Friday, April 14, 2006

I’m Hooome

Since last night I have been processing my experience teaching encaustic wax techniques and all the impressions that I brought back from Whittier.

I was in the company of other great artists Gail Baker from Homer,Alaska
She did mask making. The students made some awesome, frightening masks from leather.

Ronna Lopisich from Anchorage taught watercolor painting. She rode up with me and is my newest best friend, funny and warm and loves the Lord.

Movie Making – Media Arts – Mike Jipping The teens were given a lot of information and they set out to make 3 short movies. A Day In The Life of a Whittier Kid, that was a very interesting and telling commentary on what it is like for a kid in Whittier….It shows various kids sitting around some room they gather at the BTI (thats what they call the building where everyone lives) just hanging out in various positions of boredom mauling about the furniture, some playing some video games. Another movie showed two kids putting another kid into a straight jacket and dumping him in the tunnel, scary and weird.

Megan Reichart – Theatre, She was an interesting young lady who lives in Anchorage but went to graduate school in New York City studying theatre arts she had the full on New York City - Broadway experience. Lucky Girl.

It seems that all the things that I heard about Whittier are true. There are no single family homes they all live in Begich Towers BTI for short a WWII 15 story structure the government gave to Whittier after the war. The janitor at the school; Karen tattled on the town. She said some people stay there all winter and do not come out. One man stayed there for 19 years. There is an underground tunnel from the BTI to the school so no need to go out.

The weather is mostly windy, rainy, and snowy with a few nice days. The population is 100 to 200 in the winter and triples in the summer. People do come out in the summer and enjoy the awesome beauty of the place. My room was on the sound looking out at the water and harbor. Two huge eagles that hang around on top of the widow’s watch flew so close to my window I couldn’t believe it. I watched otters playing and fishing. Whales come down breaching all the way. The inlet is so deep 400’ the huge cruse ships come to the station the tourists get on the train and leave. I watched 15 fishing boats and trawlers coming back at the end of the day. There are 5 glaciers within view of the village. When the snow melts there are many pretty waterfalls.

I wanted to catch more of a glimpse of the parents of these kids, but I don’t go into bars anymore. So I hoped they would show up for the art show. Everyone displayed their art projects and discussed them, there was a skit from the theatre group, the leather masks were on display. There was a slide show with the artists wearing the masks they made doing artful poses while Phantom of the Opera Music played. The movie making group showed three short films. Sadly very sadly I only saw a couple of new parents besides the ones that were helping all week. Common…....people, I don’t get it!!! This was what was happening in Whittier, or was Deal Or No Deal more important than your kids?

My class went great my students loved it A few showed some great talent: Ian Angiak – Chenega Bay, Steven Geffe – Tatitlek, Daryl Haynes – Whittier, Casey Roberts - Whittier, Miranda Dye –Whittier, Brittany Saunders – Fairbanks, Shannon Sanders – Fairbanks, JJ Morice-Cannon – Anchorage, Desiree Englund – Fairbanks, Samantha Englund – Fairbanks. Thank you guys!

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