The anticipated grand opening reception of the Alaska 2003: A Celebration of Wildlife Art drew over 800 local community members last Saturday. The second wildlife art show at the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center features over 60 original paintings by 42 world-renowned wildlife artists. The first wildlife art show, which drew such high acclaim internationally in Y2K, had about 35 pieces.
"The reception that we received for that show was phenomenal from the community as well as people throughout Alaska and the world that had the opportunity to see it, but this show is twice the size and twice the magnitude really of the first show that was also curated by David Wartinbee, and it really has turned into something quite amazing," said Gary Freeburg, the artist who hung both shows.
Many of the original works are also available for purchase.
"A show like Alaska 2003: A Celebration of Wildlife Art, can be the dream of a few, but it takes a community to make it happen," acknowledged the shows curator, KPC Professor and Biologist, Dr. David Wartinbee.
As part of the sponsorship of the show, the City of Kenai will receive an addition to it's permanent art collection.
"ConocoPhillips has been a King Salmon sponsor of our art shows for the last three years, and part of that sponsorship underwrites a purchase of a piece of art that is donated to the permanent collection for the City of Kenai. This year we have selected a piece by Terry Isaac called Amber Eyes. Terry is one of the top wildlife artists in the world, and it's really an honor to have one of his pieces enter into the City's permanent art collection," said KCVB Executive Director Ricky Gease.
"This gives us a chance to give back to the community. ConocoPhillips believes that by underwriting exhibits like this, it enhances the community and is also educational for both adults and the youth of the community. You can walk through this exhibit and it's almost like touring the entire State of Alaska; from its wildlife to the seashore and the mountains," added Lindsey Clark, Operations Manager for ConocoPhillips, on hand at the opening reception.
A custom art education experience has been developed through the KPBSD for visiting school children K-12, through the end of the school year and again in August when school resumes.
"In addition to advancing visitor and cultural benefits for our community, these summer exhibits inspire and educate students with their beauty, grace and awe-inspiring excellence," commented Kenai City Mayor John Williams.
The exhibit runs through September 6th at the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center, which is open 7 days a week. For more information contact the center at 283-1991.
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