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Exhibit showcases artists' interpretations of Denali

Submitted by Kerynn Fisher
Phone: 907-474-6941


Photo caption below.
National Park Service/Neil Blake
Ron Senungetuk's experience as a 2008 artist-in-residence in Denali National Park and Preserve inspired his carved and painted maple panel "East Fork Cabin."
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Since 2002, Denali National Park and Preserve's artists-in-residence have been capturing their impressions of the park on canvas and paper, in sculptural form, and in fiber and mixed media works. Beginning this weekend, visitors can see their work in a new special exhibit at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. "Ascension: Exploring the Art of Denali" opens Saturday, Oct. 10 and runs through Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010 in the museum's special exhibit gallery.

Each year, from a pool of dozens of applicants from across the United States and abroad, the park selects three or four artists for 10-day residencies. The artists use the park's historic patrol cabin on the East Fork of the Toklat River as their home base during the residencies, during which time they create original artworks on site or record thoughts and ideas to take home to their studios. Following their stay at the cabin, the artists donate an original art piece inspired by this experience to the National Park Service.

"We want to build a collection that captures the park's beautiful and complex ecosystems in the full range of artistic expressions," says Annie Duffy, exhibit guest curator and the arts coordinator for Alaska Geographic, the nonprofit partner that manages the artist-in-residence program with the National Park Service. The Fairbanks exhibit gives visitors a chance to see the foundation of that collection for the first time in a venue outside the park.

"Ascension: Exploring the Art of Denali" features pieces made by 20 of the park's 26 former artists-in-residence, including sculptor Ron Senungetuk, fiber artist Ree Nancarrow and painter Kesler Woodward, who was the park's first artist-in-residence and has served as an advisor to the program since its inception. In addition to the works by the artists-in-residence, items from the museum's fine arts, ethnology and history collections provide historical context and insight to help visitors better understand the connections between the art and the Denali region's people and ecosystems.

Duffy will present a free public lecture on the exhibit and its development on Thursday, Nov. 19. The exhibit is a collaborative project of the museum, the National Park Service and Alaska Geographic. Other collaborators include Denali Arts and Humanities Alliance, Denali Borough School District, Denali Education Center and Murie Science and Learning Center. Additional support for the exhibit comes from the Arthur J Schaible Cultural Enrichment Fund, Arctic Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, City of Fairbanks Hotel-Motel Tax Fund (re-grant by the Fairbanks Arts Association) and by contributors to the museum exhibition enhancement fund.

Admission to "Ascension: Exploring the Art of Denali" is included in the museum's general admission price: $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $5 for youth 7-17 and free for children 6 and under. Museum members also receive free admission. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sundays. Information on the museum's programs and exhibits is available at 907-474-7505 and online at www.uaf.edu/museum.

CONTACT: Kerynn Fisher, University of Alaska Museum of the North communications coordinator, at 907-474-6941 or 907-378-2559. Annie Duffy, exhibit guest curator, at 907-474-8133 or aduffy@alaskageographic.org.

NOTE TO EDITORS: High-resolution images of selected works from the exhibit are available.

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