June in the Bear Gallery

Exhibition on view: June 4–26, 2021

Gallery hours: Monday–Saturday, 12–6 p.m.


Bear Gallery visitors please note:

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 and wear their own masks at all times. No entry without a mask.
  • Social distancing of no less than 6 ft apart must be observed within the Bear Gallery.  
  • The current limit of visitors in the gallery at one time is 15 individuals.
  • Our COVID-19 mitigation plan involves the frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces to ensure the safety of our guests, volunteers, and staff.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this effort to stay open while supporting artists and arts supporters safely and responsibly.


A good place to be

by Riva Sazama

Riva Sazama is a contemporary sculptor who lives and works in Fairbanks, Alaska. Riva was born and raised in Wisconsin and started taking studio art courses at the local community college while still in high school. She fell in love with studio art, specifically sculpture, and received a Bachelor of Fine Art with a sculpture focus from Johnson State College in Vermont.

She then went on to take MFA courses at the University of Montana and completed her Master of Fine Art in Sculpture at the University of Fairbanks in 2012. Riva specializes in hand-built construction using mixed media. Her abstract forms are influenced by nature and natural processes and speak of various relationships: to each other, within ourselves, and to the natural world.

For the past eight years, Riva has worked exclusively with patinated copper. Process is an extremely important part of her artistic practice, and her finished pieces represent days to sometimes weeks of process, work, and patina application. She uses tools, fold forms, and manually manipulates copper sheeting into three dimensional forms; she then uses various patina applications to achieve the finished coloring of the copper pieces. Currently she has been focused on creating copper wall art, copper jewelry and ornaments, and copper dishes and platters. 

Riva has traveled in the U.S. extensively, though always settling in Northern climates. She chose Alaska as her home because of the landscape and lifestyle, and its impact on her work. She both appreciates and requires the solitude of creating in her forest studio, as well as the sense of connection to land and environment through seasonal Alaskan activities. Riva Sazama’s Bear Gallery exhibition “A good place to be” was created the summer of 2020 through the spring of 2021 as a response to place and time. Riva states: “As soon as COVID hit the United States, I began having numerous conversations with fellow Alaskans in which someone said Alaska is ‘a good place to be’ during these times. The work I created for this show is not only a visual celebration of the beauty of living in this amazing landscape, but also a testimony and acknowledgment of the physical and emotional struggles that brought us here, to this place and moment in time.”  


You can find Riva online at www.copperworks.space or on Instagram at akcopperworks.

The image featured above is “truncate 1” by Riva Sazama


Detailed Within

by Cammie May

Cammie is from Craig, Alaska on Prince of Wales Island and has spent her entire life near the ocean and forest. She draws immense inspiration from the nature that surrounds her. Plants, animals, patterns, colors—every element impacts her work in a different but important way. She strives to honor her subject matter by intimately studying whatever it may be and spending time creating in great detail. Using various mediums, the common thread throughout all her work is color, detail, and a variety of surreal, sometimes mystical atmospheres. Cammie’s work is an homage to nature, more specifically to Alaskan flora and fauna; she wants to capture the sense of magic that Alaska holds. 

This body of work began while she was pregnant with her first child and the majority of the pieces were made and completed while her newborn son napped at home. Creating and birthing her son, Brent, has given her a new perspective on not only life, but her artwork. Transitioning into motherhood has provided her limited and precious time to devote to her art, making it more meaningful than ever before. 


You can see more of Cammie’s work on Instagram at cambazam and on Facebook at Cambazam Art.

The image featured above is “Spring” by Cammie May