Students from West Homer Elementary twisted and turned their way through the “Faces and Figurines of West Homer,” as part of an April 4 First Friday showing around town. With funding provided by the Alaska State Council on the Arts and several other entities, the Artists in the Schools program brought local artist Lynn Naden to West Homer in February to teach all 240 students “human gesture drawing, sculpture and painting.”
Naden worked with the students three times a week.
“They produced incredible figurines of themselves, and they dressed them to reflect their own individuality,” coordinating teacher Marilyn Kirkham said. “The bulk of the art will be on display at the Homer Council on the Arts, but the rest will be here at the school.”
After students created sculptures of themselves from wire and clay, they dressed them to reflect their own personalities and tastes. Students added items like guitars, packs and books, to their sculptures.
Even Principal Charlie Walsworth and several teachers got in on the act. After creating sculptures of themselves, school staff asked students to dress them. Allowing students to dress the teacher figurines from a youth perspective provided some enlightening — and often amusing — results.
Using mirrors, students also painted their impressions of their own faces. Those images line windows and walls of the school. West Homer Librarian Lisa Whip said visitors viewing student works are also welcome to peruse the Scholastic Book Fair library fundraiser. Members of the Parent Teacher Organization are preparing the refreshments for the evening.
The spotlight on youth art continues to weave its way through other venues as well, including Homer Council on the Arts and the Pratt Museum.
On Pioneer Avenue, several galleries are mounting shows for First Friday.
Picture Alaska Art Gallery will “Spring into Summer” with a multi-artist show on Friday. Six Homer artists join five visiting artists from Anchorage and Willow for the multi-media presentation. Kathy Smith and Sheary Clough Suiter will be showing encaustic (wax process) creations, while other works will be in oils, watercolors and acrylics. Artists include James P. Buncak, Judy Winn, Paula Dickey, Donna Martin, Elizabeth Petersen, Don Kolstad, Thor Brandt Erichsen, and Bill and Sylva Timinski.
Across the street, Ptarmigan Arts features Asia Freeman’s “Irrepressible” spring show. Freeman utilizes a variety of unusual media, including grass planted in an overnight case. Said the artist, “In this installation, I am offering an action as much as an image about renewal.”
Freeman said she has been collecting objects as long as she has been making art.
“I save things for my family and adopt strangers’ objects (from tag sales and such) — drawn to their quiet stories,” she said. “I’m embracing the change of seasons as invitation to unburden, to refresh and renew oneself.”
In regard to the contrast between working in paintings and photographs, Freeman said, “Working in three dimensions for me means bursting out of a frame — allowing myself to take up more space. In resisting enclosure and embracing new growth, the installation at Ptarmigan Arts is all about spring.”
Next door, the Fireweed Gallery welcomes Wasilla artist Jerilyn Krause, who works in acylics. Krause highlights Alaska themes such as rainbows, morning glories, Hatcher Pass and the northern lights in a piece entitled “Serendipity” in the main gallery. The second artist with a special showing at the Fireweed is Homer’s Madeline West — member of the Kachemak Bay Watercolor Society. Her show will spotlight several floral originals and framed prints. Carol Standaert will cater this reception, and artists will be in attendance to meet and greet guests. These exhibits run through April 29th.
At Bunnell Street Gallery, Brenda Roper’s ceramic “Objects of Curiosity” will be the First Friday focus. Roper said this installation of objects was started during a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in October 2005. Roper said it began with her “want to work with common materials and sculptural form. The response was ‘playful’ — liberating after earlier narrative work bending toward topics of domestic violence and sexual abuse.”
Roper says that she put the work aside and began to paint and contemplate how to handle the surface treatment. Further inspiration was drawn from her trip to Mexico.
“Its beautiful contrast of development and dishevelment is where I realized I would work with stucco.” Roper said her art carries messages about borders, social boundaries and relationships or class. “It’s seeing various sides of the issues.”
All venues participating in First Friday will host artist and guest receptions with refreshments from 5 to 7 p.m.
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