Artist in Residence Highlights
Here you can explore some artist highlights from 2020 and 2021.
2020 Artist Profiles (click on name to expand)
- Aleesa Ann McCarthy
Aleesa McCarthy is a local Juneau artist who participated in the Alaska State Parks Artist-in-Residence Program during the Summer of 2020. She stayed at the Ernest Gruening Cabin for her residency, and was delighted to display some work she started during that time on the walls at the Northern Tea House in Juneau.
The work displayed there were her latest creative expression combining photography, digital art and gouache on 13"x19" watercolor paper, and are unlike her previous shows displaying acrylic on canvas. Most of these works were developed from her stay at the cabin and inspired by the beautiful scenery from hikes and adventures around the area.
You can follow along on Instagram or learn more about Aleesa's art at www.aleesaann.com
- Dorolyn Alpher
Dorolyn Alpher is an art therapist and registered nurse who believes that art making is life enhancing and healing. Currently, she exhibits her work at Juneau Artist Gallery, a co-op in Juneau Alaska.
"I engage in art making at every opportunity I get. My work focuses on fiber art sculptures as well as monotype and encaustic. I focus on process and am ever on the lookout for 'happy accidents'."
- Helene Fischman
Helene Fischman received her BFA in Painting from Boston University, her MS in Education from Cal State East Bay, and her MFA in Art (Social Practice) from UW-Milwaukee.
Focusing on the dynamic interaction of humans with their environment, Helene has innovated site-specific artist residencies in Europe and the US, and has been selected as an artist-in-residence (AIR) at many National and State Parks. Helene is the recipient of local and national grants for exhibition and travel, including the 2018 Puffin Foundation Grant for performance and the 2019 Meg Hunt Artist Residency Program at Wrangell Mountain Center, Alaska.
Currently, Helene is interested in the performance of identity in a cross-disciplinary, collaborative atmosphere. She leads a collective of artists and writers in Milwaukee called "Draw Write Here!" with whom she produced, over the past two years, a three part digital book series called The People's History of the Pandemic. Visit Helene and see this work at www.helenefischman.com.
- Kathy Rousso
Kathryn Rousso is a fiber artist living in Ketchikan, Alaska. Her influences and inspirations come from southeast Alaska and Central America. Delores Churchill, Cheryl Samuel, Dorica Jackson and many Guatemalan net-bag artists including Nicolás Tomas Sambrano, Ermiño Herman Gonzales Ramirez, Lucas Puzul Primero, Fransisco Mejia Puzul were instrumental in laying the foundation of her work through their teachings. Her love of the outdoors, exercise, travel, adventure, and working with her hands contribute to her artistic journey and passion for textile exploration in many places. To learn more about her background and work visit her website: kathrynrousso.com
A description of Kathy's Art inspired by her stay at the Gruening:
On March 16th 2020 I boarded the last flight out of Guatemala before the county shut down. This was the beginning of the reality of life in a pandemic. Upon returning home I joined the Facebook group "A View From My Window" where photos taken in quarantine from all over the world are posted. This was the idea behind my work as an Alaska State Park artist in residence at the Ernest Gruening cabin, north of Juneau.
The cabin view through the eight large picture windows is spectacular and inspired me to create a basket. I took a series of photos of each window view, transformed them into drawings, and eventually geometric representation of the trees and mountains, which I wove into the top band. My work combines Guatemalan net bag knotless netting with Northwest Coast basketry and Ravenstail twining techniques. I use red and yellow cedar bark respectively harvested and processed near Ketchikan. I also incorporate woven abaca (banana leaf fiber from the Philippines) and round reed.
Every morning I walked to the harbor, took photos and talked to people. I also went many times to boy scout beach and around Eagle beach. Exploring and absorbing the local environment is a passion and I was not disappointed. Such a beautiful area.
I traveled to Juneau on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry. This turned into an adventure, as the Matanuska was cancelled due to a mechanical and the Kenicott arrived in Juneau at 2 a.m., so it was a very dark drive, and entry into the cold cabin. The ferry schedule determined the residence length, and being the end of September, on the cusp of winter schedule, it was a bit shorter than desired. The weather was not great. I spent a lot of time wondering how to dye yellow cedar bark grey, the dominate sky and water color during my visit, but in the end decided not to dye the bark. The darker color (tree trunks) is red cedar bark.
2021 Artist in Residence Program
- Melissa Bixby
Melissa Bixby was born and raised in Soldotna, Alaska. Her fascination with sea creatures began, as a child, with trips to the beach and tidal pools in places where nature was nearly untouched and awe inspiring, such as Alaska's China Poot Bay, Cook Inlet and Seward.
After earning her Masters in Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of Idaho, she moved to Port Townsend where she still lives and where she began to reacquaint herself with the art of Batik.
Melissa's creative expression is brought to life through abstract, simplified and vibrant depictions of some of her favorite ocean dwelling creatures. With the use of large sweeping strokes, bright blended colors and defining textures, she shares her vision of, not only majestic sea life, but all of our natural world from which she draws inspiration.
Her hope is to take this intricate, ancient art form, simplify it and use it to express and share her admiration for our world and sea life in particular.
- Keith Boggs
Keith Boggs grew up primarily in Utah, then moved to Montana for college and graduate school majoring in Ecology. He worked in Alaska and Montana in the fields of biological weed control, wetland science and ecosystem succession, ending his last 20 years as the Director of the Alaska Center for Conservation Science at UAA. During these years he spent every summer doing field work across Alaska and Montana and was often based out of Native American villages.
Upon retiring he started oil painting landscapes and wildlife. Through his work as an ecologist he had always observed vegetation and animals in relation to soil and geology. His artwork, consequently, includes the entire ecosystem. To see or purchase paintings contact: Aurora Fine Art in downtown Anchorage, Alaska (737 W 5th Ave) http://www.aurorafineart-alaska.com/
- Marybeth Kiczenski
Marybeth Kiczenski is a Great Lakes based adventurer and photographer of all things that inspire her. Whether cars, animals, the northern lights, or the sky - it is all fair game! "However, I am a *little* biased towards the night sky and all its glory. Which plays a heavy role in the recent dive into Northern Lights Chasing!" she said.
Marybeth's photography journey began in the Automotive world. Always at the track, capturing those nuanced moments of a car under extreme pressure - the tire wrinkle, the flames exerted through the exhaust right before launch!
Beyond racing, Marybeth is an Automotive Product Specialist that travels on the show circuit. This job has taken her to virtually all corners of the United States and is credited to sparking extreme wanderlust. "This world is full of beauty - just waiting to be discovered!", says MaryBeth. That's where the shift from automotive photography to landscapes happened. What a difference, too! From high-speed split-second reactions to minute long exposures of the night sky. Could not be further apart and she enjoys the challenges of both!
- Amy Mackinaw
Amy Mackinaw arrived in Alaska with her husband in 1992 for a short stint in his military career, but Alaska drew them in and became their home.
Her life as a fiber artist began in childhood when her mother, also a fiber artist, taught her to sew. Since then, she has been stitching, hand-dyeing, printing, quilting and beading. Alaska's landscapes and wildlife inspire her work. "It's a joy to create colors and textures in fabric that become small art quilts and home and wearable accessories," says Amy.
Adventures in Alaska's wide open country or even a walk in the birch woods near her workshop always offer something new to discover.
- Yumi Kawaguchi
Yumi is a woodcut printmaker, originally from Niigata, Japan who moved to Fairbanks Alaska in 2001.
She creates her images by traditional woodcut printmaking process; hand-carve the woodblocks, apply ink on the blocks and hand-press onto Japanese papers (Washi). Many of her woodcuts have multiple layers of colors printed off the blocks.
A Bachelor's degree in Wildlife Biology and living in Alaska for 20 years has greatly inspired her art. "My favorite subjects are those which not many people recognize or have ever seen. I also love making art of what I love; camping, gathering, birding, hiking, and life with dogs. That connects me to those who share what we treasure in our life."
- Rhonda Scott
Rhonda Scott is a life-long Alaskan, talented artist and involved community member who works on and with many boards, nonprofits, and individuals.
Her bright and fun creations reflect the Alaskan spirit of celebration in every season. She works in many diverse mediums with an eclectic assortment of fun, colorful creations. "My range includes 'serious masterpiece' art, Alaskan Iconic Art, African Art, portraits, flora and fauna, scenery, abstracts and still life. And wall and window paintings (just for fun!)."
Rhonda is a member of the Alaska Art Guild, Ak Watercolor Society, the Fairbanks Arts Ass., and the Kachemak Bay Watercolor Society. You can find her work in many venues, both local and international. These venues are in homes, private collections, and hospitals. She donates 10% of her annual art sales to Alzheimer's Resource of Alaska, in memory of her mom, Patricia Versnick.
2023 Artist in Residence Program
Dale started life in the midwest of the United States. During his 20s' and 30s, he worked in the music business as a touring musician and roadie for the Violent Femmes. This gig took him on journeys all over the world. Highlights included a show at the North Pole and playing at a Woodstock reunion for 350,000 people. After leaving the road, he went to school, eventually earning an MFA from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. His thesis project, "Bump on a Line," was a series of images produced in collaboration with a man going through the final agonizing stages of cystic fibrosis. Every day, they took a photograph as he waited for the call, summoning him to the hospital for his double lung transplant. ( He got the transplant and is still with us )
Dale practices zazen meditation, which is very enlightening :) Meditation has opened doors of perception, often reflected in his work. Sometimes, this is presented directly with phrases added to the image or title, but more often, it's more nuanced when a simple, clear composition is present. The piece submitted to the parks, Continuation, is one such piece. Today, Dale lectures at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, plays music, sits zazen, visits friends, and takes pictures.