January in the Bear Gallery

Interior Visions: Selections from Fairbanks Resource Agency’s New Progressive Art Projects

Curated by Phoebe Rohrbacher

On view: January 5-27

Opening Reception: Friday, January 5, 5-7 pm

FRA publicity_untitled_titus
Untitled by Ernie Titus

Over the past two years, inspired by a nationwide movement to include people with developmental disabilities in contemporary art, Fairbanks Resource Agency (FRA) has provided self-taught artists time, space and resources to create art. This innovative and progressive art program is relatively young and small compared to similar programs down south, but it has already begun to produce fascinating and excellent creative voices. Interior Visions: Selections from FRA’s New Progressive Art Projects serves as an example of what a progressive art studio for artists with developmental disabilities could bring to our community. The show is curated by Phoebe Gonzales Rohrbacher, who joined FRA’s art program at the Discovery Center, under the supervision of Lisa Sawyer.

Rohrbacher has exhibited in group and solo exhibits in Juneau, and was a recipient of a 2010 Rasmuson Individual Artist Award, and a 2007 Juneau Arts and Humanities Council Grant. Since 2008, she has worked with individuals living with disabilities in various capacities. Before coming to FRA, she worked as art facilitator at the Canvas, an integrated studio in Juneau, Alaska. The following artist will be exhibiting their work: Frankie Aguilar, Nan Bailey, Jeff Brown, Samantha Chambers, Josh Carpenter, Nathaniel Chappell, Talon Doughty, Logan Foster, Mikayla Gustafson, Erin Heim, Keith Johnson, Kyle Lundberg, Sandy McWhirter, Diane Mobley, Godfrey Nicolie, Thomas Scheurer, Katie Stewart, Ernie Titus, Lorren Wilson, Lenny Wildrick, Kristina Wessner, Michael Tse, Chelsea Danico, and Karl Woodruff.

Curator Lecture with Phoebe Rohrbacher

Monday, January 22 from 7-8pm

Blue room, 3rd Floor, Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts, Pioneer Park


Interior Alaska/ Exterior Tokyo

Ryota Kajita

On view: January 5-27

Opening Reception: Friday, January 5, 5-7 pm

Frozen Bubbles No. 1 by Ryota Kajita


Ryota Kajita is originally from Japan, completed his MFA degree in photography at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, worked at the University of Alaska Museum of the North as a collection photographer, and taught at the Joshibi University of Art and Design in Japan. His works have become part of the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affaires and The Alaska Contemporary Art Bank and were featured in magazines and websites including “Photo Technique”, “城市画報 -CITY ZINE-“, “WIRED.com“ and “WEATHER.com”, and are represented by Susan Spiritus Gallery in Nrewport Beach, California. He recently received “CENTER Project Launch Grant Juror’s Choice 2017” chosen by Mazie Harris, Assistant Curator of J.Paul Getty Museum. He has traveled to more than 50 remote Alaska villages by a two-seat, light aircraft and snowmobile for scientific research. He loves travelling, backpacking and cross-country skiing with a medium format film camera and always responds to the beauty of nature.


January Gift Shop Artist of the Month

David Bowen

Birch bark Frames by David Bowen

” In the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, when I was a school teacher in the villages of Tanana, Kobuk, Allakakket, and Nenana, I frequently had the good fortune to work with native elders who were master basket makers.  Although I didn’t produce any birch work of my own then, I routinely was the harvester of birch bark, spruce roots, and willows for these elder artisans.  I quickly developed an admiration for their artistry, as well as a passion for the craft itself.

     I retired from teaching about a decade ago and since then have made time to study birch craft and to develop the skills it takes to do justice to the natural beauty that is obvious in these native plants.  I have decided not to make baskets, as there are already many great basket makers.  I simply love to create these beautiful little frames, hoping that they will bring to their owners the same sense of appreciation and awe of nature’s beauty that I feel.  And that is enough for me.”

David Bowen

January Water Color Corner Artist

Ann Tremarello


Sunset by Ann Tremarello


“It seems like I always have been interested in art. I took art courses in high school and planned to become an interior designer until my father’s Air Force career brought him (and the family) to Alaska.

I enrolled at the University of Alaska at a time when no art courses were offered and, by default, majored in accounting. During my senior year, Rusty Heurlin was persuaded to teach a once-a-week art course. With no art facilities on campus, the class was held on Saturday afternoons in a Wildlife Management lab.

After graduation, I started working in the UAF registrar’s office in a very demanding and busy job and was involved full-time with my family. Unfortunately, there was no time for art, although I did take a summer oil painting class with Helmut Van Flein in the 1970’s.

Since I retired in 2004, I have participated each year in the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. I have studied with Rita Baragona, Tom Nixon and Vladimir Zhikhartsev. In addition, I have attended workshops with well-known artists such as Tony Couch, Carl Purcell, Susie Short, Linda Kemp, Mick McAndrews and with Anchorage artist, Don Kolstad. Most recently, I completed a workshop to “Paint like Sydney Laurence” offered by UAF.Presently, I am enrolled in weekly classes with Tom Nixon and take other workshops whenever I can.”

Ann Tremarello