With the opening gala of the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center (KVCC) art show, summer is officially underway on the Peninsula. A record number of visitors turned out last week for the annual art show premier hosted by the Kenai Convention Visitors Bureau, "This is the first time we've ever kept an accurate head count, but we feel that 635 certainly is the most that have ever attended our opening gala," Natasha Ala, KVCC executive director told the Dispatch. The theme of this year's show is "Reflections on Alaska Statehood," or "The 49th at 50." The guest curator for this year's show Barry McWayne of Fairbanks asked Alaskan artists to create something that reflected what they felt about statehood and Alaskan history, "2009 is a very important year in the history of Alaska. It marks a half-century since inhabitants of this far-flung place chose to join the Union. To celebrate this significant milestone, the KVCC has crafted a wonderful array of activities focused on statehood, not the least of which is this well-respected and highly successful invitational art exhibition. The works assembled here are from some of Alaska's heavy hitters in our art community, artists with renowned international reputations," said McWayne.
McWayne attributes the response from artists to the reputation that the KVCC summer art show has earned over the years, "This summer show at the KVCC now in its tenth year has established a statewide credibility and respect among artists, who want to have their work seen in good venues, treated professionally with respect, and at places where a lot of people are going to come and enjoy their work. So the reputation that has been established at the previous shows has had an impact on the art community and is why we have had so many major artists participate again this year. In my invitation to the artists I encouraged them to feel no constraints at all and to make art that was meaningful to themselves. What you see here is an exciting exhibition that honors bold or gentle, serious or sarcastic, humorous, mystical or flamboyant that honors the artist's ideals," said McWayne.
"It was a great night and we were so happy to show off our renovated facility and let everyone know we are open and back in business again. This annual themed exhibit would not be possible without the generous financial support of the community members and businesses that fund the exhibit. We appreciate their continued commitment to the arts and culture in Kenai," said Ala. "One of the things that I would encourage everyone to do, even those who were here tonight, is to return to the KVCC after the frenzy and excitement of this opening subsides and walk through the gallery again spending time with each individual piece and let them speak to you. I think in that private contemplative moment you'll find some very special surprises," added McWayne. In honor of Alaska's 50th anniversary of statehood the KVCC show will run through December 31st.
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