Art beat: 'Artists' Challenge' added to annual junk-to-art fundraiser

Mike Dunham
A “weekend cabin” designed by Olson Kundig Architects. Tom Kundig will speak at the Anchorage Museum at 7 p.m. Monday, May 6, 2013.
Tim Bies
Linda Lucky created a colorful sculpture of a dog from a wicker chair for “Transformed Treasures.”
The wicker chair Linda Lucky used to create a colorful sculpture of a dog for "Transformed Treasures."
Athabaskan elders David Salmon (l) and Peter John are among the figures in Judy Ferguson's "Windows to the Land," Vol. 1.
The public is invited to share photos from this winter, like this one by Dan Bailey, at the ASMP’s “Farewell to Winter” event on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.
Marc Kornblatt is this year's winner of the Susan Nims Distinguished Playwriting Award.

There's a new wrinkle in the Salvation Army's popular "Transformed Treasures" art auction this year. One hundred eager re-purposers took items from the Thrift Shops and turned them into something stunningly arty. Aside from the fact that it's by far the most participants in the event to date, that's not the new part. What's different is that, in addition to the 100, a select group was chosen to take part in something called the "Artists' Challenge," in which each picked out either a wedding dress or chair to make over in the spirit of creative competition.

The dresses and chairs are on display this week at Blue-Hollomon Gallery in the Olympic Center, 3555 Arctic Blvd., Space C-5. The other work was shown at the preview back on April 25. On Saturday, all of the pieces will be auctioned off at a luncheon in the Egan Center to help support Salvation Army programs. Tickets are on sale for $30 each at Call 276-2515 for more information.

Kiss winter goodbye

Don't let last week's snow fool you. Winter is over -- at least in theory. The Alaska chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers invites shutterbugs of all types to attend its "Farewell to Winter" program at 7 p.m. Tuesday. ASMP members and guest photographers will present images from the long winter of 2012-13. If you're not a member, you can still show up 15 minutes before the event with images on a thumb drive -- think 10 to 15 good shots -- that you'd like to share with the group. The event is free in the auditorium of the Anchorage Museum, 625 C St. Use the Seventh Avenue entrance.

Art is sought for pollinator book

If this is spring, can runny noses and swollen eyes be far behind? Millions of Alaska trees and plants are waking up and filling the air with pollen, much to the dismay of those with allergies, but to the delight of the critters who live to pollinate.

The Chugach Arts Council is publishing an art book featuring the pollinators of Alaska and is looking for artists who want to contribute work to the project.

Any style or media is welcome. The Council hopes to release "The Art of Pollination" in advance of National Pollinator Week (June 17-23) with the goal of increasing awareness of both Alaska pollinators and artists. There's no fee for submission. Go to for information and an application. The deadline is May 15 -- so get buzzin'.

Native history series debuts

Delta author Judy Ferguson is making the rounds with her new book "Windows to the Land: An Alaska Native Story" published by Voice of Alaska Press.

This first volume in a projected series is subtitled, "Alaska Native Land Claims Trailblazers." It includes first person accounts of Native leaders who worked to secure land claims going back 100 years or more, with numerous maps and photographs.

It becomes available this month at the Anchorage Museum, gift and bookstores. Ferguson herself kicks off a series of book signings next weekend, from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Gulliver's Book Store in Fairbanks, to be followed by one at 5 p.m. June 7 at Arctic Travelers gift shop in Fairbanks and at 1 p.m. June 15 at Barnes and Noble, also in Fairbanks.

Ferguson will also have a booth at the Alaska State Fair Aug. 22-Sept. 2 and other signings, still in the planning stages, closer to Anchorage this summer. You can order the book and get more information about when and where the author will be by going to

Award-winning architect

The final Alaska Design Forum guest this season will be Tom Kundig of Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects. Kundig has received a number of important awards, including a National Design Award from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and an Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

He will speak this week at 7 p.m. Monday at the Anchorage Museum, 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Blue Loon in Fairbanks, and at 6 p.m. Wednesday at The Gold Town Nickelodeon in Juneau. Admission for the Anchorage talk is $10, $5 for students.

The Design Forum will celebrate its 20th year with food, drink, music and discussion at 6 p.m. Friday at the Anchorage Museum. The event is free and open to the public.

Scramble to replace 'Girls'

A reprise of "Gold Rush Girls" planned for Cyrano's this summer has been kicked back to next February due to the illness of composer Jerry Saunders.

This has sent the company scrambling to replace the show. They settled for the unusually titled show "[title of show]" -- that's not a typo, the title of the show really is "[title of show]" -- and are holding crash auditions for the two men and two women needed for the cast.

Ironically, the plot of the musical comedy deals with a team who needs to write a musical comedy in three weeks.

Shelly Wozniak will direct. Show dates are July 4-Aug. 5 and the auditions will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at Cyrano's, 413 D St. For more information, email

'Chapman's Homer' riposte online

Anchorage writer and poetry connoisseur Peter Porco has sent a refutation to my observations on poetic truth in last week's ArtBeat. Those who agreed or disagreed with me should read it, now posted at, and feel free to share their thoughts on the matter.

Creative writing winners

Winners of the 2013 UAA/Anchorage Daily News Creative Writing Contest will be announced in next week's edition and some of the winning writing will be published.

To make as much room as possible, Seth Kantner's "Around Alaska" column will be moved one week and run on May 19. ArtBeat will return on May 26.

Kornblatt receives Valdez prize

Author and videographer Marc Kornblatt of Madison, Wis., is the winner of this year's Susan Nims Distinguished Playwriting Award. He will receive the $1,000 prize May 25 during the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez.

Nims, who died in 2010, was among the aspiring writers who had work read at the conference Play Lab.

She was a repeat visitor to the annual event and provided for the prize in her will. It is given annually to a playwright who has a script presented at the Play Lab.

More information about the conference, which starts May 18, can be found at

Reach Mike Dunham at or 257-4332.