Melissa Griffiths with her self portrait at the Davis Gallery in Centennial Hall on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. The Persisters are an all-female art collective, and their newest show “Radical Self Love” features dozens of self-portraits and opens for First Friday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Melissa Griffiths with her self portrait at the Davis Gallery in Centennial Hall on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. The Persisters are an all-female art collective, and their newest show “Radical Self Love” features dozens of self-portraits and opens for First Friday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s female art collective readies to open its latest and biggest show

Collection that channels self-love through self-portraits opens for First Friday

Self-care through self-love prompted by self-portraits is the focus of the next showing by Juneau’s art collective for people who identify as female.

“Radical Self Love” the newest and largest-ever showing of work made by Persisters will open for First Friday and feature dozens of self-portraits from Juneau artists in a number of media, including sculpture, fiber art, sketch, oil paint and more.

“I really wanted us to do a self-portrait show because I think representation of women in art is important,” said Melissa Griffiths, a founding member of Persisters, who came up with the “Radical Self Love” theme. “It can be very challenging thing to see one’s self clearly. However we do see ourselves or perceive ourselves, we are worthy of love.”

Lauralye Miko, another Persisters founding member, said creating a self-portrait was one of the most challenging works she’s done in a long time.

“I think it’s hard to look at yourself honestly,” Miko said.

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Plus, a creative effort focused on the artist compounds opportunities for self-criticism, Miko and Griffiths said.

“But putting it out there is actually empowering,” Miko said.

That is at the heart of Persisters’ goal.

“It was just about empowering women artists in town,” Miko said.

She said people can’t tell a piece of art to shut up or explain to it why it’s wrong or its perspective should be discounted.

The art collective sprung up after the 2016 election and is not directly affiliated with the political action group Resisters that started around the same time, Griffiths said, but there has been talk about collaboration and the Persisters encourage voting.

Miko and Griffith, who started Persisters with Em Lang, said the group’s formation roughly coincided with a quote “Nevertheless, she persisted,” said by Sen. Mitch McConnell after the U.S. Senate voted to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren, but could not recall if it played a direct role in the group’s name.

The word “sister” contained in Persisters’ punny name is the more important part, they said.

Miko said Persisters came together as a way to highlight female contribution to art. She said if you ask someone to name significant female artists, they’ll usually mention Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe.

“That’s kind of where they top out,” Miko said. “We wanted to create a collective of all-female artists at all different levels.”

Over the past three years, Persisters have organized several shows that featured art from over 50 Juneau artists, including both long-time creators and first-time artists.

“What I’ve gotten the most out of is encouraging people who have never shown art before to show art,” Griffiths said.

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Making each show a group effort creates an approachable opportunity for new artists.

“It’s a lot less pressure because completing one piece you feel good about is a lot less intimidating than a whole show,” Griffiths said.

Past Persisters shows have been pop-up displays and generally coincide with the Power and Privilege Symposium held at University of Alaska Southeast.

That makes the show, which opens Friday at the Juneau arts & Culture Center and is up through the rest of March, which is Women’s History Month, a big departure for Persisters.

“This is a big step for us,” Miko said. “We’re in a real gallery.”

The rest of the First Friday lineup

JAHC: Persisters, Radical Self Love, 350 Whittier St., 4:30-7 p.m. The theme for the show is “Radical Self Love” or, more plainly put, self-portraits, which will be on display throughout Women’s History Month.

Exhibit up through the month.

Alaska State Library, Archives, and Museum: Octopus Community Art Project, 395 Whittier Street, 4:30-7 p.m. March is Octopus Month at the Alaska State Museum. A Giant North Pacific Octopus will be installed in the kids Discovery Room, and everyone is invited to contribute. Kick things off by crafting the skin with Exhibit Specialist Aaron Elmore from 1-7 p.m., free museum admission begins at 4:30 p.m.

Exhibit up through the month.

Coppa: Landscapes by Crystal Rose Cudworth, 917 Glacier Ave, 4-6 p.m. New and recent landscape oil paintings by Crystal Cudworth will be on display at Coppa. Her carefully rendered paintings summarize her experiences at two artist residencies in Southeast Alaska. Live music will be provided by a Juneau Symphony performer.

First Friday only.

Juneau-Douglas City Museum: 15th Annual 12-by-12 Community Art Exhibit Opening Reception, Fourth and Main streets, 4:30-7 p.m.

Visit the city museum for the opening reception for the 15th annual 12-by-12 community art exhibit. For years, the museum has hosted a unique community art exhibit in which artists of all ages are encouraged to create works within the parameters of a square or a cube. This year, artists were encouraged to create work based on the theme elements. Elements will be on display through April 19.

Perseverance Theatre’s Young Company: “Disco Alice, The Wonderland Remix”, the Streets of downtown Juneau, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Dance in the streets with Perseverance Theatre’s Young Company as they celebrate opening night of their new production. Cast members will parade from the JACC to other First Friday locations.

First Friday only.

NorthWind Architects: Katie Ione Craney, 126 Seward Street, 4:30-7 p.m. NorthWind will feature artist Katie Ione Craney. Working primarily with found materials, Craney’s work explores isolation, memory and identity in a rapidly changing northern landscape.

First Friday only.

Sealaska Heritage Institute: Featured author Ann Boochever, Read Across America event, children’s dance performance and featured artists Sugar Bear Alaskan Treasures and Rhonda Butler, 105 S. Seward St, 4:30-7 p.m. In the lobby, Sealaska Heritage Institute will host author Ann Boochever, who will be signing her new book “Fighter in Velvet Gloves” on Elizabeth Peratrovich, and two featured artists Sugar Bear Alaskan Treasures and Rhonda Butler. In the clan house, SHI will host a Read Across America event that includes a dance performance at 5 p.m. by the Tlingit Culture Language and Literacy Dance Group, and book readings from SHI’s Baby Raven Reads children’s series every 15 minutes from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

First Friday only.

Annie Kaill’s: Farewell to Front Street Party, 244 Front Street, 4:30-7 p.m. Annie Kaill’s is moving this spring — one block over to Seward Street. Ahead of the move, Annie Kaill’s will be hosting a Farewell to Front Street party with snacks and treats, and a special gift with purchase during First Friday.

First Friday only.

Aunt Claudia’s Dolls, A Museum: Ellen Savage Athabaskan Artist of Holy Cross, 114 S. Franklin St., Suite 103, 4-7 p.m. Aunt Claudia’s Dolls will feature work from Athabaskan artist Ellen Savage of Holy Cross. Dolls and jewelry by other tribal members will be available for association and appreciation of this unique style.

Exhibit up through the month.

Kindred Post: Chilkat Design Lino-printing with Ricky Tagaban and Lily Hope, 145 S. Franklin St, 4:30-7 p.m. Local artists Ricky Tagaban and Lily Hope will help with some hands-on creative fun. They have carved lino printing blocks of their designs for people to print on postcards or on shirts, notebooks, boots or almost anything else. Printing blocks, ink and enthusiasm provided by the artists.

First Friday only.

Harbor Tea & Spice: Everyday Essential Oils, 175 S. Franklin St. Suite 105, 4:30-7:30 p.m., Harbor Tea & Spice is lifehacking with Everyday Essential Oils. Use it in tea, cooking and baking. There will be samples, of course.

First Friday only.

Juneau Artists Gallery: Grand Re-opening After the Flood, 175 S. Franklin St. 5:30-8 p.m. Join the Juneau Artists Gallery for a Grand Re-opening on Friday, March 1. Their floor that was just a year old had to be replaced due to major flooding, and the gallery was closed for most of February.

First Friday only.

Rainforest Yoga: First Friday Yoga with Theresa,174 S. Franklin St, Suite 202, 5:15-6:15 p.m.

Theresa Soley will lead a one-hour class that will leave you both challenged yet relaxed.

First Friday only.

Alaska Brewing Company Depot: Featuring a New Rough Draft Beer, 219 S. Franklin St., 4:30-7 p.m. There will be beer samples, and they will be featuring a new rough draft for First Friday. There will also be 15 percent off purchases of regularly priced items for the duration of the event.

First Friday only.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenHohenstatt.


“Submerged Mind” by Kelsey Wilcox-Lovig at the Davis Gallery in Centenial Hall on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. The Persisters are an all-female art collective, and their newest show “Radical Self Love” features dozens of self-portraits and opens for First Friday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

“Submerged Mind” by Kelsey Wilcox-Lovig at the Davis Gallery in Centenial Hall on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. The Persisters are an all-female art collective, and their newest show “Radical Self Love” features dozens of self-portraits and opens for First Friday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

“Stencil Jockey” by Em Lang at the Davis Gallery in Centennial Hall on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. The Persisters are an all-female art collective, and their newest show “Radical Self Love” features dozens of self-portraits and opens for First Friday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

“Stencil Jockey” by Em Lang at the Davis Gallery in Centennial Hall on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. The Persisters are an all-female art collective, and their newest show “Radical Self Love” features dozens of self-portraits and opens for First Friday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

“Melanin Auntie” by Tahir McInnis at the Davis Gallery in Centennial Hall on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. The Persisters are an all-female art collective, and their newest show “Radical Self Love” features dozens of self-portraits and opens for First Friday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

“Melanin Auntie” by Tahir McInnis at the Davis Gallery in Centennial Hall on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. The Persisters are an all-female art collective, and their newest show “Radical Self Love” features dozens of self-portraits and opens for First Friday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

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