The Bear Gallery

An Art Gallery & Gift Shop in Fairbanks 

The Fairbanks Arts Association in partnership with Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation offer a free admission fine art gallery & gift shop located in the heart of Pioneer Park. The Bear Gallery is on the third floor of the Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts in Pioneer Park at 2300 Airport Road.

Summer hours (June, July, and August): Noon to 8 pm, Daily.

Winter hours: Noon to 6 pm, Tuesday through Saturday.

Scroll through to see what we have in the Bear Gallery & Gift Shop this month.

See a list of upcoming Bear Gallery exhibits.


On View July 7-29

Wayne Jex and Cynthia West

Wayne Jex: Photographer

Gallery Exhibition: Contemplations of Alaska, and a Few of Asia

“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”
Robert Bresson, French film director.

“Winter Sunset Behind Aspen” Archival inkjet print of digital photo on watercolor paper

publicity_headshot_jex_cropped_web-sizeWayne Jex says this quote embodies what he is trying to do in a very small way with his photography. “I want to make something visible in a way that may be different from the way others see the same thing; at a slightly different perspective from the way that they may see it; or of a subject that they may have not been in the presence of. I’m not very good with words, which is one reason I try to communicate with images. A long-time friend who has seen a lot of my photography told me that I “do serenity well.” I hope that is one thing that comes through in most of my images – at least a momentary respite from these troubled times.

Wayne has been taking photographs since he was old enough to hold an old box camera loaded with roll film and discovered what pressing the shutter can produce. There have been a lot of changes since then in the technology used to produce a photograph. With digital photography, his principle is to not “Photoshop” my images in ways that he could not have done in the darkroom, but which would have been more difficult and time consuming there.

Cynthia West: Painter

Gallery Exhibition: Secret Garden

Lotus on Blue_Cynthia West
“Lotus on Blue” Oil on cotton

Cynthia West is a life long Alaskan and part of 5 generations who have called Fairbanks home. She thrives outdoors surrounded by nature. This is where she is able to replenish her creative spirit and find inspiration for her art. Cynthia is fascinated with organic, natural shapes and is delighted by the endless beauty and inspiration found outdoors.


On View: August 4-26

Kristin Link and Colleen Firmin Thomas

Opening Reception: August 4, 5-7pm

Artist Lecture by Kristin Link: August 3, 7pm, Blue Room


Kristin Link: Mixed Media

Gallery Exhibition: Portraits of Nature

“Kennecott Ledger – Azurite” Pen and watercolor on historic paper

Kristin_Link_artist_photo_web-sizeKristin has been working as a natural history artist in Alaska since she received a graduate certificate in Science Illustration from California State University Monterey Bay in 2010. Her ambition as an artist is to create images that explain and excite people about their natural surroundings. Her work may be found on interpretive signs, in books about national parks, and in museums. She has exhibited her illustrations and field sketches at the Alaska State Museum and received grants from the Rasmuson Foundation and the Alaska State Council on the Arts. She lives in a cabin outside McCarthy, Alaska.

“When I make a painting or drawing I spend intense time observing my subjects and distilling their shapes and textures onto the page with pen, paint, and pencil. I use select detail, like a divot in a rock or the shape of a leaf, to create focus and move the eye across the page.”

Colleen Firmin Thomas: Mixed Media

“Touch” Mixed Media: Paint, Paper, Porcupine Quills, Sinew, and Acrylic Mediums

colleenthomas300ppi©SarahLewisPhotography-24Colleen Firmin Thomas grew up in Fort Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska. In her mixed media paintings she uses familiar materials such as beads, paper, porcupine quills, thread, and fabric in unconventional ways to examine and understand her individual and cultural identities and how the two inform her view of the world. Colleen received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She lives in Fairbanks with her husband and two children.

Gift Shop Artist of the Month:

Featured Artist of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival

Brianna Reagan

Aurora Chaser_copy_Brianna_Reagan_web-size
“Aurora Chaser” Mounted print block

BriannaReagan2017Brianna Reagan obtained her Bachelor of Fine Art degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2008, and has exhibited her work in numerous art shows throughout Alaska. Her paintings are multi-media works of art, where she applies acrylic paint on wood with layers of inks and color pencils. She currently lives and works in Fairbanks, Alaska with her husband, daughter, and two giant dogs, Cooper & Greta.

Brianna is also the 2017 Signature Artist for the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. To see more of her festival art, visit the FSAF Box Office at Morris Thompson or FSAF events at various locations around Fairbanks.

Visit to see more of Brianna’s artwork.

Gift Shop Artist of the Month:

03_Thai Elephant_Veronica Martinez

Veronica_Martinez_IMG_6640 vmTrue-Faux was created as a design theme by Veronica Lynette Martinez in late 2011. Veronica has been creative for most of her life: she did nothing but draw between the ages of 4 and 25 and began writing at the age of 9. She began designing and creating her own jewelry as a hobby in 1993. More recently, she began to play with electronic samples and now records music under the moniker DJ Rhani/Mehanes (on iTunes, Amazon & Spotify).

Veronica grew up overseas in Germany as a military dependent and was stationed in the Middle East (Sinai) as a soldier in the US Army (Quartermaster Corps). She is the proud mother of James Martinez, an independent filmmaker. True-Faux reflects her desire for simple, eclectic, and ethnic world jewelry, and she believes adornment as a personal tool can be used to positively alter one’s mood.

The name True/Faux is just another way of saying True/False. In essence, this means the products are originals created by the artist, yet are produced using materials meant to resemble or imitate genuine metals, gems, or semi-precious stones. Veronica also attempts to imitate the styles of world jewelry, or modify them. “Faux” can also be taken as a play on the word “fey” because it is essentially costume jewelry, and it’s meant to be fun.

 Watercolor Corner Artist


Gael Murakami

Mid-Summer Trees and the size is 6”x9”, watercolor_Gael_Murakami
“Mid-summer Trees” Watercolor

Gael Murakami paintingGael Murakami maintains a studio in Fairbanks, Alaska. She was born in Seattle, Washington, and received her degree at the University of Washington. She divides her time between painting landscapes on location, experimenting with various water media in her studio, and conducting workshops. The landscape of Alaska inspires her work. Watercolor and acrylics allow her to paint on location and also achieve effects of atmosphere and space. Painting while on hiking and climbing trips resulted in her developing a distinctive and recognizable style. She has been able to build a reputation and a demand for her work by exhibiting at local galleries and entering local and national competitions. Gael is a founding member of the Fairbanks Watercolor Society.

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