Arts Outlook


June 24, 2021

First Fridays are back

First Fridays have returned as more people become comfortable going out and about. Three artists will be displaying their work at venues across town on July 2.

The Port Chilkoot Distillery will display oil paintings by Tawny Darling. Oil is a new medium for Darling, who painted mostly with acrylics until experimenting with oil.

“I started on oil paintings two years ago and just fell in love with it,” Darling said. “I’m one of those people that gets distracted easily. Oil paintings are nice because you can walk away for a couple of hours or a couple of days and come back.”

She’ll have five paintings at the distillery, all nature scenes taken from the Chilkat Valley, California and Florida.

Longtime Haines artist Walter Betz will be displaying oil and watercolor paintings at the Haines Brewing Company. Betz, 74, has worked as a fisherman and painted an image used as a KHNS poster. His work has been displayed in the windows at Howsers and in Mountain Market among other places.

He also will offer greeting cards printed with some of his paintings.

“I’ve been doing that sort of stuff for most of my life,” Betz said. “I’ve never really gotten into the selling aspect of it, trying to make money at it,” Betz said.

Jacob Weerasinghe will showcase his Alaska Creations candles, clothing, blankets and jewelry at the Alaska Arts Confluence.

Weerasinghe, a high school student, has been making and selling products since he was 8 years old. He established Alaska Creations in 2015 and manufactures candles, designs jewelry and runs his business between work at the Rusty Compass and school.

“For the candles, I make them from scratch,” he said. “For the clothing, I hire designers and my job is to find the clothing, decide which piece of clothing I want to go with what design and get in contact with a printer to have that executed.”

His friends Haley and Hannah Boron drew Alaska animal designs that Weerasinghe has used as graphics for the clothes he sells. His scented candles include spruce, blueberry, fireweed, grapefruit, lavender and cinnamon.

Earrings, recycled-glass beads, laser-cut wood earrings and charms will be available. The clothing graphics include images of moose, salmon, lupines, orcas and mermaids.

Davidman to give reading of new play

Playwright and actor Aaron Davidman will present a reading of a play he wrote over the winter about the culture of violence in America in the Chilkat Center lobby Thursday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Davidman created the play and film “Wrestling Jerusalem,” a one-person play that explores different characters’ experiences in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, exploring various ideological viewpoints of 17 different characters.

In his new play “Ghost Town Bardo,” which is still in draft form, Davidman focuses on one character, a U.S. Army veteran trying to understand “the complexities of violence, firearms and the myth of American individualism.”

Davidman spent several years speaking with Americans, including a veteran, a Florida elected official, police, gun rights advocates, emergency medical workers and others in an attempt to better understand gun violence. This winter, he said he decided to focus on one character and go deep into his story.

“We’ll spend one evening with one character,” Davidman said. “Who in our culture has more authority to speak on firearms than a professional who’s been trained? This character is an invented character grown from the seed of an army veteran who did a number of tours in Iraq.”

The play follows the man from age 12 when his father instills in him a lesson that people consist of three types: sheeps, wolves and sheepdogs. Sheepdogs are the protectors and while they’re often criticized by the sheep, his father tells him, they’re always called upon when the wolves arrive.

The play follows his quest to become a sheepdog, and the experiences in war that shape him.

“From the Wild West to Iraq, from a V.A. hospital to the streets of Chicago, this searing and intimate portrait follows the story of an American warrior grappling with his ghosts in search of peace within himself,” a description of the play reads.

Davidman said he hopes to use the reading as an opportunity to revise the draft of the play.

“You don’t know what you’ve got until you air it,” Davidman said. “It’s one of the painful yet necessary parts of making a play. It’s meant to be live and you just don’t know until it lives in a room with people who’ve never heard it before.”

Heather Lende will also lead a conversation after the reading. Hosted by the Alaska Arts Council, a $5-$10 minimum donation is requested. Limited seating is available.


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