May in the Bear Gallery

First Friday Opening: May 5, 2023, 12–7 p.m., reception 5–7 p.m.
Exhibition On View: May 5–27, 2023
Gallery hours: Monday–Saturday, 12–6 p.m.

These exhibitions are free and open to the public

Join Fairbanks Arts in the Bear Gallery for our May exhibitions: Sentience by Aldona Jonaitis and alaskaWILD 2023 by Alaska Society of Outdoor and Nature Photographers (ASONP).

by Aldona Jonaitis

Inspired by the sentient nature and beauty of animals, Sentience explores animals’ connection to the world and their unique aesthetic qualities through pastels. Aldona aims to convey the outer appearance of her animal subjects, possibly revealing their interior attributes.

Sentience calls to protect the conscious, mindful, and sentient subjects of Aldona’s work from humanity’s venal and egocentric actions – climate change, the devastation of the environment for profit, rapid plant and animal extinctions, and destruction of the oceans. Animals – domesticated and wild – connect humanity to the natural world and serve as continual reminders that we are not the sole inhabitants of this earth imperiled by its transformations. 

Aldona Jonaitis

Aldona Jonaitis was born in New York City and started painting and drawing horses at a young age. Discovering art history in college, Jonaitis received a Ph.D. in Northwest Coast Indigenous Art from Columbia University. Jonaitis moved to Fairbanks in 1993 to become the Director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North and curate the Rose Berry Alaska Art Gallery. After retiring, Jonaitis returned to creating art rather than analyzing it. Becoming attracted to pastels for their vibrant colors, buttery feel, and range of applications, Jonaitis has taken workshops with Barbara Noonan, Dawn Emerson, Marla Baggetta, and Anita Lehman.

Aldona will give an artist talk on Wednesday, May 17, titled: “Channeling Rosa Bonheur.” Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899) was the most distinguished 19th-century European painter of horses and other animals. As a girl, Aldona was captivated by The Horse Fair (1855) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In recent years, she’s made pastels of landscapes, cityscapes, buildings, and people but always returned to animals, especially horses. This talk will begin with Bonheur and present the artistic journey she inspired within Aldona for Sentience.

alaskaWILD 2023
by Alaska Society of Outdoor and Nature Photographers (ASONP)

alaskaWILD is celebrating 36 years of annual juried photo exhibitions sponsored by the Alaska Society of Outdoor and Nature Photographers (ASONP) aimed to celebrate the unique beauty and wildness of Alaska and to promote amateur and professional photographers. alaskaWILD is the only statewide juried exhibition solely dedicated to nature photography.

Each year ASONP call for photos from all over Alaska in the following categories: Fauna, Flora, Iconic Alaskan Fauna, Intimate Landscapes, Landscapes, and Monochromatic. The juror selects the images that make up the show along with a Best of Show image, a Best of Category image for each category, and several images worthy of Honorable Mention. A cumulative People’s Choice Award (voted on by the public at all exhibition venues) will be awarded at the end of the traveling exhibition year. Voting ballots are available in the Bear Gallery if you wish to vote for your favorite image!

alaskaWILD 2023 was juried by Jessica Rix.

Jessica is a nature-lover, photographer, and educator. As an instructor and program director at Rocky Mountain School of Photography, she teaches a variety of topics for both hobbyists and aspiring professionals. Jessica loves helping people explore and improve their craft, discover their visual voice, and connect with their unique perspectives and path. She’s also passionate about photographing wildlife ethically and shares “a tale of two owls” whenever she has the chance. You can read the tale and see her wildlife photography at

alaskaWILD 2023 photographers include:
Glenn Aronwits    
Alan Musy
John DeLapp    
Gayle Neufeld
Phillip Flippo    
James Norman
Cathy Hart    
Fredrik Norrsell
Bill Heubner    
T. Bart Quimby
Tara Horton    
Alex Rearick
Doug Hupp    
Andy Romang
Julie Jessen    
Anita Shepperd
Amber Johnson    
Ayden Smith
Genevieve Klebba    
Jamin Hunter Taylor
Chuck Maas    
Colin Tyler
Mark Morones

The Alaska Society of Outdoor and Nature Photographers was founded in the mid-1980s and is an educational, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting public education, self-improvement, and ethics in outdoor and nature photography. ASONP members participate in group photography trips, photo contests, lectures, slide shows, and discussions. For more information about ASONP, visit

You can connect with ASONP or alaskaWILD on their website: or on social media: Facebook ASONP or Alaska Society of Outdoor and Nature Photographers on Facebook, or asonp_907 on Instagram.

Gayle Neufeld of Alaska Wild will give an artist talk titled: “Up Close and Personal – Photographing the Bear of McNeil River” on Friday, May 12 at 7 p.m. in the Bear Gallery. The McNeil River Sanctuary is adjacent to Katmai National Park and protects the world’s largest concentration of brown bears. Gayle Neufeld is an Alaska-based photographer and biologist who has spent the last 26 years photographing wildlife and landscapes in Alaska, Africa, and Central and South America. She is the Vice President of the Alaska Society of Outdoor and Nature Photographers and the Alaska Photographic Center. 

The alaskaWILD 2023 exhibit is supported in part by the Rasmuson Foundation through the Harper Arts Touring Fund, and administered, under contract, by the Alaska State Council on the Arts.

These exhibitions and artist talks are free and open to the public thanks to support from our donors and members.