The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Art amid disaster is theme of museum exhibit

Renowned Alaska artists featured in original show from Valdez


Valdez Star photo

The human face embraced by turbulent waters is the theme of this ceramic piece titled "Tsunami Wave" by Maygen Janetta.

A two-year effort is bearing fruit at the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive.

Two weeks ago, the exhibit "Communities, Disaster and Change" opened at the museum's Egan St location, featuring what is billed as original works by top Alaskan artists with the running theme of disaster.

"You know, natural disasters come in all shapes and sizes," said Patricia Relay, the museum's executive director, as she gave a tour of the art, which will be on display at the museum through September 9, before it begins the Alaska-leg of a year and a half tour, which includes museums in Homer, Cordova, Fairbanks and Juneau, with stops in Hawaii and Oregon along the way. "We're telling not only local stories, but international stories."

The catalog published by the museum in support of the exhibit says the invited artists were "...not regaled with tales of the 1964 quake, or even information about it, and the charge given to them was very open-ended."

The resulting artworks reflect that free hand given.

Relay, a 2014 recipient of the Governor's Award for the Humanities, hit on the idea of the exhibit two years ago while planning events around the 50 year anniversary of the Good Friday Earthquake.

The show is funded not only the museum, but by grants from Western Arts Federation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Valdez, the Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.

It was guest-curated by Patricia Wolfe and Georgia Blue.


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