Jamar Hill, founder of RBI Alaska supporting youth baseball and softball, is one of the Alaskans featured in the Black in Alaska media project. He says: “To live in Anchorage, you really have to be comfortable with diversity.”

Rasmuson Foundation is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition on Friday, May 6, at the Anchorage Museum showcasing work created for Black in Alaska, a multimedia project that launched earlier this year.

Black in Alaska shares stories of Alaskans who are Black through interviews, photos and short videos. Photographer Jovell Rennie leads the creative team. Others on the team are producer Willie Dalton, videographer Thomas McIntyre, and writers Mayowa Aina and Sydney Stokes. An advisory committee of Black leaders guides the work.

For the exhibit opening, photos of 15 featured participants are on display in the museum’s South Hall. Related videos play on a continuous loop. Photos of additional participants will rotate into the exhibit throughout 2022.

Story elements are shared on Facebook and Instagram and live on a dedicated website, blackinalaska.org.

Participants in Black in Alaska are from all over the state and represent diverse backgrounds in age, gender and socioeconomic status. Individuals featured in the exhibit’s first iteration include sports mentor Jamar Hill, business consultant Traci Gatewood, retired chemistry professor Lois Lester, firefighter André Horton, small business owner Lamas Sloss, and public radio reporter Wesley Early. Also featured are Brianna Grey, Milo Griffin, Dorothy Jones, Sherry Patterson, Chris Bryant, Löki Tobin, Marcus Wilson, Stephen Blanchett and Phillip Blanchett. Dozens more stories are in the works.

Nominate someone or share your own story for possible inclusion in the project here.

The project was formed after a meeting in January 2020 with Alaska Black leaders on critical issues and how the Foundation could be a close partner. Some noted the need for more positive media about and by Black Alaskans.

At the same time the Black in Alaska exhibit opens, Rennie’s work is being featured in a separate Anchorage Museum show called “The Place I Call Home.”

Sponsors for the project, in addition to Rasmuson Foundation, are Akela Space, Alaska Airlines, The Alaska Community Foundation and Alaska Humanities Forum.

Through storytelling, this project aims to dismantle stereotypes and create a deeper connection between the Black community and fellow Alaskans. Please stop by and appreciate the power of story as you learn about your neighbors.

Questions or comments? Connect at info@BlackInAlaska.org.


About the Foundation
Rasmuson Foundation aims to promote a better life for all Alaskans. Main funding areas are solutions to homelessness, health care, the arts, organizational and community development and human services including projects to address domestic violence, child abuse and services for seniors and people with disabilities. The Foundation was created in 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband E.A. Rasmuson.