards cover almost the full aesthetic spectrum – visual and wearable art, storytelling, poetry, play writing, and music composition and recording.
Karina Moeller, a native of Greenland who is part of the veteran Yup’ik band Pamyua, got a $12,000 fellowship to record a solo album.
"A lot of the songs are written for my children. I have three. So I think the album is going to focus on that, not necessarily being a mother, but you know certain songs about raising my children, and then there's songs about being pregnant and a song for my son."
Thanks to the Rasmuson Foundation, dozens of Alaskans with the creative impulse don't have to be impulsive when the muse calls, they'll be ready.
Below: On June 5, 2012, Fairbanks artist Kes Woodward was named the Rasmuson Foundation 2012 Distinguished Artist, the ninth Alaskan to receive the award.