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Academy offers a forum for emerging talent

Submitted by Lisa Scerbak
Phone: (907) 474-5904


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Jared Post, a fifth grader at Woodriver Elementary School in Fairbanks, works with clay in a ceramics class at the UAF Visual Art Academy.

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Todd Sherman, chairman of the UAF art department, stands outside the Fine Arts Complex at UAF as students work in the background. Sherman is the director of the UAF Visual Art Academy.

UAF photos by Todd Paris

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Sisters Gina, right, and Sarah Rountree from Valdez show off the silver linked jewelry they made during the UAF Visual Art Academy.

Dozens of fledgling artists brought a flood of youthful creativity to the University of Alaska Fairbanks earlier this month during the campus' third annual Visual Art Academy.

The academy, which wrapped up June 22, drew more than 70 young artists in grades 6-12 from across Alaska and several other states. The students spent two weeks with professional artists and UAF faculty members learning techniques in media from computer animation to metalsmithing, printmaking to ceramics.

The academy and student tuition assistance was sponsored, in part, by BP and ConocoPhillips, Patrick Mechanical, Design Alaska and the Usibelli Foundation

Faculty included past and present UAF art instructors Inari Kylänen, Somer Hahm, Hanna Stevenson, Hunter and Amelia Stamps, Jack Finch, and visiting artist Jesse Hensel. The summer arts camp was organized by Todd Sherman, associate professor of art in printmaking at UAF and chair of the department.

The academy is part of UAF Summer Sessions and is a fairly new addition. Previously, the UAF Summer Fine Arts Camp had a popular run for more than two decades. That program ended in 2001 due to budget constraints. Sherman dedicated himself to bringing back the visual arts aspect after he saw the success of the UAF Summer Music Academy four years ago.

"One of the reasons I wanted to start this back up was because my kids went there and they really enjoyed it,"Ě said Sherman, "I also used to teach [at the Summer Fine Arts Camp] and saw all the wonderful things that happened in a few short weeks. It was great to see kids catch that spark of inspiration.

"The academy fills a void in this town for fine arts,"Ě he said.