Alaska Pacific University 

Virtual Artist in Residence Program

Story by James Temte M.S.

By Rebekkah Hartman

During the course of this grant project a total of seven emerging Alaska Native artists were selected to have an opportunity to develop professional skills through artist exhibition, artist talks, virtual art features and mentoring. The goals of the project were to increase exposure of Alaska Native artists through social media and in the APU galleries, photograph artists’ work to use
for artist portfolios and promotion.

During the course of the project, APU featured six artists on their social media accounts, hosted four in person gallery openings featuring the artists, an artist talk, and in person mentoring with APU Elder Artist in Residence Joe Senungetuk. The artist residencies were curated and supported by APU Project Manager James Temte and Arianna Lawes-Wiseman.

The curatorial team set up an Instagram account for the APU Galleries and featured the artist in over 50 posts during the course of the residency program. The posts introduced the artists, their cultural heritage, and featured their artwork. 

The featured artists can be found on Instagram @apu.galleries and included the following:

Gidinatiy – Rebekka Hartman. I am Deg Xit’an Athabascan and White. My Native language is Deg Xinag. My artwork is about creating visual representations of the Deg Xinag and other Native languages. My art is centered around a desire to reclaim my family’s Athabascan language, a language skill that was taken from my family due to the prevalence of colonial boarding schools.

Violet Senungetuk. I am Iñupiaq and the granddaughter of Artists Joe and Martha Senungetuk. Violet’s work was on display at the APU Gallery in Grant Hall as part of the “Senungetuk Family Intergenerational Love” exhibit.

Fred Anderson (Aleut). Fred Anderson lives and works in his home community of Naknek AK. Fred states: I draw every day and prefer to draw directly in permanent ink. Being able to reach a level of control of a permanent pigment and to draw freely and spontaneously is a spiritual event.
Anderson illustrates his feelings about subsistence, climate change, assimilation, the cross, and those that have gone missing. (Artwork Image “Alaska Purchase”)

Kathleen Bonnar. Kathleen is Iñupiaq and of Irish descent from Nome, Alaska, where subsistence lifestyle and traditional values were major influences in her upbringing. She relocated to California with her family as a teenager. Kathleen completed the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in art at California State University East Bay. In 2013, Kathleen returned to Alaska. She sought to reconnect with her culture and the lifestyle she grew up with. Like many Alaskans, Kathleen holds a reverence for Alaskan landscapes, wildlife and Indigenous cultures.

Courtney Tatellgaq Rose Griechen (Alutiiq, Yupik and Russian) is an Anchorage based artist specializing in illustrations, paintings and digital art largely inspired by her culture and the Bristol Bay village she was raised in. Her art constructs a whimsical world inspired by traditional stories and folklore.

Dimi Macheras. Dimi is an Ahtna Athabascan visual artist and Chickaloon Village Tribal Citizen. He was raised by his storyteller Mother, Patricia Wade and taught Ahtna cultural values and traditions by his Grandmother, Clan Elder, Katherine Wade. An alumni of Ya Ne Dah Ah School, Alaska’s first Tribally owned and operated full time K-12 school, Dimi began his journey as an artist illustrating his family’s Traditional Ahtna stories into graphic novels. He also helped design Ahtna language learning computer programs for Chickaloon Village’s Education Department. He has teamed with storytellers and culture-bearers from other tribes to help turn their legends into graphic novels. In 2010, he co-founded 80% Studios, and has self-published a variety of projects, including in the recently released graphic novel Chickaloonies: First Frost.

Will Kozloff Tanacross Athabascan/St. Paul Island Unangan is a graffiti artist who bases his work on his personal experience and uses his art to increase representation of Alaska Native and people of color in the form of portraiture in public spaces. He is passionate about adding color to the often gray and beige walls of Anchorage’s cityscapes.

"Sleeping Lady Field Study” by Kathleen Bonnar

Read more about TCF’s A Journey to What Matters: Increased Alaska Native Art & Culture