Temporary art installations across Anchorage are sparking conversations about the climate, our community, and our future

Published: Oct. 17, 2019 at 10:55 AM AKDT
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Four art installations went up across Anchorage this month, hoping to spark conversations among the community about our climate, the landscape around us, and our future.

“We’ve been thinking what design can mean for communities and what public art can mean for communities. We’re very interested in how we can reconnect to our landscape in Anchorage in order to better understand what our possible futures are in the face of climate change and other things affecting northern places," said Julie Decker, Anchorage Museum director/CEO, “We worked with artist and designers to think about local sites and to create their own interventions as a way to create gathering spaces and to encourage people to look at the landscape in a new way.”

The four installations seen below went up Oct. 3 as part of

which wrapped up Oct. 12.

According to a release from the Museum, project curator and Canadian Métis artist/architect Tiffany Shaw-Collinge hopes the installations, collectively titled in the Dena’ina language Hghu Hghazdatl (They All Gathered), encourage people to gather, share ideas and reflect upon the landscape around Anchorage as well as Indigenous values relating to the land.

The SEED Lab was one of five winners of

publicartchallenge.bloomberg.org/updates/alaskas-search-solutions-rapidly-changing-reality/” target=”_blank”>the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge

which brought together the SEED Lab with the Municipality of Anchorage and the Anchorage Museum to create public art that explores pressing social issues.

(Location: Ship Creek Small Boat Launch)

This installation was done by Anchorage designers Petra Sattler-Smith, Buck Walsky, and Karen Larsen. It encourages visitors to re-examine the city’s relationship, and individuals’ relationships, with the ocean, its tides and the Port of Anchorage with an installation constructed from shipping containers.

“We were really drawn to this specific site because it is unknown for a lot of people in Anchorage,” said designer Petra Sattler-Smith, “We really feel like we wanted to do a really bold move. And to do that we ended up using conexs to create a space in an area that wasn’t really space. ”

“Anchorage kind of doesn’t see ourselves as being on the ocean in some ways, and I think this spot in particular… you are just standing here and a beluga will come by and you don’t really think about that, “said designer Karen Larsen, “We wanted our design to speak to the tidal change and that connection with the water at a point that’s very downtown Anchorage really.”

(Artist Petra Sattler-Smith and Karen Larsen sitting on the ramp of their art installation "Tidelands")

Ułchena Huchłtyut (Where We Pulled up the Alutiiqs)
(Location:Kincaid Park Overpass)

Created by Anchorage designers Taylor Keegan and Nicholas Horn-Rollins, this interactive installation highlights Dena'ina's history in the area, language, and memory.

Wezup II
(Location: Anchorage Museum Lawn)

This installation was designed by multidisciplinary visual artist Marek Ranis. It’s made from locally-sourced timbers, including lumber affected by spruce beetles and forest fires. Ranis invites viewers to consider changes happening to forests, urban spaces and links between climate change and the human relationship with the land.

Think Next Over Now
(Location: SEED Lab, at the corners of 6th Avenue and A Street)

Created by Anchorage artist James Temte, it uses wheat paste to apply a photographic image to the façade. The image chosen by Temte is by Anchorage photographer Michael Conti and suggests the hopes of the "next" generation of both people and landscapes.

Each of the installations is part of the SEED Lab which brings creative artists/ designers, civic leaders, and community members to envision positive futures for the North.

Three of the art installations seen above are temporary and will be deconstructed by Oct. 25.

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