'Snow Child' author, former lawmaker among Governor's arts awards winners

Mike Dunham
Bob Hallinen

A best-selling Alaska author and a former state legislator are among the recipients of the 2014 Governor's Awards for the Arts and Humanities announced on Friday.

Artist and educator Ronald Senungetuk was named to receive the award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts and Humanities. Senungetuk is the former recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. As an artist, he is primarily known for his sculptural work in wood and metal. Originally from Wales in Western Alaska, he now resides in Homer.

Eowyn Ivey of Chickaloon, whose debut novel, "The Snow Child," was a surprise best-seller overseas and continues to rank in the regional best-seller list for the Pacific Northwest, will receive the Individual Artist Award.

Native rights leader, businessman, author and former state legislator William "Willie" Iggiagruk Hensley is among four Alaskans selected for the Governor's Awards for the Humanities. Other recipients include Aaron Leggett, special exhibits curator at the Anchorage Museum, responsible for the major Dena'ina exhibit that remains on display through Sunday; Patricia Ann Relay, executive director of the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive; and Homer essayist and poet Eva Saulitis.

The Arts Advocacy Award will go to Cam Bohman, music coordinator for the Anchorage-based Alaska School Activities Association. Martha Galila, an artist and educator from Goodnews Bay, will receive the Margaret Nick Cooke Award for Alaska Native Arts and Languages. Longtime Anchorage event producer Darl Schaaff of Art Services North will receive the Business Leadership Award.

The annual awards are determined by the Alaska Humanities Forum and the Alaska State Council on the Arts in coordination with the Office of the Governor. They will be presented at a gala banquet at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center on Jan. 30. The public is invited to attend and can make reservations online at bit.ly/GovernorsAwards2014 or by calling 907-586-2787.

Reach Mike Dunham at mdunham@adn.com or 257-4332.