Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

State offices to display local art


December 14, 2017

Two well-known Haines artists’ artwork will be added to a circulating collection of more than 700 pieces displayed in State of Alaska offices.

A Tlingit frog blanket by Shori Heaton and a pastel painting by Donna Catotti are among 18 works of art by individual Alaskan artists selected this fall by the Alaska State Council on the Arts.

A volunteer jury of art professionals picked the works from 499 pieces submitted. They will be added to the Alaska Contemporary Art Bank and available for display in public buildings in January.

Heaton, a Haines resident of 31 years, said she submitted five pieces of art online in September. The one selected is a collaborative piece with her husband Jim Heaton that she calls “unique dot art.” Jim Heaton drew a Tlingit frog blanket, which Shori Heaton painted with small dots.

Heaton said she started creating dot art in July, and has made images of mushrooms, an octopus, feathers, halibut, a walrus and a narwhal. She has been a First Friday featured artist at Alaska Rod’s, and has pieces displayed in Skipping Stone Studio and Alaska Arts Confluence on Main Street. This is her first time being accepted into the art bank collection.

“I’ve never had my art put up in a museum or show, it’s kind of nerve-wracking,” Heaton said.

Catotti submitted six paintings online. The committee selected one called “Autumn Tidal Flats on the Chilkat River” that depicts the view at the bottom of Cemetary Hill of orange seagrasses in the fall.

The artwork has had its fair share of accolades, winning a merit award from the Southeastern Pastel Society at an art show in Atlanta, Georgia in April and a people’s choice award at the Portrait Society of America Alaska Member’s show this summer at the Haines Sheldon Museum.

The painting was on display at the American Women Artists show in Tucson, Arizona before it was purchased for the art bank collection.

Catotti said the artwork was for sale in Tucson, but she is happy it did not go to a private owner.

“It’s exciting to think a lot of people will see it, not just one person will appreciate it,” Catotti said. This is her first work to be accepted into the art bank collection. “It feels like an honor to be part of an Alaskan collection,” Catotti said.

The Alaska State Council on the Arts will host a reception in Anchorage on Dec. 21 to showcase the artwork and artists. Although neither Heaton or Catotti can attend, Heaton said she will have family there in her stead.

The Alaska Contemporary Art Bank was founded in 1975 “to expose more Alaskans to high quality work by contemporary Alaskan artists through the loaning of original art to public offices throughout Alaska and to invest in Alaska’s creative industry through direct purchase of artists’ work,” according to a Council on the Arts press release.


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