Kodiak artist honored at Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards

Alvin Amason with Big Sum Bich #2 in his Anchorage studio, 2016. The oil on canvas painting was purchased by the Alutiiq Museum with support from the Rasmuson Art Acquisition Fund. (Photo courtesy the Alutiiq Museum)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

A Kodiak raised artist won recognition at the Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards this year.

Governor Bill Walker presented the eight awards to Alaskans from across the state last week in Juneau, and one of the awardees was painter Alvin Amason. The governor chooses individuals based on public nomination and the contribution the person has made.

Andrea Noble-Plant, executive director of the Alaska State Council on the Arts, introduced Amason at the ceremony.

“This award is for a prolific career and artistic leadership, iconic and important work and impact in the arts in Alaska.”

Amason is known for his colorful, nature-themed artwork. Some of his pieces feature bears, foxes, and otters.

On Thursday, Amason stepped up to the mic and said hello to family in Anchorage, Old Harbor, and the City of Kodiak. He also spoke about his childhood on the island.

“I have been fortunate to have been raised by my elders and have relatives that I am fond of and respect. To observe, to be shown and taught where the clams are, where the rocks are, the eggs, have given me life skills.”

He went on to talk about his career in education, which includes a 17-year stint as Director of Native Arts at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He now teaches in the arts department at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

“And what I try to impress with the young people I’m getting is that with their own experiences and technology and traditions, I first try to impress upon them that these experiences are theirs. They’re unique. They own them. They’re just as valid and important as anything they’ll find in a library.”

Amason is the second person with a Kodiak connection to receive a Governor’s Arts and Humanities Award in recent years. In 2017, Marilyn Davidson won recognition in Arts Education.

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