In May of 2006 I was part of an art crew that painted two 100 ft. long “wild fish” murals on a cold storage building. in Sitka, Alaska. I worked with fellow artists Roberto Salas, Tlingit master carver Will Burkhart, and Guillermo (Memo) Jauregui to create this gigantic work. We were assisted by a couple of talented High Schoolers Lisa Teas and Cory Welsh. We finished the project in about a month’s time.
Many Sitkans worked countless hours raising money for the murals and in helping out with the execution of the project. Lisa Busch kicked things off a few years ago when she won the Volvo for Life award for her volunteer work around Sitka and put her award money toward the mural.
The Rasmuson Foundation also contributed substantially, paying for most of the materials and paint. John Straley (Alaska’s writer laureate!)worked as a volunteer project manager and did wonders in raising money in the community. His son Finn Straley worked many hours along with carpenter extraordinaire Pat Hughes during the installation and hanging. Megan Pasternak worked many hours helping us with the execution of the piece. Russell’s Store for Men kicked in with a rather nice donation. Barth and Mary Alice Hamberg put me up in their lovely abode and fed me many a fine meal. The Sitka Arts Council spearheaded the whole thing. Jamie Autry acted as our official host at the University of Alaska Sitka campus, where we painted the panels in an old aircraft hanger. Artist Nick Galanin spent time working with his Uncle Will Burkhart.
It really takes a community to paint a mural on this scale. Thank you Sitka!
Here’s a photo of the credit panel we painted for the debut party we had in mid-June:
Here are some snapshots of the mural: