Arts Briefs: Poetry contest ends Friday; writer offers workshop

Arts Briefs

Poetry contest ends Friday

The Fairbanks Arts Association invites poets to enter its 27th Statewide Poetry Contest. Homer poet Erin Coughlin Hollowell is the judge. Entries can be submitted online through the end of Friday, Feb. 11.

“As a celebration of literary artistry, this contest aims to encourage, publicize, and reward the writing of high-quality poetry in Alaska,” the association wrote in a press release.

Winners of the contest will receive cash prizes and an invitation to share their poetry virtually in a reading in April, which is National Poetry Month. First-, second- and third-place awards are offered in categories of adult, high school students, middle school students and elementary school students. The entry fee is $4 per poem or $13 for four poems. Class entries for students are $1 per poem. To enter online, visit

Pratt Museum & Park reopens Saturday

The Pratt Museum & Park reopens Saturday with free admission from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Featured is a new photography exhibit, “Native Ways in Changing Times,” by Lisa Williams. Her show is the accumulation of photographs taken over a five-year span from 2005 to 2010 in the villages of Nanwalek and Port Graham. The Exxon oil spill occurred in 1989, but the social-cultural ripple effect is still felt to this day. The work shown here is an attempt at examining the tightly held traditions and values of the Native people of these two villages and their resiliency with which they responded to the impact the Exxon spill had on their way of life. These 35 images and quotes were selected from more than 1,500 photographs and 50 pages of transcribed interviews. This project was funded in part by the Alaska Humanities Forum.

Williams is an award-winning photographer whose images are featured in the book, “Our Changing Seas.” She received her master of fine arts in Social Documentation from Sonoma State University in Sonoma, California. Born in San Diego, California, she has spent the last 30 years hiking the mountains, making friends and exploring Alaska. She is a two-time grant recipient from the Alaska Humanities Forum and values the opportunity this has given her to learn about and document Alaskan Native cultures. Williams’ passion is visual anthropology, and she said she hopes her photographs compel deeper respect and appreciation for the cultural values of Native Alaskans. Her work has been shown in museums and cultural centers throughout Alaska, and she looks forward to more photographic adventures.

Visiting writer offers workshop next week

The Friends of the Library offers a Creative Writing Workshop with visiting author Annie Boochever from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15, in the Homer Public Library meeting room. Boochever presents “Common Writing Traps – Tips for Clear, Precise, and Dynamic Writing.” Due to limited seating, registration is required at the library website at The event also can be attended via Zoom.

Annie Boochever grew up in Juneau when Alaska was still a territory and racism, although subtler than before passage of the anti-discrimination bill, was still pervasive. Following a career teaching music and library, she earned a master of fine arts in creative writing for children and young adults. Boochever’s books, “Bristol Bay Summer” (Alaska Northwest Books, 2014) and “Fighter in Velvet Gloves: Alaska Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich” (University of Alaska Press, 2019) have won numerous awards and were selected as Notable Social Studies Trade Books and Alaska State Battle of the Books. “Fighter in Velvet Gloves” was included in the 2019 American Indian in Children’s Literature list of best nonfiction books for young adults, and was selected to represent Alaska in the 2019 National Library of Congress Parade of States.

Boochever also participates in a Book Talk and Community Conversation celebrating Elizabeth Peratrovich day and the book “Fighter in Velvet Gloves” from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, at the library and via Zoom. Guest speakers also will be Kachemak Bay Campus English Professor Lia Calhoun and Yup’ik Culture and Arts Consultant Nita Rearden. Seating is limited to 25 people. Register at

This project is supported in part by a grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum and the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency.

Bunnell holds Black Celebration Sundays

At 4 p.m. every Sunday through February, Black History Month, Bunnell Street Arts Center presents Black Celebration Sundays. Facilitated by Winter Marshall Allen, on Feb. 13 is a book reading of “Our Tale.” On Feb. 20, retired educator Ted Carter speaks on the history of African American contributions to the Alaska Highway. On Feb. 27, Skywalker Payne presents ancestral storytelling. Masks are required. The event also is presented live on Bunnell’s Facebook channel at

Decolonizing Alaska talk presented

As part of its Inspiration & Adaptation talk series, Bunnell Street Arts Center presents “Passages Alaska” at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11. Jennifer Romer, Ryan Conarro and Nita Rearden will discuss a new Alaska Studies course that explores the stories, histories, cultures and contemporary identifies of Alaska. Listen live on Bunnell’s Facebook channel at

Artist in residence visits this month

Swedish textile artist Berith Stennabb is Bunnell Street Arts Center’s Artist in Residence for February and March. From Skovde, Sweden, Stennabb creates interactive fiber installations featuring crochet and mixed media. This month, people can sign up for an hour during her regular hours from 5-8 p.m. Wednesdays and noon-5 p.m. Saturdays. Bring a textile with history or a garment to share a story. She also is interested in collecting yarn for a project in March. Email her at

Steannab’s visit is part of the Alaska Community Foundation’s Grant for International Understanding as part of a reciprocal exchange with Skovde Museum. In turn Skovde Museum selected Homer visual artist, Mandy Bernard for an eight-week residency in Skovde in 2021.

Musicians perform live, on KBBI

Homer musicians Sally Wills and Dave Gerard perform live and on KBBI for Bunnell Street Arts Center’s third Friday concert series. The performance is at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18. The audience must be seated at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $15-30 and available at

Homer poet, writer receive awards

Homer poet Linda Martin and novelist Richard Chiappone have received $5,000 Alaska Literary Awards. Also receiving literary awards are writer Christy NaMee Eriksen and poet Mistee St. Clair, both of Juneau. In the same round of awards, four artists received $2,500 Connie Boochever fellowships: Ciro Anaya, dance, Anchorage; Annie Bartholomew, music, Juneau; Michael Chase Dickerson, music, Anchorage; and Carey Seward, theater, Fairbanks.

The awards are sponsored by the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation, in partnership with the Alaska State Council on the Arts. The Alaska Literary Awards recognize and support writers of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting, screenwriting and mixed genres. Quality of the work submitted is the primary consideration in determining who receives the awards. The annual Alaska Literary Awards are made possible by Peggy Shumaker and Joe Usibelli through their generous donation to the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation administered by the Alaska State Council on the Arts.

The Connie Boochever Artist Fellowship recognizes and supports Alaska emerging artists of exceptional talent. The Connie Boochever Fellowship was established to honor and reflect the spirited passion of the arts Boochever consistently demonstrated, and to further the message she championed throughout her life: the arts are important to the citizens of Alaska and worthy of significant support from individuals, businesses and corporations.

More information about the recipients of the 2021 Alaska Literary Awards and the 2021 Connie Boochever Fellows can be found on or through the Alaska State Council on the Arts.

Fish art contest is open

Students in Alaska have an opportunity to show off their artistic and creative writing talents and their love for their state’s official fish – the Alaska king salmon or Chinook — during the Alaska Fish Heritage Contest. The contest is open to students in grades K-12 (ages 5-18).

To enter, young artists submit an original illustration of a king salmon and a short, written piece showing their knowledge, connection to and/or understanding of the fish they have chosen. The essay component is only required for grades 4-12.

The competition is part of the award-winning Wildlife Forever Fish Art™ Contest, with support from the USDA Forest Service, Bass Pro Shops and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. The emphasis of this annual fish art challenge is to bring children, art, and aquatic conservation together.

Contestants in Alaska are encouraged to compete by submitting artwork featuring a king salmon and a one-page essay, poem or creative writing piece promoting a cultural, recreational, or economic connection to commercial, sport, or subsistence fishing. Visit for more details.

Educators nationwide can use Fish On!™. This State Fish Art lesson plan integrates the disciplines of science and art.

Alaska-based competitors should submit entries with the following:

• Horizontal artwork featuring a King salmon, 9-inches by 12-inches in size,

• Essay about the king salmon (grades 4-12 only), no longer than one page, and

• Alaska Fish Heritage Contest entry form.

Students are encouraged to complete entry forms online, which can be found, along with a list of options for submitting artwork and essays, at Entries must be submitted no later than March 31. Winners will be announced and prizes awarded in the spring.

This yearly event highlights the Alaska Region’s new theme —Alaska’s National Forests — where nature, people and tradition come together. For a wealth of information about the Alaska Region, visit the media toolkit at

Homer writer Richard Chiappone. (Photo by Joshua Veldstra)

Homer writer Richard Chiappone. (Photo by Joshua Veldstra)

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