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

Arts Outlook


April 26, 2018

First Friday abloom with art, activities

May’s First Friday is abloom with puppets, paintings, plants and more at participating businesses.

Port Chilkoot Distillery tasting room manager Caitie Kirby will display her own artwork on Friday, May 4 in the tasting room. Kirby said she’ll be showing a collection of oil on canvas paintings “expressing mood through color and shape, with an emphasis on nature.”

Rhonda Hinson of Alaska Rod’s said the store is adding a new artist to its repertoire. Herb Bonnet, a painter, lived in Haines in the 1970s and passed away in Juneau last year. His daughter Michelle Bonnet Hale decided to sell his paintings, mostly of Chilkat Valley landscapes, in Haines and will be at the shop to talk about her father’s artwork.

Alaska Arts Confluence will display 14 puppets and set pieces made by Haines School students grades four through seven for their recent puppet show “The Curse of Equatia.” School librarian Leigh Horner said she and the students will be there to talk about the performances, which featured Maddox Rogers as Prince Nefarbi on a quest to break a curse with math. Horner encourages First Friday patrons to talk to the students about their experiences. Puppet-sized snacks will be on hand, and a recording of the puppet show will play on a computer.

Haines Brewing Company will feature Juneau artist Rachael Juzeler and her glass work. Juzeler, under Ratchet Constructs, has created chandeliers, chisels, shovels, axes and other tools out of glass. Juzeler said on her website that she likes to “live life to the absolute fullest” and is “not afraid to live complete contradiction,” and she shows this through her art.

Ampersand AK will host a pop-up sale for Foundroot Seed Co., Nick Schlosstein and Leah Wagner’s local seed company. Ampersand co-owner Andrea Nelson said Foundroot will have seeds and starts for sale as part of the store’s spring and flowers theme for Mother’s Day and May Day next month. She said the store will also stock a few new products that complement the theme.

Haines Sheldon Museum director Helen Alten will present on Ethnologists in the Chilkat Valley beginning at 6:30 p.m. The talk is part of the museum’s Fortnight of Learning program running April 30 through May 11 that features lectures on historical topics.

Sarah J’s will provide smoked meats from their new smoker as part of their “Art of Smoke” event.

Sarah J’s is also the launch sponsor of the new CYD Kids Run Series. During First Friday activities, kids will start and end races at Sarah J’s - a half mile race for 4-to-6-year-olds and a 1-mile race for 5-to-10-year-olds. Races begin at 6 p.m.

Genny Rietze will be the featured artist at Blossom on Main Street. Her work includes handmade knits, hand-dyed merino hats, merino headbands and shopping totes made from rescued thrift store yarns.

The Pioneer Bar will host Alaskan Fisher-poet Steve Schoonmaker. Schoonmaker has been an Alaska commercial fisherman for 29 years, fishing herring, salmon, crab, halibut and cod. He’s seined, gillnetted, set-netted, long-lined, wrangled horses, guided hunters, and worked in hatcheries and Fish & Game camps from Cordova to Togiak. For the last 10 years Schoonmaker has been sharing stories of these adventures through poetry. He’s become a favorite at the annual Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria, Oregon which celebrates commercial fishing tales through poetry, storytelling and songs. In the last several years, Schoonmaker has been performing around the state of Alaska; his energetic performances offer an entertaining glimpse into the Fisher Poets tradition, according to Lynn Canal Conservation’s Elsa Sebastian. The poetry reading begins at 8 p.m. at the close of Frist Friday.

The Magpie Gallery will host local artist, student and business owner Jacob Weerasinghe, 13, for First Friday. He makes a variety of things from scented candles to jewelry to clothing for his company Alaska Creations.

The American Bald Eagle Foundation will be open for a “Family of Craftsmen” artist showcase and a special guest experience with Hans the owl.

The Babbling Book will be open for First Friday goers. Owner Darcee Messano said she will stock new gift items and copies of Bea Johnson’s book “Zero Waste Home” and Dan Henry’s book “Across the Shaman’s River.” Messano said a replacement window for the storefront - to replace the window shattered in January when high winds crashed a car roof rack into the store - and a business Facebook page are coming soon.

Other participating businesses include Second Nature on Second Avenue hosting an open house to showcase their newly expanded store. The Inn at Haines will also host an open house. The Rusty Compass Coffeehouse will hold extended hours for First Friday, closing at 7 p.m. Uniquely Alaskan Gifts will hold “free and fun Puppet Improv” by Tresham Gregg. Lynn View Mercantile and the Wild Iris will also be open for First Friday patrons.

Theater Conservatory sign-ups begin

Registration is open for the 2018 Summer Youth Theater Conservatory, performing “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis.

Program coordinator Annette Smith said students ages 8 to 18 can register for the theater camp taking place June 28 through July 22, with final performances on July 20 and 21. Students attend from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Chilkat Center.

“Students receive instruction in voice, movement, acting, character development, stage combat and the various aspects of producing a play,” Smith said.

Children ages 5 to 7 can register for a halftime playmaking session. The playmakers develop a play of their own and are incorporated into the main conservatory production. Tuition is $275 for conservatory students and $175 for playmaking.

“This is a wonderful creative experience for kids in the summer,” Smith said. “It’s their time to ‘own’ the Chilkat Center stage, and they always give the audience a good show.”

Smith said two new directors, Marcos Najera and Debra Piver, from Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles will lead the conservatory. Kathy Madsen of Haines will return to direct the playmaking group.

Registration forms are available at the Babbling Book and online at There are pre-registration discounts available before June 8. Partial scholarships are also available on a needs basis. For more information call Annette Smith at 766-2708.

Classical conclusion to art council season

A classical vocalist will take the Chilkat Center stage this month accompanied by a renowned pianist to complete Haines Arts Council’s season.

Soprano Katharine Dain and pianist Jeffrey Grossman of the Piatigorsky Foundation will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 10.

Haines Arts Council president Tom Heywood said this is the second year the Piatigorsky Foundation out of Baltimore has sent its musicians to Haines. He said the organization, which has ties to the Sitka Summer Music Festival, represents classical artists and raises money to send them to perform across the country. “They contacted us and we said yes,” Heywood said.

Dain was educated at Harvard University, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and Mannes College in New York. She has performed in operas and with orchestras across the United States and Europe. Her operatic roles include Donizetti’s Lucia and Mozart’s Donna Anna and Fiordiligi. This year she will debut as Konstanze in five French opera houses. The Irish Times called her performances “thrilling” and “heart-piercing.” Dain sang at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and other prestigious venues. She is American but currently lives in the Netherlands.

Keyboardist and conductor Jeffrey Grossman will accompany Dain. He specializes in “vital, engaging performances of music of the past, through processes that are intensely collaborative and historically informed,” according to a press release. This season, Grossman directs the baroque ensemble The Sebastians from the harpsichord and organ and will return to the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra as featured harpsichord soloist in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti. Grossman will also perform this year with TENET, The Green Mountain Project, Chamber Music Northwest, Quodlibet, New York Baroque Incorporated and the Bach Players of Holy Trinity. A native of Detroit, Michigan, he holds degrees from Harvard, Juilliard and Carnegie Mellon University. Grossman currently lives in New York City.

Dain and Grossman plan to perform pieces by Handel, Purcell, Verdi, Poulenc and Bizet. “We’re happy to finish out our main season with a classical concert,” Heywood said.


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