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Petersburg museum exhibits recent acquisitions

“Clam Basket,” by Catherine “Kitty” Young, is one of the Clausen Museum’s recent purchases. Photo courtesy of the museum.

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Five Petersburg artists have their work on display at the town’s museum. But they won’t be getting it back.

Their paintings, weavings and fiber creations were purchased this fall with a $3,200 grant from the Rasmuson Foundation’s Art Acquisition Fund.  They will be on display through 2 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 27) at the Clausen Museum.

Director Sue McCallum is excited about the new additions to the permanent collection.

One is a traditional piece, “Clam Basket,” by Catherine “Kitty” Young.

“It is beautiful. It’s a basket that you would collect clams in. It’s out of yellow and red cedar and the quality of the work is just outstanding,” she says.

Another is a painted textile work, called “Moonlight Flight.”

“Moonlight Flight” is by Susan Christensen. Photo courtesy of the museum.

“Susan Christensen is a fiber artist. So hers’ is made from fabric, hand-painting and stitching. And her work is really wonderful,” McCallum says.

Petersburg’s Clausen Museum is one of a number of cultural and historical facilities receiving art acquisition grants. Funding is from the Rasmuson Foundation and is distributed through the nonprofit group Museums Alaska.

“It’s enabled museums, such as ours, to purchase art from local and regional artists. It helps not only enhance the museum collections, but to support local artists and keep them working and doing art and being creative,” McCallum says.

People submit their work for sale to the museum. Board members usually know the artists, since they’re from Petersburg, and are familiar with how they’ve grown and developed.

“And then we as a … museum board of trustees have a selection evening. We sit there and we look at all the art and we pick out the ones we think represent the artist [and] the very best of their current work … that we all just really like. It’s a really fun process. It’s a fun night,” McCallum says.

Only Petersburg artists applied. But McCallum says the museum is open to work from other Southeast artists, and maybe those elsewhere in Alaska.

“We try to follow our guidelines that it is a living Alaska artist, that it’s a current work [and] that it’s within the last couple of years,” she says.

The museum purchased a second work from fiber artist Christensen, called “After Dark.” Oil-on-canvas paintings were Pia Reilly’s “Vibrations,” Ashley DuRoss’ “Inside Out,” and Joe Viechnicki’s “Sasby Solstice.”

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