Homer artist Rita Pfenninger has a passion for painting outdoors. Her work in plein air — a French term that refers to creating art in the “open air” — gets more than a little help from Alaska’s dramatic changes in light and shadow. They are the perfect mix for painting in the natural environment.
“Alaskans are intrigued by plein air painting because of our beautiful landscape, which is also a largely frigid and therefore a challenging subject to paint outdoors,” said Asia Freeman, Director of Bunnell Street Arts Center. “We remain intrigued and hungry for opportunities to develop plein air painting skills.”
Pfenninger has always been excited about painting, but she loves painting outdoors specifically.
With the school year over and sounds of summer filling Homer streets, many schools around town have closed their doors, ready to lay relatively dormant until August rolls around again.
West Homer Elementary is an exception.
From June 16-20, any singing, picking, dancing, painting or acting heard emanating from the Orca’s headquarters comes thanks to the Homer Council on the Arts annual arts camp.
“The goal of the camp is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for youth to discover and develop their artistic interests,” said Gail Edgerly, HCOA Director. “It also provides an inclusive community of peers.”
The art camp started more than 10 years ago as a bluegrass camp for kids. The band, “Bearfoot Bluegrass” staffed the camp and performed in Homer. Last year, Andrew Vait teamed up with HCOA and Bluegrass Camp for Kids, adding his own rock/pop element to the camp.
In yet another display of support for Arts in the Homer community, more than 200 people paid $30 each to eat “dinner in the street” Sunday evening. Sponsored by the Bunnell Street Art Gallery, the dinner raised approximately $6,000 for Bunnell’s “creative placemaking” in Old Town Homer.
The community “Bouillabaisse Dinner in the Street” fundraiser ran from 4-8 p.m., and started with appetizers at picnic tables, loaned by the Homer Chamber of Commerce. The tables were set up right in the middle of the street, where organizers had blocked off a piece of Bunnell right in front of the gallery.
The crowd then wandered down the street for the main course at the Elks Lodge, and then headed back to the street tables for dessert.
Food was prepared by several popular restaurants, including Maura’s Cafe, Two Sisters Bakery, AJ’s Old Town Steakhouse, MonkeyFist Charcuterie, Mermaid Cafe and Fat Olives.
As color returns to Kachemak Bay and Homer in the form of budding bushes, luxuriant lupine and endless fields of lush green hills, June’s First Friday exhibits open this week with a promise of more colors bursting on the horizon.
All First Friday opening receptions run from 5 to 7 p.m. June 6, unless otherwise noted.
Fourteen years ago, dreaming of a simple life in a tight knit, creative community, 23-year-old Torie Rhyan moved to Homer with four dollars in her pocket and a set of fine point pens, pencils and a sketch pad in her suitcase.
“It was time for a change and I wanted to live somewhere where people worked and pulled together and took care of one another,” she said.
Inspired by the working artists around her, Rhyan is now pursuing the life of a full, time working artist for herself.
Rhyan began creating fine point pen and pencil drawings at a very young age, encouraged by an art teacher who recognized her talent and passion.
“An only child, drawing was escapism for me and was a way to express my inner world,” she said.
Last year, wanting to play with more color than pen and pencil drawings allow, Rhyan taught herself acrylic painting. Intimidated by the painting process, she began by focusing on brush strokes and shading and studying geometry to learn to create images by putting shapes together.
Last year, the City of Homer built four block-construction public restrooms in town and on the Homer Spit. On the inside, these double, unisex restrooms are brightly lit, have heated floors and provide cold running water. On the outside — thanks to the City’s one percent for art program — they are adorned with mosaic art by Alaskan artists.
At the corner of Bartlett Street and Pioneer Avenue, Melisse Reichman’s relief sculptures include “Roaming the Land,” which features a bear, a wolf and a lynx. Her “Swirling Sea” piece showcases an otter swimming alongside kelp, sea stars and other aquatic wildlife.
PRESS RELEASE – AJs Oldtown Steakhouse hosts a special show on May 9: E.J. Simpson performs his unique solo version of the groundbreaking rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar May 9 at 8 p.m. The musical is loosely based on the Gospels’ accounts of the last week of Jesus’s life, beginning with the preparation for the […]
For the past 12 years, Chris Story has made a name for himself in Homer as a real estate agent, well known for his quirky ads and numerous radio programs.
As a young man, Story dreamed of being a potter and 20 years ago, this dream became a reality. He was selling his one-of-a-kind work in galleries, museums and gift shops throughout Alaska and the Lower 48, as well as on Princess Cruise’s ships. Eager to have a solo exhibit, Story approached a gallery, but the curator said no. And, so Story tucked his dream away and his passion for pottery slowly faded.
“I went in a completely different direction and became a capitalist artist selling whatever would sell the best,” he said. “I was a fast studio potter and perfected that craft, selling as much as humanly possible in bulk quantities.”
First Friday opening receptions are 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. May 2, unless otherwise noted.
“Broadway Babies” is a Homer cabaret project showcasing the diverse talents of an all-ages ensemble of local ladies. Think “Fiddler on the Roof” meets “Hairspray” meets “Legally Blonde.”
“The audience can expect a night full of songs that will lift their spirits, make them cry, leave them laughing and wow their senses,” said show producer Jessica Williams.
The cast includes women who have been performing for as long as they can remember, as well as those who are relatively new to the stage. The Broadway Babies are Nancy Chastain, Madilynne Elkington-Wood, Hannah Heimbuch, Maura Jones, Sabina Karwowski, Shenandoah Lush, Sydney Paulino, Chloe Pleznac, Margaret Quarton, Sierra Smith and Jessica Williams.
Nancy Chastain has been performing for audiences since 1985. She is also a playwright.
“Everything about theater inspires and sometimes terrifies me,” she said. “It’s all about working with other people to create an engaging story for an audience that both inspires and entertains them.”
Hannah Heimbuch’s first stage production was as a youth, during a time in her life when she was very shy.
“I was a mouse in the Homer Nutcracker Ballet and I think I hid in the bookshelf,” she said. “I seem to be making up for lost time by being loud and ostentatious now.”
Heimbuch was drawn to Broadway Babies because of the songs, the chance to collaborate with a group of women and the challenge.