SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Alaska Native Arts Foundation Will Close in 2016


February 07, 2016
Sunday AM

(SitNews) - Established in 2002, the Alaska Native Arts Foundation (ANAF) aspired to and accomplished great work in supporting the creative arts in rural and urban Alaska communities. Now, after 14 years of operation, the ANAF will close its doors in spring 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.

Alaska Native Arts Foundation Will Close in 2016

Authentic and Wonderful! Exhibit in March 2015 Featuring Multiple Artists
Courtesy Alaska Native Arts Foundation

Anchorage-based ANAF’s vision was to create economic development in rural Alaska through Alaska Native art. To that end, ANAF became an arts consultant to consum- ers and a steward to Alaska Native artists by marketing, promoting, and ad- vocating for their work, and for indigenous art in general. ANAF welcomed Alaska Native artists and art collectors and future collectors from around the world.

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


Source of News:

Alaska Native Arts


Publish A Letter in SitNews

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2016
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

 Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews may be protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.