Alaska Native Arts Foundation Will Close in 2016
February 07, 2016
In support of its mission to create economic opportunities for Alaska Native artists, ANAF marketed artwork using virtual stores on its website and in partnership with Etsy. It provided Master Artist Workshops in Anchorage and Bethel, Business Training for Artists-as-Entrepreneurs, and Cultural Arts Project Support Grants to encourage artistic endeavors.
Authentic and Wonderful! Exhibit in March 2015 Featuring Multiple Artists
ANAF’s first outreach trip was to Emmonak; the foundation then traveled to 25 rural communities to purchase work for resale on its e-commerce site before opening its downtown Anchorage gallery in 2006. Since the gallery opened, ANAF has curated more than 50 First Friday exhibitions featuring the work of 65+ emerging and established Alaska Native artists. Each year, the gallery welcomed more than 50,000 visitors.
Since its founding, ANAF has represented more than 1,300 artists from all 12 of the state’s Native cultural regions. It has launched artists’ careers by providing a platform in Alaska and encouraged many artists to reach out to markets around the world.
Some of the artists from the Ketchikan area that have been represented by ANAF are Diane Douglas-Willard and Brett (Pudgy) Pearce. In the Metlakata area some of the artists respresented include Vivan Benson, Rick Booth, Michael Booth, and Lindarae Shearer.
ANAF has also hosted nearly 20 artists at promotional events at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA; a cultural festival at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC; the Orenda Gallery in Paris, France; and Art Basel in Miami, FL. In addition, the foun- dation hosted fashion shows in Anchorage, New York, and Washington, DC.
While ANAF may cease its operations, Alaska Native arts and cultures remain a major economic asset for the state. By helping artists become regarded as entrepreneurs, ANAF provided opportunities and enhanced quality of life by preserving and perpetuating indigenous artistic traditions.
ANAF is currently working with partners to develop a gentle phase-out of its services and to leave a small legacy for future marketing efforts. A comple- mentary organization is being identified that will acquire ANAF’s intellectual property and other valuable items.
The timing for closing depends on the pace of final sales, which was kicked off with a major sale Friday, February 5, at the ANAF gallery (500 West 6th Avenue).
In announcing its closing, the ANAF said they are grateful for the support of the State of Alaska and of its many partners, including the Ford Foundation, Leveraging Investments in Creativity, Etsy, Native(X), and First Peoples Fund. The foundation also expressed thanks its board members, staff and volunteers for their dedicated and tireless efforts to create a new model for the sale and stature of Alaska Native art.
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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