Distinguished Artist, $40,000 award: for a mature artist who has devoted decades to creative practice
Wayne Price is a Tlingit master carver who is renowned for the artistry and precision of his formline work. He has restored and duplicated historic totem poles and structures as well as created numerous original designs. He helped revive the knowledge and techniques required to carve traditional oceangoing canoes. Price also teaches traditional arts as a path to healing, sobriety and well-being. He was born in Juneau and grew up in Haines, where he began carving at Alaska Indian Arts in his teens. His Tlingit name is Aayaank’i.
Fellowships, $18,000 grants: for mid-career or mature artists to focus energy and attention for one year on developing their creative work
Absolute Zero: The artists will work with sexual assault survivors on a sculptural installation in Western Alaska. The sculptures will make sound as a metaphor for breaking silence. A film documenting the process will amplify the convergence of voices calling for “absolute zero” sexual violence.
Absolute Zero team: Joshua Albeza Branstetter, documentary filmmaker; Sarah Davies, sculptor and project director; and Ed Mighell, ceramic engineer. Rachelle Branstetter serves as project manager. Davies previously received a Project Award in 2015. The group is based in Anchorage.
James Dommek Jr. will reinterpret his great-grandfather’s Iñupiaq stories to continue the tradition of storytelling and increase accessibility to youth through audio and video recordings and animation. He will develop “The Fantastic Alaskan” podcast as a platform for stories and music. Dommek was born and raised in Kotzebue. He lives in Eagle River.
Christy NaMee Eriksen, a multidisciplinary poet, will create a new body of work focused on her teen years as a Korean adoptee. She will explore themes of loss and identity in different forms: poetry, spoken word performance and a novel-in-verse for young adults. She previously received Project Awards in 2013 and 2016. She lives in Juneau.
Emma Hildebrand is an Athabascan artist. She will purchase tanned hides, quills and beads that will allow her to create new works and teach the traditional knowledge and craftsmanship that she learned from her mother and other Alaska Native elders. She is from Northway, Alaska, and now lives in Anchorage.
Emma Hill is inspired by her journeys this winter in more than 30 national parks, hiking and biking, climbing and camping, and writing and recording melodies, poetry and potential lyrics. She plans to focus those experiences into a cohesive work, “Park Songs,” with music, poetry, and images that immerse audiences in the power of natural spaces and underscore their importance in our culture. She lives in Anchorage.
Linda Infante Lyons incorporates sacred elements from Sugpiaq, or Alutiiq, and Russian traditions in her iconic portraits and Alaska landscape paintings. She will create a new body of work celebrating the strength and spiritual power of contemporary rural Alaska Native youth. She previously received an Individual Artist Project Award in 2013 and a Fellowship in 2016. She lives in Anchorage.
Cynthia Morelli explores femininity in woodfired clay sculptural works. Her anagama kiln is one of only two in Alaska. She will advance her mastery of firing techniques through study with female mentors and will enhance her online presence. She lives in Homer.
Holly Mititquq Nordlum elevates Alaska Native people through practice and teaching of traditional tattooing. She plans to add to her knowledge by visiting Canadian Inuit communities, documenting stories to share through Indigenous social media networks. She previously received a Project Award in 2013. She lives in Anchorage.
Kristy Summers creates contemporary sculpture in mixed media: cast and fabricated metal, wood, resin, concrete, found objects. She will construct a home studio that will allow her to produce and share new work influenced by Alaska. She lives in Anchorage.
Jennifer Younger is renowned for her copper, silver and spruce root jewelry inspired by Tlingit formline design. For a planned solo exhibit, she is excited to design and create new works of art beyond jewelry that honor her heritage. She is from Yakutat and now lives in Sitka.
Project Awards, $7,500 grants: for emerging, mid-career and mature artists for specific, short-term projects
Annie Bartholomew says “a banjo is a time machine”. She will record an album of original songs inspired by women of the Klondike Gold Rush on a new custom instrument, using Alaska and personal history to explore themes of sexual assault, survival and resilience. She lives in Juneau.
Mandy Bernard’s fiber art explores themes of interconnection and communication. She will create two new bodies of work: diptych sculptures employing dissonant fibers and textiles, and a wearable art collection integrating paper-cut accessories. She lives in Homer.
Sarah Campen’s choreography employs an Alaska-specific movement vocabulary. She plans to create a multimedia dance performance documenting the physical language of salmon processing, integrating interviews with commercial fishers. Campen is a first-generation Alaskan, with German and Danish ancestry. She grew up in Sitka and on Killisnoo Island. She lives on Taas Daa (Lemesurier Island) in Icy Strait, in Huna Tlingit territory.
Nick Carpenter is a singer/songwriter who makes music with the band Medium Build. He describes his songs as honest and deep, but also danceable and fun. He’s planning a tour to the Lower 48 to show that Alaska music isn’t just for Alaska. He lives in Anchorage.
Corinna Cook is working on a book-length collection of lyric essays built around research into the art, changing ecology and often-painful history of Southeast Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. She will dialogue with works of art to reflect on how we can flourish together in a changing North. She is based in Juneau.
Rachel DeTemple is confronting the “grass ceiling” limiting opportunities for women in bluegrass. She will record an album of original songs about claiming voice, featuring herself on fiddle and vocals, singing about the experiences of women. She lives in Fairbanks.
Michael Dickerson, a composer, explores relationships between people and place through sound. He plans to hold concerts of original music in Alaska’s abandoned military structures, employing their unique acoustics and documenting the work on film. He lives in Anchorage.
Somer Hahm wants to stretch the idea of where paintings can live. She will add three barn quilts — vibrant geometric paintings of quilt blocks — to her existing Far North Quilt Trail in Fairbanks, enlivening the visual and cultural landscape of the city that is her home.
Mary Hayden focuses on detail and craftsmanship in hand-stitched leather goods that are functional as well as artistic. She will purchase an industrial sewing machine and invest in training to expand her skills and the capacity and range of her work. She lives in Homer.
Lily Hope will elevate her weaving through research on traditional Chilkat design. Her upcoming show will feature ancient and original robe patterns collaged with historical documents, demonstrating how Chilkat weaving records Indigenous history. She previously received a Project Award in 2017. Hope lives in Juneau.
Huitzilin (Hummingbird, in Nahuatl language): Bryan Allen Fierro and Don Rearden will write an original screenplay for a biopic based on Saúl Armendáriz, aka Cassandro el Exotico. It will explore how Armendáriz, who is openly gay and Indigenous, has challenged prescribed roles in lucha libre, a hypermasculine Mexican wrestling tradition. Both writers previously received Project Awards, Fierro in 2016 and Rearden in 2014. The artists live in Anchorage. Rearden grew up in the Bethel area on the Kuskokwim River.
Nelson Kempf will produce an album of original songs that he describes as a sonic exploration. He wants to better understand himself within a wider context of Alaska cultural history while reaching toward decolonization and environmental stewardship. He lives in Kenai.
Kodiak Collective: illustrator Natasha Zahn Pristas and writer Sara Loewen will create a mobile installation reflecting the history and circular nature of life in the Kodiak Archipelago. They will integrate literature and art in broadsides to spark connection around shared community values and experiences. They both live in Kodiak.
Ethan Lauesen’s prints explore Alaska Native and LGBTQ+ identity, using Tlingit formline images and figurative distortions to express belonging and rejection in Indigenous culture. They will create work for a solo show promoting healing around these themes. They live in Fairbanks.
Alyssa Yáx̱ Ádi Yádi London creates cultural content celebrating Indigenous people. She will produce five episodes of “Culture Story” for national broadcast television and online viewing, featuring Alaska Native people from different cultures and regions. She lives in Anchorage.
Sarah Manriquez will expand on her documentary photo project challenging stereotypes around homelessness in Alaska. Her work involves close collaboration with people experiencing homelessness to ensure they are active participants in telling their stories. She lives in Fairbanks and hopes to make new work in Juneau.
Ree Nancarrow is a fiber artist whose work is informed by science. Purchase of new equipment will help her to tell complex stories in eight-to-10 large wall quilts about climate change and its consequences on Alaska’s ecosystems. She lived just outside Denali National Park for more than 50 years including a time before the Parks Highway. She now lives in Fairbanks.
Sean Northover’s music reflects his Jamaican-American roots. He will produce an album of original songs, incorporating hip-hop, R&B, jazz, soul, reggae, pop and folk influences. He hopes “to spread love by showing people who look like me (and those who don’t) what we are all capable of.” He lives in Anchorage.
Aaron Phillips, a carver, enjoys learning and telling stories about Alaska Native people in wood. He will purchase materials and equipment. He hopes to also travel to Juneau to study with mentors to advance his artistry. He lives in Anchorage.
Deborah Schildt produces film and video content. She will create “Losing Ground,” an educational podcast and Instagram series about global impacts of Alaska’s melting permafrost, featuring stories from Alaskans on the front lines of change. She’s traveled across Alaska for almost 30 years and lives in Anchorage.
Tent City Press is a printmakers’ collective. The group will invest in new equipment, software and supplies to enhance artistic quality and expand self-publishing capacity. Members are eager to bring studio access to a wider community of creatives. Tent City Press team: Bryce Nicolasa Fredrick, sole proprietor and studio manager; Levi Werner, project lead; and core members Will Dowd, Jesus Landin-Torrez, Daniel Sparks, Shoko Takahashi and Jessi Thornton. The group is based in Anchorage.
Mark Tetpon’s original hoop masks tell Iñupiaq stories in ivory, wood, fossilized whalebone and baleen. He will purchase materials that will allow him to expand his creative range, producing larger masks with bronzed clay elements. He previously received a Project Award in 2012. Tetpon lives in Anchorage.
Tamara Wilson’s mixed-media installations combine domestic objects and construction materials. She will complete “The Lemonade Stand,” a retrofitted trailer providing a mobile venue for experimental, installation and performance art. She will feature artists virtually between installations. She lives in Fairbanks.
Crystal Worl is a multimedia artist who will collaborate with other artists and clan members on a mural of Elizabeth Peratrovich in downtown Juneau. Worl, who is Tlingit of the Lukaax.adi clan, Athabascan and Yup’ik, is proud to honor the civil rights leader and fellow member of her clan. She lives in Juneau.
TJ Sgwaayaans Young continues his family tradition of carving. He will create a replica of a rare Haida bow housed at the Anchorage Museum. He is excited to work with an unusual hardwood — yew — and to revive the knowledge needed to carve traditional Haida weaponry. He previously received an Individual Artist Fellowship in 2015. Young is from Hydaburg and now lives in Anchorage.
[Download: List of 2020 Individual Artist Award recipients ]