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Arts and Entertainment

Photos: Dena'ina artwork returns with a new name

  • Author:
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published June 6, 2014

"Prospect," a 66-foot-tall art installation with figures depicting animals of the Cook Inlet area, was reinstalled at the Denai'ina Civic and Convention Center this week. Work began on Monday, June 6, and was completed Wednesday.

"That was a day earlier than we expected," said Angela Demma, curator of public art for the Municipality of Anchorage. "It all went very smoothly."

Originally titled "Constellation," the artwork was first installed at the center in 2008. Some of the urethane figures began to show UV damage from exposure to sunlight, and the piece was removed in November 2013. Damaged components were stripped and repainted, and all pieces received a protective covering to prevent further damage. The work was done by a local business, Flying Colors LLC, Demma said.

Since the piece was under warranty, Massachusetts sculptor Ralph Helmick, who created it, paid for the removal and refurbishment. At the same time, he took the occasion to rename the piece. "The artist never really liked the (original) name," Demma said.

Alaskans Erin Gingrich and Kyla Meadows were hired to assist two workers from Helmick's studio in the reinstallation. Gingrich is a recent graduate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Meadows is a recent graduate of Eagle River High School.

The full piece rises three stories in the lobby of the center and is 15 feet wide. It consists of 354 figures, with sea animals at the lowest level, land animals above them and birds on top.

"Prospect" will be part of the Anchorage Museum's 1 Percent for Art Excursion on July 5, led by Demma. Other tours are scheduled for June 7 and August 2. The tours, led by Demma, start at the museum, 625 C St. Information and tickets are available at

Reach Mike Dunham at or 257-4332.

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