Sled dog artwork being auctioned off to raise money for the Anchorage Mushing District

Proposed arch for The Anchorage Mushing District
Proposed arch for The Anchorage Mushing District(The Anchorage Mushing District)
Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 6:22 PM AKDT|Updated: Mar. 19, 2021 at 6:23 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage Mushing District is working to raise funds to improve downtown’s mushing district.

“We want to create something both the locals and the tourists would come downtown to see and make it an experience for them,” said Jim Huettl, Anchorage Mushing District President.

The district spans 4th Avenue stretching from C Street to F Street, and the organization wants to add more mushing-related signs, including an arch over 4th Avenue.

“It’s something you would see all the way down 4th Avenue from either direction as you were driving,” said Huettl.

But the organization needs more money to make that happen, and they are using local art to do that.

Seventeen local artists were given plywood cutouts of dogs to decorate and then display in local downtown businesses and later be auctioned off.

“Because there was no world championship sled dog races or the start of the Iditarod on 4th Avenue this year, we wanted to keep that spirit alive. So we created a project called Sleddogs Downtown,” said Huettl.

Earlier this year, there was a scavenger hunt to get people to find the artwork in shops.

“It’s just awesome for them to come look at. It’s such a unique art project,” said 49th State General Manager Chad Kaina who has the artwork in the restaurant. “They all come in, they take pictures with it, they talk about it, it drives in business.”

Huettl hopes the completed project can give a boost to the area. Huettl said the full project includes things like signs on the street, banners recognizing mushers, a mushing hall of fame, interpretive signage showing the use of sled dogs in history and plaques with families’ that will go on the sidewalk.

“I just think that especially now in the pandemic year, you can see how badly affected the downtown has been that we really need to revitalize it and bring it back to make it an exciting people place,” he said.

The auction will be available online through Sunday.

The sidewalk plaques are also being sold online.

Huettl said The Anchorage Mushing District hopes to construct the arch in 2022.

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