Inspiring the world.

Alaskan art galleries: a window to the creative north

When planning a trip to Alaska, the main activities always involve the outdoors. This is completely natural, as the great outdoors defines Alaska a lot. However, there is also a cultural heartbeat to the land, and many Alaska Natives who were born here or moved here after falling in love with the place try to communicate the appeal of that land through art. With a large number of tourists traveling each summer, many Alaskan artists are able to dedicate themselves to their work, and the long winters allow for a true concentration of effort. The result is a fantastic work of art.

There are a surprising number of art galleries in Alaska, considering the sparse population. Of course, the explosion of visitors in the summer helps explain why. Most can be found in major cities, although some are in popular tourist spots or smaller communities. Depending on your tastes, here are some of the best:

Representative art:

  • Norman Lowell Studio and Gallery, Norman Lowell Dr. Off Sterling Hwy, Homer
  • Ptarmigan Arts, 471 E. Pioneer Ave., Homer
  • Art Store Gallery, 202 Pioneer Ave., Homer
  • Artique, 314 G St., Anchorage
  • New Horizons Gallery, 519 1st. St., Fairbanks
  • Juneau Artists Gallery, 175 S. Franklin St., Juneau
  • Decker Gallery, 233 S. Franklin St. Juneau
  • Fisherman’s Eye Gallery of Fine Arts, 239 Lincoln St., Sitka
  • Sitka Rose Gallery, 419 Lincoln St., Sitka
  • Dockside Gallery, 5 Salmon Landing, Ketchikan
  • Exploration Gallery, 633 Mission St., Ketchikan

Native traditional art:

  • 4th Ave. Market Place, Anchorage
  • The Rusty Harpoon, 411 W. 4th Ave., Anchorage
  • Alaska Native Arts Foundation Gallery, 6th Ave. Anchor
  • Arctic Traveler Gift Shop, 201 Cushman St., Fairbanks
  • The Voyage of the Crows, 435 S. Franklin St., Juneau
  • Sheldon Jackson Museum Gift Shop, 104 College Dr., Sitka
  • Alaska Eagle Arts, 5 Creek St., Ketchikan
  • Ketchikan Eagle Spirit Gallery, 310 Mission St., Ketchikan

Contemporary art:

  • Bunnell Street Gallery, 106 W. Bunnell Ave., Homer
  • International Gallery of Contemporary Art, 427 D Street, Anchorage
  • Rie Munoz Gallery, 2101 Jordan Ave. Juneau
  • Main Room Gallery, 716 Totem Way, Ketchikan
  • Soho Coho, 5 Creek St., Ketchikan

In addition to these galleries in the main centers, there are many others in smaller communities and tourist destinations. If you are planning a trip to Alaska, be sure to set aside some time to explore some of these galleries and see how Alaska Natives interpret the land around them.

Alaska is a place that creates and attracts artists. In part it may be due to the mystique of the north; a harsh land that overwhelms us and reminds us of our mortality. It may also be because the winters are so long and allow for hours of reflection and the opportunity to perfect the craft. For some, it may be due to the increased sense of isolation, living in one of the last frontiers of the world. Whatever it is, Alaska’s art galleries are an opportunity for outsiders to see the end result of that deep current of creativity that runs through this incredible land.

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