April in the Bear Gallery

The 6th Annual Spring Juried Exhibition with guest juror Alanna DeRocchi

First Friday Opening: April 7, 2023, 12–7 p.m., reception 5–7 p.m.
(snacks and refreshments sponsored by AARP)
Awards Ceremony: April 7, 2023, 6 p.m.
Exhibitions On View: April 7–29, 2023
Gallery hours: Monday–Saturday, 12–6 p.m.

We hope you’re hungry for the mouthwatering 6th Annual Spring Juried Exhibition with guest juror Alanna DeRocchi! This year’s spring juried concept is FOOD, as chosen by a public vote conducted earlier this year.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, definitions of food include: 

  1. material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy
  2. nutriment in solid form
  3. something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies

Friday, April 7, is the exhibition’s opening day, with a First Friday reception from 5–7 p.m. and an awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Snacks and refreshments at First Friday will be sponsored by AARP in conjunction with the Fairbanks 50+: Art & Science of Aging Summit. 

The exhibition is on view April 7–29, 2023, in the Bear Gallery.

This exhibition is free and open to the public.

We were delighted to have Alanna DeRocchi jury our FOOD exhibition this year! Thanks to Sophie Station Suites for sponsoring her visit.

Juror: Alanna DeRocchi

Alanna is originally from Petersburg, Illinois. She received a BFA from Western Illinois University in 2004 and an MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2010. Since finishing her education, she has participated in several ceramic artist residency programs, including the Clay Arch Gimhae Museum Ceramic Arts Residency in Jilllye, South Korea, and the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, MT. She was a 2017 Rasmuson Individual Artist Award recipient, a 2022 Rasmuson Fellowship Recipient, and a 2019 and 2022 Alaska State Council on the Arts Career Opportunity Grant awardee. Her work is inspired by Alaska’s unique wildlife and environment.  Alanna is currently a Term Assistant Professor of Ceramics and Studio Technician at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

There were 126 artwork submissions, with 73 pieces selected by Guest Juror, Alanna DeRocchi. 

Alanna’s statement about the show:

Throughout art history, food has been used as subject matter across all mediums. Artists explored multitudes of meanings and conceptual content by imbuing fruits, vegetables, and meats with notions of abundance, wealth, status, virtue, sexuality, and mortality. Art and artifacts depicting food have been a vehicle for documenting cultural beliefs and activities from civilizations all around the world. Contemporary artists often use food as a canon to talk about consumerism, colonialism, immigration, identity, familial heritage, and tradition.

As an artist, I really enjoyed seeing the variety in artistic styles and expressions surrounding food from across Fairbanks and Interior Alaska. It was a very difficult task to narrow down the large amount of submissions to a smaller grouping for the exhibition and every piece was carefully considered. In viewing the work, overall I was looking for evidence of individual expression through the artists’ chosen material as well as a unique perspective on food as a conceptual theme. I loved seeing the care for craftsmanship and observational study, the humor, the abstract expressive qualities found through material exploration, and the openness in the individual’s conceptualization of the theme. Food can be sustenance, food can be tradition, food can be culture, food can be a metaphor, and food can be anything you hunger for. 

Thank you to everyone who submitted work for the exhibition and thank you to everyone involved in inviting me to Fairbanks for this opportunity. 


Fairbanks Arts is pleased to announce the following awardees:

Juror’s Choice
“Jarred Smoked Salmon Stump Stool” by Rachelle Dowdy
Second Place
“Big Beer” by Scott Holladay
Third Place
“It’s OK to Play with Your Food” by Janlee Irving
Honorable Mention
“Avataqsiaq” by Caitlynn Hanna
Honorable Mention
“Seaweed Snack” by Kyle Agustines
Honorable Mention
“Mother’s Milk 1: meditations on 7,300 hours of nursing my children” by Jasmine Johnson-Kennedy
Honorable Mention
“Contamination/OCD” by Emylee McCormick
Honorable Mention
“Spam Bob” by Barbara Kalen