• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 59s

Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Tennys Owens made Anchorage her canvas

By John Tracy 5:37 PM December 15, 2016

Thursday, Anchorage’s premier art gallery Artique closed it’s doors for the last time, after 45 years in business.

Artique is the love child of owner Tennys Owens.

If the modern history of Anchorage could be painted on canvas, Tennys Owens and her husband, Tom, would be primary colors. The Air Force sent the young couple to Alaska in 1967; Tom Owens as a JAG attorney and Tennys Owens as an entrepreneur in the making.

In 1971 she opened a 900 square foot space in Anchorage’s Central Building, as the first real gallery where Alaska artists could display their work.

Tennys Owens is not an artist herself, but if you’ve been in Anchorage for any length of time you’ve seen her work.

She started print for a purpose and has raised money for more than a hundred causes over the years, from breast cancer awareness to the Anchorage Symphony. She sold prints to raise money for the fountains at the Loussac Library for Alaska’s silver anniversary, just as she’s commemorated every significant state anniversary from Alaska’s 50th to Anchorage’s centennial.

Former mayor Rick Mystrom put her in charge of Anchorage’s millennium celebration. Mystrom told me that if you enjoy Anchorage’s 4th of July parade, thank Tennys Owens, who resurrected the parade as a way to mark the millennium.

Tennys Owens says you can trace the history of her gallery, with the arc of the oil industry.

She started Artique two years after the discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay.

As oil boomed, so did the art community and when it busted in the 80s, 90 percent of Anchorage’s art galleries disappeared with the economy. Tennys Owens says Artique only survived because she supported it with revenue from another business.

Staring into the face of another downturn, perhaps deeper and longer than anything we’ve seen before, Tennys Owens says now seems like the right time to move on.

Economists use statistics to predict the future. But I’d say you probably can’t do much better than the instincts of Tennys Owens.

She says she hasn’t decided what she’ll do next, but says she’s not leaving Anchorage — and that’s good for all of us.

Thank you Tennys Owens, and your devoted staff, for making Anchorage richer and more vibrant than it could have ever been without you.

John’s opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.

Latest Stories

  • Suspect’s struggle over gun with Anchorage police leads to attempted-murder charges

    by Chris Klint on Jul 21, 8:51

    A man who Anchorage police say fired a gun during an altercation with two officers earlier this week has been arrested on a series of charges, including attempted murder. Court records show Pagopago Beefcake Lelilio, 29, also facing seven other counts of assault, weapons misconduct and reckless endangerment in the Wednesday encounter. A criminal complaint […]

  • Hawaii starting campaign to help people plan for North Korea attack

    by CBS News on Jul 21, 7:42

    HONOLULU — The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is kicking off an educational campaign aimed at helping residents and visitors figure out what to do if the state is targeted in a nuclear missile attack from North Korea, reports CBS Honolulu affiliate KGMB. The agency said the threat to the islands from the rogue nation is […]

  • Dirt at burned Juneau playground safe, city engineers say

    by Associated Press on Jul 21, 7:32

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – City engineers have determined the dirt at a Juneau playground that burned down in April is not contaminated. The Juneau Empire reported Thursday that after crews finished cleaning up the Twin Lakes Playground, city engineers tested the dirt and found it to be safe. The next step is reseeding the area […]

  • News

    1 dead in Glenn Highway wreck near Sutton

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jul 21, 6:24

    A driver was killed Thursday night during a single-vehicle crash on the Glenn Highway near Sutton, which remains under investigation by Alaska State Troopers. A brief online dispatch about the crash at Mile 68 of the Glenn, released early Friday, said troopers responded to the scene at about 10:15 p.m. Thursday. “Investigation revealed the vehicle […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check: Sen. Murkowski vote to not repeal Obamacare

    by John Tracy on Jul 20, 22:58

    Senator Lisa Murkowski was one of three who said she would not vote to repeal Obamacare without a plan to replace it. Her party accused her of breaking the promise she made to repeal Obamacare. In this week’s Reality Check, John Tracy says Senator Murkowski is one of the few Senate Republicans keeping their promise […]

  • News

    Linda McMahon visits Alaska on her ‘Ignite’ tour

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jul 20, 22:29

    When you think of Alaska you may think oil — not so, says one of President Donald Trump’s cabinet members, who’s in Alaska touring small businesses. Linda McMahon is the head of the U.S. small business administration. Thursday, she visited 49th State Brewing Company in Anchorage. It’s part of her “Ignite” tour, visiting all 68 offices […]

  • News

    Woman thinks people who helped her get to the hospital likely stole her car

    by Steffi Lee on Jul 20, 22:24

    Jessica Clark says the people who helped her with her medical emergency, were likely the ones who drove off with her car. “I’m just grateful they took me to the hospital when they did,” she said. Clark said she pulled over late Tuesday night near Boniface Parkway when she started to realize she needed medical […]

  • News

    Anchorage could face $20 million deficit next year, city departments told to prepare for cuts

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jul 20, 21:44

    Anchorage could be looking at a budget deficit as high as $20 million next year, according to Municipal Management and Budget Director Lance Wilber. He said the number is still a guess, but city departments are being told to prepare for cuts. Wilber said he’s asked each department, with the exception of “first responders” (police […]