Birds return for shorebird month First Friday

The Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival weekend brings not only shorebirds to Homer, but art about birds. For First Friday, several galleries feature exhibits of bird art. At the Art Shop Gallery, it’s “All About Birds,” the title of a show with works by Byron Birdsal, Shirley Timmreck, Taz Tally, Laural Sabin and Nancy Wise. At Fireweed Gallery, watercolor artist MaryBee Kaufmann considers the threats to seabirds, especially the common murre, with her show, “Beacons of Circumstance.” Fireweed also features the annual Kachemak Bay Watercolor Society’s show, including its popular collaborative work, where individual artists paint a section of a larger painting. This year’s piece is “Off-loading.”

Student art again is shown this month with West Homer Elementary School’s student art show, with works displayed by every student. Don’t miss the new mural painted in the main lobby.

At the Pratt, the museum holds an evening reception from 4-6 p.m. for shorebird festival keynote speaker J. Drew Lanham, featured author Paul Bannick and Schantz scholar Neil Gilbert, so there is no First Friday art recpetion. However, artist Argent Kvasnikoff, whose show, Qena Sint’isis, opened last month, does a talk at 2 p.m. with Érico Vinicius Nascimento, “Seeing Language: Writing in Art and Design.”

Art Shop Gallery

202 W. Pioneer Ave.

All About Birds by various artiss

5-7:30 p.m., First Friday Opening Reception

In celebration of the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival, Art Shop Gallery features works by Alaska artists Byron Birdsall, Ed Tussey, Shirley Timmreck, Taz Tally, Laural Sabin and new glass work by Nancy Wise. There also will be a drawing for Ed Tussey’s framed poster, “All Aboard.”

Bunnell Street Arts Center

106 W. Bunnell Ave.

New work by Joyce Cooldige and David Kaufmann

5-7 p.m., First Friday Opening Reception; 6 p.m., artists talk

Joyce Coolidge shows her encaustic and mixed media paintings in a show with ceramic artist David Kaufmann. Coolidge said she first started working in encaustics after taking a workshop, and first found it difficult to control, but persisted in working with molten wax. Of her work, Coolidge writes, “My work is intimate. I don’t make paintings that are supposed to be viewed from 50 feet away. I like little details and interactions that you’d miss if you were too far away. … I frequently use tacks, paper, and fibers in my non-representational art. To me, they are symbolic of connections from the past to the future. Of communication. And the duality between strength and frailty. The repetitive use of materials and marks are a conscious reminder to be persistent in the things that matter the most in life — to be both strong yet tender.”

Homer artist David Kaufmann grew up in the hills of western Massachusetts, and said he was raised with a reverence for making. He learned to throw clay in his youth, and said he has continued to work at that over the years “with a spirit of humility and pride for the tradition.” He shares a studio with Paul Dungan, teaches ceramics at Kenai Peninsula College and volunteers at the Homer High School studio.

Creative Fires Studio

40374 Waterman Road (near Mile 5 East End Road)

Through Your Spotting Scope by Jeff Dean

5-7 p.m., Saturday

Visit the studio of Jeff, Ranja and Mfanwy Dean for the preview of Jeff Dean’s “Through Your Spotting Scope,” his 1-percent for art commission for Denali State Park. Dean’s engraved wood and steel sculpture will be installed at the Kesugi Interpretive Center at Mile 135.5 Parks Highway for the grand opening of the center on Memorial Day. The Deans sell their work at Ptarmigan Arts.

Fireweed Gallery

475 E. Pioneer Ave.

Spring Into Watercolors, the 21st annual Kachemak Watercolor Society Spring Show

Beacons of Circumstances by MaryBee Kaufman

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

Fireweed Gallery presents two watercolor exhibits. The Kachemak Bay Water Color Society’s 21st Annual Spring Show is the main gallery attraction, with Marybee Kaufman’s “Beacons of Circumstance” in the mini gallery. This year the KBWS 2017 collaborative painting is “Off-Loading.” Fifteen watercolor society member artists each painted a segment of this signature piece of art.

In the mini gallery show, Kaufman’s original watercolors look at a dwindling seabird population that is at risk due to both human and natural causes.

Homer Council on the Arts

344 W. Pioneer Ave.

Here and There, photographs by Susan Johnson

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

Photographer Susan Johnson said that when her daughter moved to Anchorage in 2006, her annual visits helped reignite her interest in photography. After years of working in the darkroom, she switched to digital. “The size and scope of the landscape Here, has a tendency to make one feel small, but at the same time serves to enlarge the soul. The crowded, urban landscape There, can make one feel even smaller, crushing the heart and soul over time,” she writes. “I knew I needed to get out, and relocate to a place where I could regain my soul and a better sense of purpose.” Her show is a collection of landscapes, exploring both urban and wild settings, with all of them “celebrating the glory and wonder of the nature that surrounds us, wherever we are, Here or There.”

Pratt Museum

3779 Bartlett Street

Seeing Language: Writing in Art and Design, talk by Argent Kvasnikoff and Érico Vinicius Nascimento

2-3 p.m., First Friday Reception

Presented in conjunction with Argent Kvasnkikoff’s show, “Qena Sint’isis,” Érico Vinicius Nascimento and Kvasnikoff explore the role of language in art and design and how visual language affects everyday life and personal experience.

Ptarmigan Arts Back Room Gallery

471 E. Pioneer Ave.

Remembering Toby Tyler, art by R.W. “Toby” Tyler

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

Ptarmigan Arts holds a final solo show by Homer’s revered elder artist, R.W. “Toby” Tyler. This posthumous show pays tribute to a life well lived and honors Tyler’s generosity, philanthropic spirit, and impact on Homer’s art and conservation communities. Planned before his December 2016 death, the show features a mix of watercolor paintings and framed prints as well as a collection of Toby’s last works. With his vision and perception impaired following a stroke, Toby returned to painting in the fall of 2015. Working with oils and a palette knife, he progressed to using a brush before his health began to decline. His renditions of Kachemak Bay landmarks reflect his keen memory of the area’s topography and his love of the community that had long been his home.

Notecards, prints suitable for framing, and reproductions of his original watercolors will be included in the show. Cards, prints, and unframed artwork can be taken at the time of purchase. Photos and memorabilia commemorating Toby’s life in Homer will be on display. Visitors are encouraged to share memories of Toby in a remembrance book to be presented to his family.

West Homer Elementary School

995 Soundview Avenue

First Friday Art, art by West Homer students

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

West Homer Elementary School students in grades 3 to 6 show their art, complete with artist statements. Visitors to the show also can write fan letters to the artists. Some students also will have a recorded audio statement using QR codes; download QR code reading apps on Android phones or iPhones. The evening also features live music, art activities and refreshments.The school’s new mural in the main lobby will be on display, too.


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