Story last updated at 6:24 p.m. Thursday, December 26, 2002

Homer's art continues to grow in 2002
by Carey James
Staff Writer

photo: entertainment

  Photo by Carey James, Homer News
Kammi Matson, top, models her shower curtain creation at this yearpis Wearable Arts show in November.  
The art world of 2002 entered the new year reeling from the impact of Sept. 11, using art to react to the national tragedy.

In January, Ptarmigan Art artists, as well as many others, contributed to an art auction fund-raiser for the Lower Manhat-tan Cultural Council. More than 50 artworks ranging from beaded jewelry to paintings created just for the show were up for bid in the silent auction.

The Kenai Peninsula Orchestra formed and began practicing Mozart's "Requiem in D Minor" with Homer High conductor Mark Robinson. The group later performed in New York at Carnegie Hall, as well as locally. A final performance was held on the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks as part of a worldwide singing of the "Requiem" in honor of those who lost their lives.

Quilter Samantha Cunningham caught the eyes of many with her "Twin Towers" Quilt, a vivid fabric work depicting the burning towers surrounded by newspaper clippings from the days after the tragedy transferred onto cloth.

photo: entertainment

  Photo by Carey James, Homer News
Earlier in the year, thoughts were more somber, as artists like quilter Samantha Cunningham remembered Sept. 11 with her work, above right, in the annual quilt show. Other artists collaborated to help a group of Manhattan artists.  
Using art for healing, Homer moved beyond the tragedy, however, to accomplish great things in 2002.

The Jazzline Dan-cers put on their first full-length production, choreographed by Jocelyn Shiro-Westphal, early in the year after nearly 10 years together dancing in smaller shows. Local dance group Dance Theatre North also performed for Homer with the Pier One show "Alice in America."

Homer's gates were flooded with acts of all varieties this year, including the Ailey II dancers of the Alvin Ailey dance school and humorist Tim Behrens performance of "McManus in Love," written by Patrick McManus, as well as numerous musical acts including Leo Kottke, Todd Snider and Hawaiian musician George Kahumoku Jr. Alaska's youthful bluegrass troupe "Bearfoot Bluegrass" wowed crowds while Leftover Salmon played a raucous gig. Iris Dement and John Prine added spice to the fall music scene, followed by a winter solstice show by Cracker.

Annual events like the "World CafE" continued to draw talent, with performers taking the stage from all over town. Local marimba band juJuba, as well as Victoria Wilson Winne's solo vocals won over the audience. The Bunnell Street Gallery's plate fund-raiser drew a crowd vying for their favorite of the 83 plates created by local artists as membership incentives. The museum also hosted its annual "Ritz" art show and auction fund-raiser, drawing more than 70 contributions.

photo: entertainment

  Photo by Carey James, Homer News
Michele Bournonville and John Fejes glassworks, below, were among the many interesting artworks to appear at galleries during the monthly First Friday openings.  
The Homer Council on the Arts met its goal to buy its Pioneer Avenue building after a last-minute plea brought generous donations from throughout the community, including funds from the Snomads. The council now faces the prospect of renovating the building to create a stage, seating and finished studio space in the basement.

In May, the Pratt Museum opened the doors of the Alutiiq exhibit, "Looking Both Ways: Heritage and Identity of the Alutiiq People." The exhibit, created by the Smithsonian Institution in collaboration with the Alutiiq Museum in Kodiak, contained more than 130 artifacts, some more than 5,000 years old, as well as exhibits featuring discussions with modern-day Alutiiq people who inhabit the Cook Inlet, Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Island and other surrounding areas. The museum held events surrounding the exhibit and invited groups from area Alutiiq villages as guests.

Pier One Theatre raised its curtain on a new season with a lineup of acts ranging from hilarious comedies (think "Nun-sense") to hair-raising dramas (think "The Laramie Project.")

KBBI's "Concerts on the Lawn" struck a youthful chord with both local and statewide names taking the stage. KBBI says it catered in part to a younger age group this year, but also included a wide selection of music from Chilean performer Andres Condon to the Spur Highway Spankers.

photo: entertainment

  Photo by Carey James, Homer News
By summer, however, French horn player Jane Linderman practices before the Kenai Peninsula Orchestrapis annual summer performances in Homer and Kenai.  
Homer's art direction went homeward in August with an abode-focused First Friday featuring art for your home and garden, along with a tour of many of Homer's artful residences, sponsored by the Homer Council on the Arts.

Classical music lovers were treated in August to the Kenai Peninsula Orch-estra's annual Summer String Festival featuring members of the DeVere Quartet. Later in the year, members of the Anchorage Opera's Studio Theatre group performed Puccini's "La Boheme."

In the literary world, the Kachemak Bay Writers Conference kicked off with keynote speaker Russell Banks. The conference drew 140 participants and 33 presenters to Land's End for several days of workshops and discussion groups. It was funded as part of a $200,000 endowment from Caroline Musgrove Coons to the Kachemak Bay Campus of the Kenai Peninsula College.

Local writer Sharon Bushell released her collection of life stories of Alaska old-timers titled "We Alaskans." Lorraine Williams also released her compilation of cartoons titled "You Know You're in a Small Town When." Musher Libby Riddles released her latest children's book "Storm Run," which tells the story of her first winning Iditarod race.

photo: entertainment

  Photo by Carey James, Homer News
The Bunnell Street Gallerypis annual Plate Project drew a crowd again by offering hand-painted dinnerware, above, as a membership incentive.  
Fiber art took the stage again with the Wearable Arts Show, "Loose Threads 2002," late in the year, and a recycling theme caught artists' interest, inspiring gowns of Carrs bags, collages and building products.

Film nuts continued to cram the Friday night Foreign Film Festival at the college, causing organizers to run the films twice a night. With the sale of the Homer Family Theatre, some wonder if the films may someday be shown in the larger venue.

The arts year was capped off in its traditional Homer manner, with the "Nutcracker Ballet," performed with 80 of Homer's young dancers and behind-the-scenes efforts by dozens of volunteers.

photo: entertainment

  Photo by Carey James, Homer News
Homer artists looked homeward with creative flare this summer, with galleries displaying artful home decorations, such as the above right metal sun by Tarri Thurman.  
photo: entertainment

  Photo by Carey James, Homer News
A "Spirit Puppet," right, created by Fireweed Academy students sets a creative tone for the Jubilee Art Show in March at the Pratt Museum. Many businesses also participated, showcasing Homerpis young artists.