Up-and-coming Haines oil painter Yuko Hays to exhibit ‘Beginnings’

HAINES — After taking a 30-year break from the craft, Haines artist Yuko Hays has spent the last two years rediscovering her passion for oil painting. The Alaska Arts Confluence is proud to host Hays’ first solo show “Beginnings” as part of the Sept. 2 First Friday celebration, which runs from 5 to 7 p.m.

About 11 portraits, still-lifes, and landscapes will adorn the walls of the Art on Main Street office for the show, including Hays’ most recent piece, an oil on canvas of her cousin’s daughter “Madoka” (pictured at left).

Though Hays actively studied art in high school, she abandoned painting after graduating. “I always admired people doing art. I liked it as a student, but I didn’t have the guts to continue,” she said.

In the fall of 2014, when Hays was helping friend and established artist Donna Catotti garden, Catotti mentioned the Studio Incamminati portrait-painting workshop scheduled for the upcoming summer, and Hays decided to jump back in.

She started attending weekly open studio sessions at Catotti’s home, sketching and surprising Catotti with her skill and passion. “The gift is not the ability. The gift is the desire,” Catotti said. “You have the desire to learn. You have the perseverance to follow through with it.”

Hays, who attended both the 2015 and 2016 Studio Incamminati workshops in Haines, had two pieces featured in a portrait exhibit at the Haines Sheldon Museum last year. She sold her first painting — a still-life of a sink, faucet and towel called “Wash Your Hands — during the recent Mud Bay Artists show at the museum.

Hays intends to further develop her skills by attending art school in the near future.

Haines First Friday

Other events slated for September’s First Friday celebration include “Small Art for Small Houses” by Kelly Mitchell at the Port Chilkoot Distillery, a scavenger hunt-type “Clue Quest” at the Hammer Museum, and John Hagen’s photography on display at Skipping Stone Studios.

Haines began celebrating First Friday in February 2015, with local businesses and organizations holding arts and cultural events on the first Friday of each month, creating an Art Walk in downtown Haines that now extends from Jones Point to Historic Fort William H. Seward.

AAC continues to accept proposals for both rotating and semi-permanent window, wall and floor art installations in Art on Main Street storefront gallery. The request for proposal application is available to download at http://www.alaskaartsconfluence.org.

Alaska Arts Confluence is a 501(c)3 tax exempt nonprofit dedicated to promoting participation in the arts by providing art education and cultural enrichment opportunities for artists, residents and visitors of the Chilkat Valley. Projects include Art on Main Street, which showcases the work of local artists and artisans in professionally designed storefront window displays downtown, and the Historic Fort William H. Seward Sculpture Garden and Interpretive Wayside Project, revitalizing Historic Fort Seward with commissioned art works by local artists, locally designed interpretive signs and an interpretive walking tour. Art on Main Street and the Fort Seward project are funded by a grant from ArtPlace. Alaska Arts Confluence is supported, in part, by grants from the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Chilkat Valley Community Foundation. Alaska Arts Confluence programs and projects provide accessible arts education opportunities open to the general public to foster an appreciation of all arts, with the goals of community enrichment, visitor involvement, and cultural exchange.

For more information, contact Carol Tuynman at 314-0282.

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