First Friday Events

Whether they come from reading Jack London novels, watching “Bering Sea Gold” or just hearing snippets of Sarah Palin’s speeches, most visitors to Alaska arrive with a set of expectations. The state has a reputation for abundant wildlife, extreme weather, people who prize ingenuity and a willingness to take risks. Leave it to the artists to reveal the truth: Alaska has all of that and more. 

This Friday, galleries will welcome tourists and locals alike with shows that celebrate the complexity and diversity of life in the 49th state. Ed Tussey at the Art Shop Gallery and Ray Bulson at Ptarmigan Arts offer different takes on the Alaska landscape, while Chip Brock, at Picture Alaska, brings our birds and beasts to life. Hal Gage, at the Bunnell Street Arts Center, takes a deeper look at the snow and ice the state is famous for and concludes that they’re more fragile and ephemeral than they are rugged. Meanwhile, in Anchorage, Homer’s Kari Multz makes an artistic argument that clothing ought to be more rugged, and stylish, too. Also debunking the notion that Alaskans aren’t chic is Joshua Veldstra, who features Alaska models in his graceful portraits.

Perhaps the best illustration of Alaska comes in the form of hundreds of masks created by Project Grad students on the lower Kenai Peninsula. Gazing into each unique face, it’s easy to understand that there are as many true ways to see our state as there are people to see it.

Art Shop Gallery

207 W. Pioneer Ave.

Fresh Paint, new works by Ed Tussey

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

Veteran painter and former commercial fisherman Ed Tussey will show recent paintings beginning Friday at the Art Shop Gallery. Usually a wildlife artist, Tussey has chosen this time to focus on landscapes.

Bunnell Street
Arts Center

106 W. Bunnell Ave.

Strangers, photographs by Hal Gage

Ceramics, works by Bailey Arend

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

6 p.m., Artists’ talk

June 8, noon-2 p.m., Bailey Arend demo workshop

Likening the sea ice that washes up on Turnagain Arm to Alaska’s transient summer visitors, Hal Gage treats each ice floe as an individual whose character might be captured on film. Over a five-year period he created portraits of these ephemeral visitors that seem more poignant in light of predictions that the ice will soon disappear forever due to climate change. Bailey Arend describes his sculptures as “experiences crafted from living objects,” focusing on the fusion of raw materials with human intent to mark and to shape. Both shows will be on display through July 3.

Fireweed Gallery

475 E. Pioneer Ave.

Wind and Water: Beauty Portraits of Alaska Models, photographs by Joshua Veldstra

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

Homer-born Joshua Veldstra has traveled to India, Europe and the Middle East in search of subjects whose beauty and presence will enchant his viewers. But the models for his Fireweed Gallery show are from much closer to home. With photographs published in The GOODS magazine and in Vogue Italia’s Photo Vogue, Veldstra is introducing a new facet of Alaska’s beauty to a worldwide audience.

Homer Council
on the Arts

344 W. Pioneer Ave.

Create Your Future, masks by Nanwalek, Ninilchik, Port Graham, Tebughna and Razdolna Project
Grad students

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

This exhibition of more than 300 masks is the culmination of a program designed to help kids connect with their heritage, build their strengths and ignite their individual passions.  Project Grad staff and community elders worked with students to create this rich reflection on identity and culture.

Octopus Ink Clothing

410 G Street, Anchorage

Pretty Is As Pretty Does,
clothing by Kari Multz

5-9 p.m. First Friday Opening
with living mannequins

Homer fabric artist Kari Multz’s show “Pretty Is As Pretty Does” emphasizes the use of found and recycled materials to create high-quality, Bohemian-inspired fashion. Multz’s goal for her label No Apology is to be the antithesis of manufacturers who offer mass-produced, trend-based and disposable clothing. To underline her commitment to environmental sustainability, she will donate a portion of proceeds from sales of her work to the
Renewable Resources Coalition.

Picture Alaska

448 E. Pioneer Ave.

New Originals and Canvas Giclees of Old Favorites, oil paintings and prints by Chip Brock

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

A love of nature, a bachelor of fine arts from Fort Hays State University and a honeymoon in the Last Frontier all conspired to turn Chip Brock into an Alaska wildlife artist. Inspired by his time spent outdoors, Brock’s oil paintings capture “a unique moment in nature,” using the paint’s texture to bring his subjects to life.

Pratt Museum Contemporary
Art Gallery

3779 Bartlett St.

Inspired by Place, artwork from the museum’s collection selected
by Ron Senungetuk

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

After a 25-year career in the
Art Department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, including his time as head of that department and founder and director of the Native Arts Center, Ron Senungetuk knows Alaska art. In curating this Pratt Museum exhibit, on display through Dec. 31, Senungetuk chose works in which the activities and environment specific to Alaska had an influence. 

Ptarmigan Arts Back Room

471 E. Pioneer Ave.

Alaska in Black and White,
photographs by Ray Bulson

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception
and Celebration

To offer a new perspective on the ubiquitous landscape photograph, Ray Bulson breaks it down to its bare parts: light, contrast, texture, line and form. He strips the color from his images, then selectively adds it back in, transforming and illuminating the familiar. In addition to holding the opening for Bulson’s exhibit, Ptarmigan Arts will celebrate its new collective ownership by gallery members Friday evening.