For Immediate Release on May 15, 2009
Contact: Cassandra Stalzer 907 334-0520

Nathan Jackson receives $25,000 Distinguished Artist Award; Foundation Also Names Eight Fellows, 17 Project Grants

Anchorage - May 15, 2009 - Nathan Jackson, visual artist, carver, mentor and jewelry maker has been named 2009 Rasmuson Foundation Distinguished Artist. Jackson is perhaps best known for carving traditional totems, but he has also been tireless in his efforts to pass carving traditions on to new generations of artists. (artist photo) (photo) (photo) (photo)

The Distinguished Artist Award provides $25,000 in unrestricted funds to allow artists to concentrate and reflect on their work, to immerse themselves in a creative endeavor, or to experiment, explore and develop their artistry more fully. The Award will allow him to move away from commission-based work to new work created solely from inspiration.

Rasmuson Foundation President and CEO Diane Kaplan said, "Nathan Jackson is dedicated to his art and to maintaining the traditions that epitomize the style of Southeast Alaska carving. We are thrilled to recognize his contributions to Alaska with this award."

Nathan Jackson was born into the Sockeye Clan on the Raven side of the Chilkoot-Tlingit tribe. He was raised in Southeast Alaska, spending most of his time in the Haines area where he learned about his Tlingit heritage from his clan uncle and grandfather. After completion of military service in Germany, Jackson enrolled in the Institute of American Indian Arts where he specialized in fabric design, silk screen and graphics. Since 1967, he has been creating masks, panels, house posts, totem poles and jewelry using traditional Tlingit Northwest Coast formline design in his own unique style. In 1988 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the University of Alaska; and in 1995 was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship Award. His work is in museums and private collections around the world. He currently resides in Ketchikan.

Jackson was presented with the award in a ceremony that took place in Anchorage earlier today where the Foundation also announced eight (8) Artist Fellowship Awards that provide $12,000 in unrestricted funds:

• Anna Brown Ehlers (Juneau), a folk/traditional artist who incorporates gold thread into her traditional Chilkat blankets, will explore applications of metalwork and mixed media with artists Richard Beasley and Nick Galanin to create new original Chilkat work. (artist photo) (photo)

• Nick Jans (Juneau), a literary artist who has published nine books and hundreds of articles, editorials and poems, will take time to write a novel.

• Peter Lind Sr. (Homer), a folk/traditional artist who carves Aleut/Alutiiq kayaks, weapons and bentwood visors, will upgrade and improve the environmental quality of his studio. (artist photo) (photo)

• Byrne Power (Haines), a performance artist who created the Lilliputian Puppet Sideshow in 2005, will create and travel a larger, more challenging puppet theater show. (artist photo) (photo) (photo)

• Catherine Rexford (Anchorage), a literary artist, will complete a manuscript of poetry, digitize historical photographs from Kaktovik, and complete her stage-play 'The Namesake.' (artist photo)

• Teri Rofkar (Sitka), a folk/traditional artist who weaves baskets and ceremonial robes using traditional Tlingit styles and techniques, will network with her artistic peers, complete her studio, attend a spinning retreat, and explore other west coast weaving and fiber arts opportunities. (artist photo) (photo)

• Andromeda Romano-Lax (Anchorage), a literary artist, will travel to Rome, Italy, to do research for a novel in progress. (artist photo)

• Donald Varnell (Ketchikan), a folk/traditional artist who blends tradition with social, cultural and political paradigms, will document a trip studying Northwest Coast Native artifacts in Europe and North America, following the route of ethnographer Franz Boas. (photo)

Today Rasmuson Foundation also announced the award of 17 Artist Project grants:

• Anne Aube, a visual artist from Palmer will receive $4,925 to promote her work and visit textile museums in Tokyo. (photo)

• Christine Byl, a literary artist from Healy, will receive $5,000 to complete her manuscript, 'Dirt Work: An Education on the Ground,' and attend the Breadloaf Writer's Conference.

• Scott Dickerson, a visual artist from Homer, will receive $5,000 to purchase a paramotor to increase aerial photography opportunities. (photo)

• Mei Mei Evans, a literary artist from Anchorage, will receive $5,000 to finish her novel.

• Jessica Golden, a literary artist from Anchorage, will receive $3,871 to revise, complete, and submit a manuscript of poetry for publication.

• Joan Harris, a visual artist from Eagle River, will receive $5,000 to research owls and purchase equipment needed to complete illustrations for a new book about owls. (photo)

• Olena Kalytiak-Davis, a literary artist from Anchorage, will receive $5,000 to focus on writing poetry.

• Robert LaMontagne, a crafts artist from Fairbanks, will receive $5,000 to rent a glass studio and purchase supplies to develop new skills and techniques. (photo)

• John McIntyre, a folk/traditional artist from Bethel, will receive $5,000 to purchase tools to produce new work and explore different techniques. (photo)

• Erin Pollock, a multidiscipline artist from Anchorage, will receive $5,000 to create and install a new collaborative work. (artist photo) (video)

• William Putman, a music composer from Fairbanks, will receive $5,000 to record 10 original songs.

• Kyra Rice, a visual artist from Anchorage, will receive $5,000 to purchase photography lighting, processing, and printing equipment. (artist photo) (photo)

• Vera Starbard, a literary artist from Anchorage, will receive $5,000 to continue writing her novel and attend a writer's workshop.

• Maria Shell, a crafts artist from Anchorage, will receive $4,985 to attend workshops with a master quilter to learn new techniques. (photo)

• Patricia Shelton, a crafts artist from Anchorage, will receive $5,000 to attend a mosaic workshop in England. (photo) (photo)

• Teresa Varnell, a folk/traditional artist from Ketchikan, will receive $5,000 to gather and prepare materials for weaving. (photo)

• Michael Walsh, a multidisciplinary artist from Homer, will receive $5,000 to purchase equipment needed for a new installation.

More photos of work created by these Award recipients can be viewed at the Rasmuson Foundation Flickr site.

The Individual Artist Awards is a program of the Arts and Culture Initiative, a 10-year $20 million investment to increase the impact of arts in Alaska. To date, the Foundation has awarded $1,216,319 directly to 167 artists; six have been selected as recipients of the Distinguished Artist Award.

The next postmark deadline for Individual Artist Award applications is March 1, 2010.  More information is available here at the Foundation's website or by calling Victoria Lord at 907-297-2827 or toll-free 1-877-366-2700.  A list of past award recipients can be viewed by clicking here.

About the Foundation

The Rasmuson Foundation was created in May 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband "E.A." Rasmuson. The Foundation is a catalyst to promote a better life for all Alaskans.