An art show featuring works by Indigenous artist Penni Anne Cross will take place at the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center from April 17 to May 20, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Promotional image)

An art show featuring works by Indigenous artist Penni Anne Cross will take place at the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center from April 17 to May 20, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Promotional image)

Kenai visitor center to showcase work by Indigenous artist

Local businessman Robert Favretto wanted to showcase Cross’ art after he recovered it from the late artist’s house last summer.

The Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center will host a grand opening reception for its new Penni Anne Cross art show and sale this Saturday at 6 p.m.

Cross was a member of the Crow Native American Indian tribe, and many of her portraits illustrate various aspects of Indigenous culture.

She was born in 1939 in Washington state, and learned portrait-style painting from her mother. Cross then began her formal artistic education in 1968. She died in 2016.

Robert Favretto, owner of the Great Alaska Car Company in Kenai, wanted to showcase Cross’ art after he recovered it from the late artist’s house last summer.

Favretto went into business with Cross’ former partner, Mike Grossman, in 1993. In 1996 Favretto and Grossman flew to Anchorage, drove to Kenai and bought a car dealership. Favretto met Cross through his business partner.

“She was quiet,” Favretto said. “She was a very private person, almost a recluse.”

Grossman and Cross stayed in touch for years, even after Grossman returned to the Lower 48 according to Favretto, and were close until her passing. Last summer Grossman called Favretto and asked him to sell Cross’ house up north in Willow.

Upon entering Cross’ house, Favretto found multiple portraits.

“Mike said there was another box,” Favretto said — which was actually a 40-foot connex steel container outside — among “the grass and the trees” outside her property.

Inside he found more: there was art “from the front to the back of the connex, floor to ceiling wall to wall, that had been stored … over a 40-year period.”

Favretto salvaged what he could over the four months he sorted through Cross’ portraits, and asked the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center if they would be interested in displaying it.

“I thought it would be an awesome way to let the public see the breadth of her work,” he said.

The Hearth Eatery will cater Saturday’s reception, and beer and wine will be available for purchase. Admission and dining are both free.

The art show and sale will continue through May 20 at the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center, and all the proceeds will go toward supporting the chamber of commerce and other local charities.

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

More in News

A DNR map of navigable and non-navigable waters are seen on the Kenai Peninsula. (Screenshot)
State unveils maps in effort to ‘unlock’ Alaska waters

The maps are part of an initiative to assert control of state lands.

On Monday, the final day of the May long weekend, Harri Herter from Kamloops takes turns and gives friends thrilling jetski rides on little Shuswap Lake. - Image credit: Rick Koch photo.
Lawsuit challenges Jet Ski use in bay

Coalition of environmental groups says Fish and Game’s process to rescind JetSki ban was illegal

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska, with a number of state legislators around him. Dunleavy discussed a proposed constitutional amendment dealing with the Alaska Permanent Fund and the Permanent Fund dividend. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Dunleavy proposes new changes to Permanent Fund

The changes are an amendment to updates he proposed earlier this year.

A vial of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen at Central Emergency Services Station 1 on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Youth 12-15 years old can now get vaccinated

Borough emergency management is working to assist the Pfizer vaccine rollout efforts to the new eligible population.

Megan Pike, Kenai Watershed Forum’s education specialist and Adopt-A-Stream program coordinator, wades into Soldotna Creek to dig up creek bed samples for a group of Connections Homeschool students to parse through for macroinvertebrate sampling, on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Summer camp registrations open at Kenai Watershed Forum

The forum canceled its summer events last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The entrance to the Kenai Courthouse in Kenai, Alaska, photographed on Feb. 26, 2019. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Identity of Alaska Court System hacker still unknown

The system was able to restore email access Tuesday.

U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham addresses state and Alaska Native leaders Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
State redistricting may take longer this year

State legislative districts are redrawn by a board of five people following the decennial census.

The badge for the Kenai Police Department
Man arrested in break-in at Kenai Central High School

The man, 36-year-old Christopher D. Stroh, allegedly stole miscellaneous items from the school on Sunday.

Most Read