Gov. Mike Dunleavy has recognized Homer artist Asia Freeman with the 2021 Governor’s Arts & Humanities Award for individual artist. The artistic director of Bunnell Street Arts Center, Freeman is one of nine Alaskans honored for their statewide service, leadership and impact. Other honorees are:
• Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository – Distinguished Service to the Humanities in Community (Kodiak)
• Jesse Hensel – Distinguished Service to the Humanities in Education, Fairbanks
• Roy Agloinga – Distinguished Service to the Humanities in Education, Anchorage and White Mountain/Natchirsvik
• Vera Starbard – Alaska Native Artist, Juneau
• Alaska Arts Education Consortium – Arts Education, Statewide
• Reyne Athanas – Arts Advocacy, Bethel
• North Star Ballet – Outstanding Arts Organization, Fairbanks
• Richard Beneville (posthumous award) – Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, Nome
Dunleavy will present the awards at the 2021 Governor’s Arts & Humanities Awards presentation held 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11 at the Governor’s office in the Atwood Building in Anchorage. This presentation will recognize advocates, artists, educators and historians, community leaders and conveners from across the state. These awards honor Alaskans who have used their craft and passion to enrich lives; to support, teach, and inspire others; to unite people within and across communities, and to lift up and bring others’ stories to life.
The Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards is an annual partnership between the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA), the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation, and the Office of the Governor. Nominations are submitted by the public each year across distinct categories and these partners make recommendations to the Governor who then makes the final selection of awardees.
“The passion and commitment evident in this year’s awardees bring a heightened and exemplary expression of the Humanities in the areas of education, leadership, and community,” forum board chair Judy Owens Manley said in a press release. “The awardees’ unique contributions are strengthening Alaska.”
ASCA Chairman Benjamin Brown stated, “As Alaskans work together to emerge from the pandemic, it is inspiring and reassuring to be able to honor individuals and arts organizations whose talents, energy, and vision enrich Alaskans’ lives every day. The Governor’s Arts & Humanities Awards recognize and honor people and groups whose actions and contributions make Alaska better, stronger, and healthier place to live. I hope all Alaskans will join in watching them receive these well-earned recognitions directly from Alaska’s Governor.”