College co-sponsors 'Alaska 2003: A Celebration of Wildlife Art'

Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2003

KPC, along with the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center, announces the opening of a must-see, international exhibition of world-class wildlife art at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center beginning Friday. The show is dedicated in memory of well-loved Alaska artists Fred and Sarah Machentanz, who both died last year. There will be a grand opening reception of Alaska's largest wildlife art exhibit from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

KPC's favorite biology professor, Dr. David Wartinbee, is the curator of this year's art event. He also was the curator of the "Alaska 2000: A Celebration of Wildlife Art" that drew more than 25,000 visitors. He thinks this year's show will be even more spectacular than the last. The success of the previous event led world-renowned artists to seek out the opportunity to show their work.

"This is the biggest wildlife art show ever in Alaska and one of the biggest in the country. We have over 60 original paintings by 42 of the top wildlife artists in the world. Ordinarily you'd have to go to New York City or another big city to see art of this caliber. We have advertised the show nationally and internationally and our reputation for putting on a good show is now known around the world," he said.

As curator of the exhibition, Wartinbee has had the sole responsibility of choosing the art that will appear.

"I know almost all the artists in the show and have been a wildlife art buff for years. It's a hobby close to my heart and being involved at this level is a natural progression of my interests. My wife and I have attended many shows throughout the country and I have acted as curator for six shows back on the East Coast when I was a professor there," he said.

Wartinbee was quick to give credit to all the people who have worked incredibly hard to put this art show on the map.

"Ricky Gease and his staff at the visitor's center are the absolutely the best. The facility itself is outstanding and the community support we get is unbelievable. We could not put this together without the sponsors who have made both financial and in-kind donations to provide the resources needed to put on an exhibit of this caliber," he said.

Major sponsors include Conoco Phillips, Era Aviation, Homer Electric Association, Paul Gray's Exploring Alaska TV, and the Peninsula Oilers and Booster Club. There are too many minor sponsors to list, but this exhibit is firmly supported by the community.

Don't miss the opportunity to see the work of famous artists like Robert Bateman, Carl Brenders, Krystii Melaine, Guy Coheleach, Dan Smith, John Seerey-Lester, Rod Fredereick and more.

One more aspect of this show is noteworthy. KPC's former, long-time art professor, Gary Freeburg, who recently retired and moved to the East Coast, was brought back to Alaska to "hang the show." Freeburg is known for his black and white photography and has been involved in too many art exhibits to count. Dr. Wartinbee says he has done an unbelievable job in presenting the magnificent work on display.

The show will run Friday through Sept. 6 and over 95 percent of the artwork is for sale. Don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to see world-class wildlife art right here in our own backyard.

Who's Who

KPC's Who's Who highlights the faculty and staff who work hard to make KPC a college of first choice. This week KPC would like to introduce its accounting supervisor.

Who: Curt Wallace

Academic background: Wallace earned his bachelor of business administration and management from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1984.

Time in Alaska: "I've been in Alaska for 30 years. I moved here with my parents while I was still in high school. I've stayed because I can't imagine a better place to live."

Hobbies/interests: "I enjoy boating and fishing in the summer, and I play wallyball and basketball in the winter. I also enjoy restoring old cars and am currently in the process of restoring a 1966 Mustang Fastback."

Memorable job: "Right out of high school I took a job in a logging camp in Jakolof Bay. It was hard, dangerous work and the pay wasn't that great. It definitely influenced my decision to pursue higher education."

Five years from now: "Hopefully still here at KPC making sure everything goes smoothly in the business office."

Favorite thing about KPC: "I like the sense of community that everyone has. Our faculty and staff are truly dedicated to delivering the highest quality educational experience possible. I believe that we have a first rate organization from top to bottom."

This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, community relations coordinator at Kenai Peninsula College.

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