August in the Bear Gallery

Fairbanks Arts is pleased to host three new exhibitors for the month of August in the Bear Gallery: Charles Simmons, Alida van Almelo, and Jennifer Younger.

Exhibition on view: Friday, August 7 – Friday, August 28

Gallery hours: Monday-Friday, Noon-6pm


Please note: in the interest of spreading out visitation to the gallery, there will be no evening opening reception. Instead, we invite visitors to enjoy the exhibition anytime throughout the month or to visit on opening day between noon-6pm.

Woodworking: A Craftsman’s Effort to Marry Beauty and Function

by Charles Simmons


Charles Simmons has spent the majority of his life surrounded by the Boreal forest and derives deep satisfaction from making furniture and other objects from Birch, Spruce, and other local woods, much of which is harvested on his property. He draws inspiration from the long history of craftsmen that came before him, and the large community of talented people working today. He credits the periodical Fine Woodworking for deepening both his technical skills and for showcasing the amazing contemporary work being done. 

In Woodworking: A Craftsman’s Effort to Marry Beauty and Function, Simmons wishes to share the results of his work with a larger audience. Charles says of his work, “When I visualize an object I want to make, I explore the technical solutions. Objects often change or evolve as they are being made, others are completed as initially imagined. If there are unresolved esthetic problems,  they might be assigned to limbo in a corner of the shop. Eventually, problems will be resolved, rarely some are sent to the woodpile.” 

Birch Bowl carved with Fossilized Coral Inlay by Charles Simmons

Charles Simmons studied art at UAF from 1967 through 1971 and spent a semester at Lethbridge  University (Alberta). Carpentry, finish carpentry, cabinetmaking, furniture building, woodcarving, and woodturning have all been part of his process. Workshops have included woodturning, woodcarving, chairmaking, and the art of botanical illustrations. He has taught several workshops on woodturning for the Folk School. Charles’ work has been included in three Bear Gallery exhibitions and one UAF museum exhibition. 

Tlingit Roots by Jennifer Younger


Raised in the Southeast Alaska town of Yakutat, Jennifer was surrounded by nature and traditional ways of life. Jennifer is Tlingit of the Eagle Kaagwaantaan clan and now calls Sitka, Alaska home.

In 2012, Jennifer was awarded the Master Artist and Apprentice Grant in Traditional Native Arts from the Alaska State Council on the Arts. This launched her apprenticeship in the art of metal carving with renowned Tlingit artist, Nicolas Galanin. Jennifer continued her carving career with Master Carver, Dave Galanin, from whom she learned to understand more about her Tlingit culture and the art of carving on metals.

Jennifer draws inspiration from traditional Tlingit formline designs, historic artifacts, spruce root basket weaving patterns, and from the contrast and texture of metals. Jennifer strives to continuously push the boundaries of her medium.

In the exhibition Tlingit Roots, Jennifer Younger has looked back at traditional creations to learn about her heritage and create statement pieces that draw others in and invite them to learn more about themselves.


Dynamic Worlds by Alida van Almelo


Alida van Almelo received her Master of Fine Arts at the Cranbrook Academy of Art after receiving a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the State University of New York at New Paltz. In 2016, she was awarded the distinguished Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship, and in 2017 Alida received the Bronze Prize and was in the top ten for the Viewer’s Choice Award at the 9th World Ceramics Biennale in Icheon, South Korea. Alida has been an artist in residence at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts as well as in the Alaska State Park system, and she runs her own studio out of the Knik Valley in Palmer, Alaska. Her work has been displayed at the World Ceramics Biennale in South Korea in 2009, 2015 and 2017.

The power of the natural world as well as the extent of the mind and body inspire her active lifestyle, and in turn her artwork, which she explores through hand-building techniques in clay.



Entering the building: Until further notice, the south entrance of the Centennial Center (facing the main parking lot) will be closed to the public. In an effort to reduce the amount of traffic through the building, visitors must use the north doors (those facing the carousel and playground).

COVID-19 mitigation measures: Fairbanks Arts’ board of directors has approved COVID-19 mitigation measures that include (but are not limited to):

  • Visitors to the Bear Gallery must wear a mask. We ask that visitors bring their own masks, but should a visitor be without one, we have a limited supply of volunteer-crafted masks we can give out. No entry without a mask.
  • Social distancing of no less than 6ft apart must be observed within the Bear Gallery
  • Our COVID-19 mitigation plan involves the frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces to ensure the safety of our guests, volunteers, and staff.
  • Our complete mitigation plan is available upon request. Email to receive a copy.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this effort to re-open safely and responsibly.