Nominations open Oct. 1 for 2021 Distinguished Artist Award.


Rasmuson Foundation offers one $40,000 Distinguished Artist Award annually in recognition of an Alaskan’s creative excellence over multiple decades and significant artistic accomplishments. These artists have chosen to make their lives and careers in Alaska, thereby making our state a more culturally rich place to live. First and foremost, they have made creatively incisive art reflecting their particular and extraordinary perspective. Award recipients will likely be full-time, professional artists, and will be recognized by peers and experts across the state as among the most highly accomplished in their field. Artists may work in any artistic discipline. Short biographies and galleries of artwork of all past recipients is available here.

Mature, established artists are eligible to receive the Distinguished Artist Award. Mature artists are those who have created an extensive independent body of work representing a life-long investigation and maturation of their personal creativity. They must have decades of experience creating art and contributing to advancement of arts and culture in Alaska. Artists may work in any artistic discipline.

Past recipients of the Distinguished Artist Award are Wayne Price of Haines; Alvin Amason of Kodiak and Anchorage; Gertrude Svarny of Unalaska; Garry Kaulitz and Don Decker of Anchorage; Peggy Shumaker, Kes Woodward, John Luther Adams and John Haines of Fairbanks; Richard Nelson and Teri Rofkar of Sitka; Rie Munoz of Juneau; Ron Senungetuk of Homer; Sylvester Ayek of Nome; and Delores Elizabeth Churchill, Ray Troll and Nathan Jackson of Ketchikan.

We welcome public nominations of artists who meet the Distinguished Artist Award criteria. Artists can nominate themselves. An application package from the artist is not necessary to receive this award. Nominations are open October 1 through December 16.