Local artists had an opportunity September 12th to show and sell their works at the Soldotna library thanks to the efforts of a fairly new organization known as ARTSpace Inc. “By partnering with the Rotary Club of Soldotna, the City of Soldotna, the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, and local businesses, Soldotna’s ARTSpace, Inc. is implementing a community-based public art program. Many of these projects result in regular exhibits and annual events intended to promote public art that enhances the Soldotna area in a manner that’s democratic and for the enjoyment of all. We particularly focus upon encouraging students and emerging artists to make creativity a part of their daily lives as they pursue other professions and employment,” said Joe Kashi, board president for ARTSpace. The sale was a six hour exhibition of 14 selected local emerging artists at the Soldotna library.
According to Kashi there is an Art Park in the making that plans to open this fall, “Soldotna Rotary Club is fully funding and in the process of installing an art park at Soldotna Creek Park, an installation of four grouped permanent outdoor display cases suitable for up to four simultaneous curated summer exhibits. To our knowledge, it’s the first such installation in Alaska,” explained Kashi. Additionally a display program is in the works for emerging artists at the Soldotna library, “We are purchasing and installing a series of high-quality display “drawers” for an educational and display program, which will provide year-long indoor access for up to 10 curated 2D and 3D bodies of work,” he said. Kashi also says a Photo & Art Swap is being planned at the Peninsula Center Mall for October. “Encouraging emerging artists is an important way to ensure that public art remains open to all talent rather than confined to a few long-established artists. It’s also a good way to encourage our students,” he said. The joint ARTSpace-Rotary projects will be the basis for a talk that Kashi, City and Rotary officials have been invited to present at UA-Anchorage November 6 at their multinational public arts conference.