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Rasmuson Foundation names artist award recipients

Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) - The Rasmuson Foundation has named 35 artists in 18 Alaska communities as Individual Artist Award recipients for 2019.

According to SitNews, they include seven Project Award recipients and two Fellows from Southeast, selected by a national panel from a statewide pool of 317 applicants.

In addition, the Foundation’s 2019 Distinguished Artist is Richard Nelson of Sitka, announced on May 15. This award recognizes one Alaska artist annually for a lifetime of creative excellence and outstanding contribution to the state’s arts and culture. The honor is accompanied by a $40,000 award.

Drag cabaret performer James Hoagland of Juneau, and writer Vivian Faith Prescott of Wrangell, were selected as Fellows. Fellowships of $18,000 are awarded to mid-career and mature artists to focus their energy and attention on developing creative work over a 12-month period.

Project Awards of $7,500 support individuals at all stages of their creative careers for specific, short-term projects. Southeast artists selected for 2019 Project Awards are:

  • Illustrator Michaela Goade (Juneau)
  • Sculptor Rhonda Green (Ketchikan)
  • Photographer John S. Hagen (Haines)
  • Weaver Anastasia Shaawat Kah Gei Hobson-George (Juneau)
  • Uillean piper John Ingman (Sitka)
  • Multidisciplinary artist Ellie Schmidt (Sitka)
  • Metal carver Jeffery P. Sheakley Jr. (Coffman Cove)

Several of this year’s awardees will explore the impacts of climate change on Alaska. Prescott will write poetry as a “climate witness,” scrutinizing the relationship between salmon and glaciers through the lens of traditional Sámi values.

Hoagland, aka Gigi Moore, is the rare drag queen to apply for and receive an Individual Artist Award. “Promoting love and acceptance for all people, regardless of identity or experience through drag is what has fueled my passion,” the artist writes. “I’ve seen drag save lives. Drag creates a space for all that doesn’t fit neatly into a box of male or female, redefines normalcy and unlocks aspects of self.”

For photographs of all Individual Artist Award recipients and a description of all 2019 Project Awards and Fellowships visit the Foundation’s 2019 IAA web feature.

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