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Arts & Culture
The community of Unalaska is a busy place to live. Our community calendar is full of events and activities. About Town is your source for coverage of community events and sports. KUCB staff writes many of the stories, but we also accept contributions from community members for this section of our website. If you'd like to submit a story to About Town, send it to info@kucb.org.

Locals, tourists and fishermen pack museum in opening of Unalaska’s 30th Annual Community Art Show

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Maggie Nelson
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KUCB
The 30th Annual Community Art Show will be on display until May at Unalaska’s Museum of the Aleutians.

A wide variety of artwork including metal sculptures, ivory carvings and wood burnings drew a crowd of more than one hundred people to Unalaska’s Museum of the Aleutians for the opening of the 30th Annual Aleutian Arts Council Community Art Show.

Community members, local artists, tourists and weathered-in fishermen filed into MOTA’s gallery room to admire the art pieces at the exhibit opening last month.

Longtime local and journalist Jim Paulin submitted two film photographs. One of the photos, which he said was taken around 25 years ago, features taxidermied animals and people sleeping on the floor in an old terminal at Anchorage’s airport. While he said that concourse has since been demolished, the image is one many Aleutian residents can still relate to.

Several dozens of other art pieces accompanied Paulin’s photos, along the walls and in glass cases.

Rylee Lekanoff Comm ART SHOW 2022.JPG
Maggie Nelson
/
KUCB
Artist and museum volunteer Rylee Lekanoff stands below her painting 'Ad Astra Per Aspera' (to the stars through difficulties)

“We have sculptures, we have ivory, we have paintings, photography,” said Stacy Alvarado, a member of the Aleutian Arts Council and curator for the show. “It's a very nice exhibit this year.”

Alvarado said she was excited to see so many participants. It was a treat to hold the show in-person, she said, even though it was tricky planning as COVID-19 restrictions shifted locally and nationally right up until the event.

“We didn't know what it was going to look like when we were planning,” Alvarado said. “So the plan was to just move ahead. And then if something happens, we'll have plan B. So it is very exciting that we have all the artists that participated, and that we get to share it with the entire community.”

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Maggie Nelson
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KUCB

As the museum filled, attendees shuffled around one another, re-learning how to share space again after nearly two years of mostly virtual events. They took breaks to browse the gift shop when the crowd became too much.

16-year-old Rylee Lekanoff stood comfortably among the crowd, scanning the artwork. Lekanoff has been working at the museum since she was in sixth grade and did some of the behind-the-scenes work for the show. She said she enjoyed having some creative control in the set-up.

“Our last exhibit, it wasn't ours. It was a traveling exhibit,” she explained. “So we had to set everything up how the owners wanted it to be, which is more difficult than it sounds.”

This was Lekanoff’s first time participating in the Community Art Show as an artist. Lekanoff submitted two pieces: a painting of the stars and a decorated softball she found on the beach.

Just to the right of Lekanoff’s painting hangs another starry night sky. There’s a moon, an Unangax̂ man in an iqyax̂ filled with salmon, and surrounding him in the water are bright greens and blues. Chrstine King is the painter — she said those are meant to be bioluminescence.

“[The man’s] hand is dripping with the bioluminescence out of the water,” King said. “And it has our humpbacks. That takes place in Unalaska Bay [with] a little bit of Ballyhoo in the background.”

King, who works at the museum, said the bioluminescence is pretty rare in the area, but she said she read about it in a historical account and was inspired.

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Maggie Nelson
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KUCB

“I hope [people] see the wonder of it. That's what my hope is,” she said. “With his fingers dripping in the water, he's just like, ‘What is this that I'm seeing?’ I want them to feel anchored in a place, which is around us, that is kind of timeless, in a moment that was kind of magical.”

The 30th Annual Community Art Show will be on display until May at Unalaska’s Museum of the Aleutians.

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