For Immediate Release
Contact: Cassandra Stalzer, 907-334-0520

Anchorage, AK – Rasmuson Foundation has announced the selection of four artists from the Lower 48 who will each spend eight weeks in residence this fall, at arts organizations in Alaska. These residencies take place as part of the Foundation’s Artist Residency Program. The artists selected for the program include:

Rowan Renee, an artist from Brooklyn, New York who works primarily with photography, sculpture and installation, will be in residence at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. Rowan was nominated by McColl Center for Art + Innovation, and writes: “Art can be a tool to transform trauma that may be personal or cultural, where making is an act of empowerment. In this way, I believe that artists have the ability to impact culture and steer social change by affecting people at the core of consciousness.”

Courtney M. Leonard, a multidisciplinary artist from the Shinnecock Nation of Long Island, New York, will be in residence at the Native Art Center at University of Alaska Fairbanks and was nominated by the Santa Fe Art Institute. Leonard pursued art and museum studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts (AFA 2000), Alfred University (BFA 2002), and the Rhode Island School of Design (MFA 2008). Her current work explores and documents historical ties to water, whales and material sustainability.

Italian by birth, Claudio Orso-Giacone is a printmaker, paper artist, and mask and puppet maker from Oberlin, Ohio. He will be in residence at the Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer and was nominated by Zygote Press, who praised his ability to invigorate communities with his “dynamic and large personality and with his very thoughtful, detailed, large-scale wood cuts.”

Nikki Zielinski is a poet based in Cleveland, Ohio. Her work has appeared widely in venues including the Bellingham Review, Cincinnati Review, Meridian, Southern Humanities Review, Vinyl, PANK, and more. Since completing her MFA at the University of Oregon, she has received prizes and fellowships from Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio Center, Bridgeport Arts Center, Willapa Bay AiR, and Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, in addition to others. Recently, she has focused on ways that “violence, both overt and institutional, shapes perception of one’s community and environment as well as interaction with others.” Nominated by Djerassi Resident Artists Program, she will be in residence at the Island Institute in Sitka.

Through its grantmaking strategies, Rasmuson Foundation honors the merit and significance of a life dedicated to serious artistic exploration and growth. The Foundation believes that an artist’s energy, ideas and creative drive cannot bear fruit without periods of time devoted to experimentation, education and personal reflection.

Rasmuson Foundation launched the Artist Residency Program in 2013, which sends four Alaska artists to the Lower 48 and brings four Lower 48 artists to Alaska each year for 60-day residencies. The Artist Residency Program is intended to support the creative growth of Alaska’s artists and arts organizations, expose Alaskans to new work and creative processes of Lower 48 artists, and introduce Lower 48 communities to unique Alaska perspectives through extended engagements with artists.

About the Foundation

Rasmuson Foundation was created in May 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband “E.A.” Rasmuson. Through grantmaking and initiatives, the Foundation is a catalyst to promote a better life for all Alaskans.