Neighbors: Juneau Community Foundation announces 2023 Individual Artist Awards

(Courtesy of the Juneau Community Foundation)

(Courtesy of the Juneau Community Foundation)

The Juneau Community Foundation is pleased to announce this year’s Individual Artist Awards. Through the Foundation’s Arts Vibrancy Endowment, the Individual Artist Award grant program aims to foster local artists and support them in the creation of original works. Five successful applicants have received awards.

• Monica Mesdag is a textile artist who has found lifelong joy in fabrics, sewing, and quilting. Her passion for texture catapulted into the birth of Jarwearz, a small local business that started as gifts for her kids and friends and is now her retirement project. She will attend a workshop focusing on how to incorporate natural dyes and printing, with the intent to capture the beauty of Southeast Alaska in her work. Award: $2,500.

• Christine Kleinhenz, a visual artist, will be creating an art show with the highest quality of canvas, paints and frames for the year 2024. Covering the costs of expensive materials will allow her to paint freely without concern for the price of those paints as she lets them fly. This allows for freedom of expression to reign. She invites you to come see her creative joy next year as she shows new abstract creations blending in with her bold design and daring color choices. Award: $5,000

• Jake Waid, a professional actor and storyteller born and raised in Juneau, has performed in dozens upon dozens of productions in Alaska. His award supports his upcoming performance of “A Doll’s House, Part 2” with Theatre Alaska. “A Doll’s House, Part 2” takes place 15 years after Nora Helmer leaves her husband and children in “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen. The production will follow Theater Alaska’s ethos of bringing theater directly into community spaces and will be performed in various Juneau locations. Award: $5,000

• Summer Koester is revising her memoir about her 15 years living in Latin American and Caribbean cultures, trying to exist in contrasting worlds while exploring new ways of being. Part personal narrative, part cultural analysis, she integrates song lyrics, journal entries, and academic papers written during and after her travels while scrutinizing her own Euro-American cultural lens and relationships to power. She will also be providing an immersive musical performance and reading with Juneau artists representing the varied cultures from her book. Award: $5,000

• Bonilyn Parker is a Teaching Artist and a Term Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Alaska Southeast. She will use her award to purchase equipment and materials to expand resources in her home ceramics studio. She will use these resources to continue to explore and create ceramic forms, which the Juneau-Douglas City Museum will showcase in an upcoming exhibition. Award: $5,000

These artists and their work exemplify the thriving creative community we have in Juneau.

This is the foundation’s fourth year of providing these grants, and thanks to generous local individuals and businesses, the Arts Vibrancy Endowment continues to grow ensuring the Foundation continues to address the changing needs and opportunities of arts and culture projects, organizations, and programs in our town.

More information on the endowment and the Individual Artist Awards grant program at

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