December shows offer locally made gifts

With Homer’s reputation as one of Alaska’s thriving arts communities, local art lovers can find creations worthy of sharing as gifts at shows opening Friday. First Friday exhibits won’t be the only place to find art. From 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Saturday at Homer High School, the Homer Council on the Arts holds its annual Nutcracker Faire, with almost 85 booths of arts and crafts by lower Kenai Peninsula and other Alaska artists.

Two shows stand out this Friday. At Fireweed Gallery, Dan Coe shows “Fireweed at the Fireweed and Other Local Renderings,” a collection of his handpainted furniture and fine art. Coe counts as one of the hardest working artists in town, and one of the most widely seen public artists. His custom, artistic signs can be seen on everything from movie rental stores to halibut charter offices. With his wife Nancy Coe and their children, they also create original, repurposed handpainted furniture. Dan Coe has begun to branch out into original fine art paintings, as seen in a recent commission of a mural in Old Town showing the progression of fireweed through the seasons.

The mural is on the Driftwood RV Park fence across from Bunnell Street Arts Center, which shows “Dwell” by Alaska artist Eleanor Jensen. Her mixed-media work on paper explores the boundaries and edges of the connection between humans and natures.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at