Letters to the Editors

Bunnell thanks Homer Foundation

Bunnell Street Arts Center thanks the Homer Foundation Quick Response Grant Program for funding Bunnell’s HEART Residencies. Homer Foundation helped fund a year of artist residencies elevating Bunnell’s mission to spark artistic inquiry, innovation and equity to strengthen the physical, social and economic fiber of Homer through the arts.

HEART Residencies focused on artistic strategies to promote health, healing, and community engagement through art. Opportunities included workshops, and interactive performances and installations led by artists-in-residence. Residencies featured international, national, and Alaska artists presented through cross-sector partnerships between Bunnell and the City of Homer, Homer Public Library, local tribes, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, the Center for Alaska Coastal Studies and private businesses.

Some highlights of the HEART residencies included a live performance at Save U More in April by Tor Lukasik-Foss, a Canadian-based visual artist and musician from Toronto; a youth cynaotype photography workshop at the Center for Alaska Coastal Studies in late June taught by McCarthy-based artist Kristin Link; Tony Perelli’s spoon carving workshop recycling the wood of locally-harvested invasive trees in November and Carol Lambert’s printmaking workshop at Kachemak Bay Campus in December.

Interactive residencies can help a community heal. Inupiaq dancer, Donna Ahvakana, and her siblings were taken from their family as children and raised in an orphanage in Homer. Many years after this traumatic separation, she was able to find her strength and cultural pride again through Inupiaq dance with her husband Larry. Her healing journey came full circle in Homer, teaching Inupiaq dance workshops with Larry to intergenerational community members in the context of his exhibition at Bunnell. The opportunity to offer this healing workshop to surface and strengthen community identities and respect came about because of this grant support.

By planning for deep, healing engagement and also by responding to short-notice opportunities for powerful enrichment, Bunnell Street Arts Centers aims to uphold and continue the potential of HEART residencies in 2024 and beyond. HEART residencies presented a new benchmark of successful community engagement through artistic strategies for health, healing, and sparking joy. Thank you Homer Foundation!!


Asia Freeman

Artistic Director, Bunnell Street Arts Center

Hilcorps hearing scheduled for Jan. 18 in Anchorage

My name is Harold Hale and I live at mile marker 148.6 Sterling Highway. I am very close to the Hilcorp proposed drill site at mile marker 148.8 Sterling Highway. Hilcorp’s Variance Application letter and map are totally inadequate to explain the effects on the lives and property threats to the local residents. There are problems with the close proximity to the two cell towers and the only local internet services tower.

There has not been any emergency or evacuation response notifications and evacuation routing meetings with local residents or the local fire and rescue services in the area. The high density at the dwellings along the Sterling Highway between mile marker 148 and 149 has a high number of elderly residents with mobility issues as well as hearing issues. This will certainly complicate the evacuation routes and processes which has not even been discussed. School bus stops directly at the end of David Street. The steep unstable bluffs have not been considered either. There is documented erosion and sloughing all along this stretch of the Sterling Highway. Also, with the added use of heavy trucks and trailers used to transport the processed oil, there will also be traffic issues that haven’t been addressed when entering and exiting the specified drill area. For an informed evaluation of the variant request there should be a required on site visit by a geologist as well as emergency response teams from Anchor Point and Ninilchick.

For others interested, a public hearing on the matter is scheduled for Jan. 18 at 10 a.m. More information can be found as a public notice on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission website at https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=213264.

Harold Hale