Award winners flew to Anchorage for the ninth Individual Artist Awards program Tuesday morning.
Brendan Harrington won a $12,000 fellowship and Tracy Opheim won a $5,000 project grant.
The Rasmuson Foundation awarded 26 project grants, 10 artist fellowships and one Distinguished Artist Award. Kes Woodward of Fairbanks won the 2012 Rasmuson Distinguished Artist Award and $25,000. The winners were chosen from 305 applicants.
Harrington has been painting almost his whole life. After art school, he lived in Berlin and Scotland during non-summer months for nine years. He moved back to Kodiak a few years ago.
His art focuses on people and places, and frequently uses scenery from Alaska’s coastlines.
Because Harrington is a fisherman, finding the time to work in his studio has been challenging.
Harrington plans to use the money to take time off from fishing to focus on his art during the fall and winter.
“It’s been hard to take enough time off to do as much art as I want to,” Harrington said. “It’s pretty awesome to win the award.”
He will also use the money to travel to Interior Alaska to take photos for source material and to make some additions to his studio.
“I plan on doing renovations to my studio space so I have heating in there and not so many leaks,” Harrington said.
Opheim also plans to use some of his grant money for workspace improvements.
“I’m going to buy some more tools and possibly set up a little shop,” Opheim said.
Opheim creates intricate replicas of fishing boats by carving them from baleen and ivory. He started creating the boats seven years ago after he saw one for sale in a store and decided he could make a better one.
“I’m inspired by the fishing community in Kodiak,” Opheim said. “I’m trying to do something different that I’ve never seen before. I’ve never seen a baleen crab boat or salmon boat.”
His personal experience in 23 years of commercial fishing allows him to add the little details to the boats that might get left out otherwise.
Two of his baleen boat models were purchased by the Alutiiq Museum.
The Rasmuson Foundation board of directors launched the program in December 2003 to ensure Alaska has a vibrant art and culture community. The Individual Artist Awards program has awarded 267 grants totaling $1.9 million dollars to Alaska artists since its inception.
Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at email@example.com.