Anchorage artist Rhonda Scott creates images of her hometown

Telling Alaska’s Story
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 7:18 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Artist Rhonda Scott’s latest painting depicts a part of Anchorage she knows well. There’s a tiny image of JJ’s Lounge, Ace Hardware and the former Whaler Bar, all of which are staples of the Muldoon neighborhood.

Scott is a lifelong Alaskan, and grew up on the east side of town. Many of her paintings highlight scenes of her hometown.

“That’s really where my heart is,” Scott said. “And for me, every time I do one of these iconic paintings, I learn more about the history of the location, or I meet people, so it’s all very personal to me.”

Scott had a long career in pharmaceutical sales before she started painting full-time. She didn’t even pick up a brush until she was 50, and said it took a while before she felt confident as an artist.

Rhonda Scott in her Anchorage home studio
Rhonda Scott in her Anchorage home studio(ktuu)

“People are like, ‘Were you always artistically talented?’ And the answer is no,” she said. “But it’s just like exercise — you know the first time you skate, you’re not an excellent skater — but with practice, you get better. So it’s never too late to start.”

More than a decade later, Scott has had plenty of time to practice painting her favorite subjects, iconic locations, buildings and businesses in Anchorage. Her work includes paintings of the Fourth Avenue Theater, Club Paris restaurant, the Log Cabin Visitor Center located downtown and Chilkoot Charlie’s. All of those places have stories, Scott said, especially for longtime Alaskans.

Scott sells her work online and exhibits her paintings around town, including one place some might find surprising. The owners of the Wendy’s restaurant franchise in Alaska have commissioned her to do paintings for all of their restaurant locations around the state. The paintings depict scenes from the neighborhoods where the fast food restaurants are located.

Artist Rhonda Scott has been commissioned to do neighborhood paintings for Wendy's Restaurants...
Artist Rhonda Scott has been commissioned to do neighborhood paintings for Wendy's Restaurants in Alaska(ktuu)

“I’ve done six so far, including Anchorage, Palmer, Fairbanks and North Pole,” Scott said.

Scott said she’s proud to show her work where average people can enjoy it.

“I like having my stuff in coffee shops and fast food restaurants, for me it’s fun, and somebody will call me up and they will be like ‘Hey, I just saw your stuff at wherever,’ and I’m like, ‘Great!’” she said.

Scott also believes in giving back to the community she loves. She’s involved in numerous charitable events and donates a portion of the proceeds from her paintings every year to the Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska.