Crates and boxes have been coming and going. Workers, looking official with levels, tacks and hammers, have been sweeping into the offices. The art exchange is on.

It’s felt like the holidays in recent weeks at the Rasmuson Foundation offices. Crates and boxes have been coming and going. Workers, looking official with levels, tacks and hammers, have been sweeping into the offices.

The art exchange is on.

For those that have visited the Foundation offices, you know that we are extremely lucky to have offices adorned with unbelievable works from Alaskan artists. One of our favorite things to do as staff members is to give visitors impromptu tours of what’s in our hallways and offices.

This is all made possible through the Art Acquisition Fund, which provides grants for Alaska museums to purchase current work by practicing Alaskan artists. The Fund was established around the goal of providing a dynamic and supportive environment for creative artists in Alaska. The Art Acquisition Fund advances the Foundation’s interest in encouraging museums to support Alaskan artists, and Museums Alaska’s  interest in supporting professional practices among the state’s museums. The Fund is administered by Museums Alaska on behalf of the Foundation. The project is intended to support living, practicing Alaskan artists through museum purchases; enhance the permanent art collections of Alaskan museums, and encourage Alaskan museums to develop formal collections policies.

In recent weeks, much of the art at the Foundation offices is being exchanged, with some works returned to their home museums and new ones coming in.

While we’re only temporary stewards of this art, I think we all grow attached. As a result, the pieces that pop up on Rasmuson Foundation’s homepage feel to me like family photos. So many of the pieces are imbued with memories of what was happening in our offices when they hung here—and I often find myself associating the work with the artist, but also to the person that related to it. A pastel paintingof a man squinting in sunlight by artist Erica Miller was among former Program Officer Joel Neimeyer’s favorites and hung in his offices. Our Vice President Jeff Clarke has a taste for contemporary that means fantastic, joyous pieces make their way into his offices (plus he has a big wall!) He now has a piece by Sandy Gillespie. And of course, Program Associate Victoria Lord (who administers the Art Acquisition Fund and has the large task of coordinating the art exchange) always has interesting art floating through her offices—my favorites are Lisa Gray’s digital prints, like one called “Jackie.”

The Rasmuson Foundation website has an extensive online gallery of work acquired by Alaska museums with support from the Art Acquisition Fund online. You can see which works were acquired by the museum nearest you, learn more about the artist, and browse the collection via a thumbnail view.

Rasmuson Foundation hopes to enhance exposure of Alaskan artists by providing a regular venue for contemporary Alaskan art in the Foundation office in Anchorage. We invite you to come by and see what’s on the walls.

Do you have a favorite work purchased through the Art Acquisition Fund? Tell us more.