Arts council and Norman Lowell Gallery to host black tie gala fundraiser

Homer Council on the Arts and the Norman Lowell Gallery will host a black tie gala fundraiser May 17 starting at 6 p.m. The gallery is located approximately 13 miles north of Homer on the Sterling Highway at 70117 Norman Lowell Road.

The formal event includes a catered reception by executive chef Michael Ann Ferguson from AJ’s. Homer’s Glacier quartet comprised of violinists Marcio Candido and Daniel Perry, violist Nancy Darigo and cellist Mannfried Funk will provide a performance of Shostakovich’s autobiographical Quartet No. 8. There will also be a vocal showcase featuring Jim Anderson, Britny Bradshaw and David Camp accompanied by pianist Karen Strid.

The reception will begin at 6 p.m. with performances beginning at 7 p.m.

Lowell came to Alaska from rural Iowa in 1958, according to the Norman Lowell Art Gallery Foundation website. He began painting scenery after reading books on the classical masters of western art and studying their techniques.

Lowell and his wife, Libby, ended up in Anchor Point where they filed a claim under the Homestead Act. They were granted a 160-acre parcel of land south of town. This is where the gallery is located today.

The Lowells moved to Anchorage in the 1960s so that he could teach art in a community with a population large enough to provide the opportunity for success. The family stayed in Anchorage until 1972 and then moved back to the Sterling Highway property.

In 2013, Lowell was diagnosed as legally blind. Though he kept painting for sometime, his 2017 works are the final paintings of his career. The gallery website is available at

The Norman Lowell Art Gallery Foundation was created as a nonprofit in 2016 so that Norman and Libby “could own and manage their gallery and homestead properties for the maximum enjoyment and as a benefit of future generations,” the website states.

Barnabas Firth, executive director of the foundation, said the foundation is supported by public donations and sales from the gallery.

“The main feature of the fundraiser is that we are a nonprofit and we are completely supported by the public and their donations as well sales from the gallery,” Firth told the Homer News. “We do not have a trust fund or major donors; it’s just a year-to-year operation and the funding depends on the sales for that year.

“As we try to plan for the future, it’s important for us to increase efforts to fundraise and we really hope to continue to collaborate with Homer Council on the Arts as a partner.”

Firth said tourism purchases have been a large part of the gallery’s budget and that he hopes Homer can be recognized as a “premier destination of artistic expression in Alaska.”

“There are a phenomenal number of artists in the community creating contemporary work as well as the historic legacy of Lowell’s work that remains in the gallery today,” Firth said.

Jim Anderson, member of the HCOA, noted that the gallery displays the largest single artist collection of Alaska landscape art in the state.

“This event will be a fun time to dress up and fundraise for art in the community; let’s up the game and endeavor all cultural arts that we can.”

The price for the event is $125 and tickets can be purchased on the Homer Council on the Arts website at