Pottery is on display on Wednesday, June 30, 2021, at the Kenai Art Center, which is reopening for the first time since before the pandemic on Thursday, in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)

‘The more we get together’

Kenai Art Center celebrates reopening with work from Potters’ Guild

After closing the doors nearly a year and a half ago and undergoing extensive renovations, the Kenai Art Center will open to host its first show on Thursday featuring work from the Kenai Potters’ Guild.

Alex Rydlinski, the executive director of the center, said everyone is looking forward to the event.

“The potters always do well but we were kind of talking about how it seems like an especially strong show this year, so we feel really excited,” he said.

The center was temporarily closed last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the Board of Directors decided to capitalize on the downtime by making headway on renovations in the building. The exhibition room, gift gallery and workshop spaces have all been updated.

“We had a lot of stuff sort of converging,” Rydlinski said. “We weren’t sure if things were going to get finished but now that it’s really happening, it feels pretty great.”

The reopening will also be Rydlinski’s first show as executive director of the center. He took over last winter.

Marion Nelson, the president of the Peninsula Art Guild, said the potters have been working on the pieces for Thursday’s exhibition and sale for a few months now. The show’s theme is “The more we get together.”

“They’ve had one thing after the other and for them to come up with this much quality work is really, really something,” she said. “I can hardly wait.”

The local potters with pieces in the exhibition are Debbie Adamson, Laura Faeo, Shannon Olds, Bryan Olds, Mark Farnsworth, Sandy Campbell, Lisa Franzmann, Susan Baraniecki, Martha Landess, Carol Padgett, Kimberly Lorentzen and Kris Shrine.

Rydlinski said a lot of people in the community have been anticipating the reopening, and he expects a good turnout for the event.

“I think it’s going to be a fun one,” he said.

The reopening will be at the Kenai Art Center from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, and the event is free and open to the public. Community members are welcome to peruse the various pottery pieces for sale — works of art ranging from serving bowls and flower vases to ceramic buttons and wall mounts — while enjoying live music and refreshments.

The gallery will be available to view through the month of July. Anyone who purchases pottery pieces will be free to collect them at the end of the exhibition.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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