FY18 Annual Report

Message from the Director

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 8.51.17 AMFY-18 is in the books and we are excited to look back on a year’s worth of excitement and share it with you. The snapshot of programs and events below represents activities occurring between July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018. So much happens in a year, and we couldn’t do any of it without our board, staff, members, donors, and volunteers. Through the joint efforts of this teamwork, I am pleased to share that in FY-18, 1,115 artists were involved with programs and events that reached over 50,000 individuals, a number that includes 11,337 students.

As 2018 concludes and I look back on nearly three years as director of this organization, I can say that it isn’t always easy, it isn’t always fun, but it is always worthwhile to aim big, work hard, and lift up our community in and through the arts. It is a pleasure each day I have the honor to work with the committed, creative, and excellent people of our community. 

On behalf of the staff and board at Fairbanks Arts, I want to thank you for your partnership and support and for being invested in a happier and healthier place to work, live, and visit.  We are looking forward to another wonderful year of working with you!

Warm regards,

Jess Peña

Executive Director



History & Mission

FAA history_Page_2

Incorporated in 1966, Fairbanks Arts Association is the oldest community arts council in the state and is the official arts organization for both the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the City of Fairbanks. Through the mission to promote excellence in contemporary and traditional Alaskan arts in Alaska’s Interior, Fairbanks Arts Association assumes a leadership role for the arts and their related activities – and if we can’t help, we find a person or organization that can. Fairbanks Arts partners with the community in the shared interest of driving the arts forward, and hundreds of volunteer hours are dedicated to serving on community advisory committees that help steer the course of Fairbanks Arts programming.Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 4.26.01 PM



FY-18 Management & Governance

FY18_staff and board


FY-18 Programs

Programs are a core part of Fairbanks Arts Association’s outreach efforts and allow us to fulfill our mission of promoting traditional and contemporary arts in Alaska’s Interior. The Bear Gallery, an exhibition and community space is home to numerous events year-round. Throughout FY-18 we had: 


While programs are not the only facet of Fairbanks Arts, they allow us to share the talents of our community and engage the public in an important way.

Here is a snapshot of our programs over the past year…


Visual Arts

Monthly Exhibits in Fairbanks Arts’ Bear Gallery annually feature solo, group, and curated shows from Alaskan artists. It also features traveling museum exhibits, the annual FNSB student art show, and Fairbanks Arts’ spring and fall juried shows open to Interior Alaska Artists. Year-round, the Bear Gallery gift shop featured hundreds of Alaskan artists, artisans, and authors.

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FY-18 Bear Gallery exhibition schedule


July: Wayne Jex & Cynthia West

August: Colleen Firmin Thomas & Kristin Link

September: Nancy Burnham & Deb Horner

October: 64th Parallel, juror: Emily Nachison

November: Vladimir Zhikhartsev & Ina Timling

December: Rarefied Light from

AK Photographic Center


January: Ryota Kajita & Curator Phoebe Rohrbacher

February: Takenya Rosetta & Fairbanks Potters’ Guild

March: Up With Art FNSB District Student Exhibit

April: 2nd Annual Spring Juried, “Whimsy”

May: Feathers & Fingertips Curated by Igor Pasternak

June: Becky Anderson & George Gianakopoulos


The Bear Gallery Gift Shop is home to the work of hundreds of artists, artisans, and
authors. Each month, a new artist is featured in the gift shop and the Watercolor Corner,
In addition to exhibitions and a robust gift shop, Fairbanks Arts’ Cabin 13 infused extra artistry into Pioneer Park during the summer season with an artist co-op featuring 10 local artists. This gave park visitors an opportunity to indulge in locally made goods while providing professional development to emerging artists through co-operative management of the space.curated by Fairbanks Arts affiliate Fairbanks Watercolor Society, highlights a different artist.


Literary Arts

Fairbanks Arts offered free monthly readings in the Bear Gallery featuring local and visiting authors of various genres. The Bear Gallery gift shop is home to over 100 publications by Alaskan authors and is adding more all the time.  

Other literary events during FY18 included celebrating Alaska Book Week, book signings and releases, the Poetry at the Dredge Festival and a new program to Fairbanks Arts, Alaska Reads.


FY-18 reading schedule: 


July: John Kooistra and Linda Schandelmeier

August: Leah Aronow-Brown

September: Annual UAF MFA Faculty Reading

October: Alaska Book Week book sale & signing with David Marusek

November: NaNoWriMo’s “Night of Writing Dangerously” overnight write-in

December: Fairbanks Arts story time at Pioneer Park’s Holiday Celebration


January: Northern Review journal contributors

February: Erica Watson

March: Alaska Reads Kick-off reception in Fairbanks and program tour (Juneau, Sitka, Anchorage, Homer, Soldotna, Kodiak)

April: Martha Amore & Jean Anderson

EGO (English Graduate Organization)

Poetry at the Dredge

June: Community Writers Group & Alaska Writers Guild

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dredge poetry slide

AK Book Week 2017.jpg

Writing in the Dark

Alaska Reads is a statewide program featuring a publication by a living Alaskan Author and was started in 2015 by then State Writer Laureate, Frank Soos. Fairbanks Arts adopted the program in 2017 and established branding, a website (www.alaskareads.org), and a framework for the program in an effort to make it a sustainable effort. Over FY18 the Alaska Reads program involved an incredible amount of collaboration with statewide libraries, Alaska Center for the Book in Anchorage, and the selected author, Nicole Stellon O’Donnell. In mid-March, Nicole traveled throughout Alaska and conducted outreach activities, presented at the Alaska Library Association Conference and held a number of interviews with statewide radio stations.  


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Nicole Stellon O’Donnell reads from her upcoming book You Are No Longer in Trouble at the grand opening of The Writer’s Block in Anchorage during the Alaska Reads tour.

Performing Arts

Gazebo Nights, a free nightly performance series in June, July, and August featured a diversity of performances for visitors to Pioneer Park including jazz piano, storytelling, fiddle music, folk music, and more.

The Totally Impromptu Performance Series (T.I.P.S.) is a summertime busking program in Pioneer Park. In the fall, Fairbanks Arts featured a special outdoor concert in the Park’s gazebo featuring classical pianist Miki Sawada as part of her Gather Hear Alaska tour.

Miki Sawada performed an outdoor concert at Pioneer Park’s gazebo as part of her Gather Hear Alaska tour.


In April, 2018, a big Fairbanks Arts project wrapped up when the radio version of Our Voices Will be Heard was broadcast nationally on Native Voice One. This was part of Fairbanks Arts activities back in October 2016 when we brought Perseverance Theatre’s production of Vera Starbard’s play to Fairbanks during the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention. In addition to three staged readings of the production and a Healing Through Storytelling workshop, the OVWBH cast recorded the radio version of the play in the KUAC studios. We are so excited that listeners can now access this on NV1! 


Arts in Education

Fairbanks Arts’ long-standing Artists-in-Schools residency program included over 6,000 participants (students and educators) while Fairbanks Arts and Cultural Education (FACE) school performances brought over 5,000 FNSBSD students and their teachers to high-quality theatrical and musical performances.

Talented young artists within FNSBSD showcased their skills during the annual Up With Art student show in the Bear Gallery that takes place each March during National Arts Education Month.

Artists in Schools Program:


Fairbanks Arts Association in partnership with local presenting organizations offer school performances through the Fairbanks Arts & Cultural Education program. Here, happy students enjoy taiko drumming at a performance presented by Fairbanks Concert Association.

Events & Community


Over FY-18, community workshops included:

    • Teaching Artist Training Academy for prospective teaching artists
    • Creating a Professional Artist Portfolio
    • How to Photograph Your Artwork
    • Writing in the Dark: Worldbuilding geared toward local writers
    • Persona Poems taught by the Alaska Reads author, Nicole Stellon O’Donnell
    • Organization for the Artist with Elizabeth Eero Irving
    • Informational Presentation from Rasmuson Foundation
    • Creative Capital Professional Development Program: Strategic Planning


Other programs of Fairbanks Arts regularly incorporate professional development by providing high standards for artistic practice and taking an educational stance on how to achieve said standards, such as our Statewide Portfolio Review for exhibits in the Bear Gallery.

In February, we also enjoyed hosting a roundtable and reception with members of the Fairbanks community and NEA Chairman Jane Chu!

NEA Visit to FAA 2018

Louden Workshop 2018
Community town hall discussion with Sharon Louden, Hrag Vartanian, and Matthew Deleget.


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FY18 FAA Revenue Graphic

FY-18 Expenses graphic

Full FY-18 Financial Review is available upon request.

Many thanks to our FY-18 Donors and Sponsors!


We would also like to thank our many individual donors and members for ongoing support throughout the year and for a special gift made in honor of Dr. Robert W. Taylor.


Fy-18 was a wonderful year–many thanks to Fairbanks Arts members, donors, volunteers, and supporters for making it possible!



Any way you add it up, Fairbanks Arts equals community!