Web Log Entry #0041, Friday, February 7, 2003: Day 81
Anchorage Sunrise: 9:06am Sunset: 5:22pm High Temp: 40° Low Temp: 33°
On the first Friday of every month, Anchorage has the logically-named "First Friday" Art event (much like Portland's "First Thursday" art events, but thoughtfully scheduled so one doesn't have to go to work hung over the next day). I figured this would be a great opportunity to see diverse examples of Alaskan art and maybe score some free food.
I stopped first at the A Street Gallery, cleverly located on A Street (streets in downtown Anchorage go alphabetically, not like Portland (Ankeny, Burnside, Couch, Divan, etc.), but A, B, C, D, etc., like Sacramento, resulting in the rejected motto: "Anchorage: As Creative As Sacramento." Closer inspection reveals that A Street is nineteen blocks from the ocean. The fact that there is a U Street but no T Street lends credence to the theory that the missing streets weren't caused by poor planning, but rather an unfamiliarity with the far end of the alphabet). On display was mostly bentwood furniture and a few watercolors. The highlight was a small trailer home parked behind the gallery, made from an 8'-diameter wood barrel on its side. I admired it, but it wasn't really part of the exhibit, so I moved on.
It turns out that an art event in Anchorage typically means a shop, café, or ice-cream parlor putting up a dozen paintings (ranging from flower watercolors to scenic watercolors) and setting out a bowl of Party Mix. Not that I'm criticizing; I'm originally from Arizona, which specializes in turquoise-covered cow skulls and scorpions in Lucite spheres. The best party action was at a wool shop, which wasn't on the published list, but it had Celtic music and the highest attendance density (well, it was a tiny shop). By chance I finished my walking tour at the two actual art galleries I visited. I admired the large glass calla lily sculpture, but didn't want to spend the $4,000 for it. They didn't have any paintings of polar bears playing poker, but they did have a print of Santa and Mrs. Claus in a hot spring, surrounded by woodland animals, with a polar bear poking his head over a snow drift. I think the title was "How The Bear Ate Christmas."
My final stop was at the Decker/Morris Gallery, which had abstract sculpture, messy clusters of spiky, twisted, or lumpy materials. So the arty folk were there. They seemed to all know each other, talking excitedly in clusters jammed between quirky sculptures, stuffing snow down their pants and squealing (this seems to be a common Alaskan expression of excitement. I wonder what they do when there isn't snow handy?). I tried to appreciate the art, but my stamina was exhausted, so I stumbled back to the car and went home. If I can borrow some watercolors, I'll train for next month so I can look at art for a longer time, like an hour. More than that could cause injury.
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© 2003 Evan M. Nichols