• AOTY-Webpage-banner.jpg
  • purple-line.jpg
  • Meet the 2023 Artist of the Year

    Anya Toelle

  • Smith.jpg
  • welcome_committee.jpg
  • Anya Toelle was selected to be the 2023 Artist of the Year for her piece titled, Flying North!

    Anya Wien Toelle was born, raised, and based in Fairbanks. She started her journey with painting in high school art classes at West Valley. She attended two years at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where she took a few painting classes with the late Annie Duffy. Anya’s friend convinced her to transfer to University of Alaska Anchorage and she spontaneously declared her major as art. Anya graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Painting and a minor in History. 

    Anya comes from a family of bush pilots. Her brother, Neill, is a commercial pilot who is based out of Nome. He often sends Anya photos of his views from his “office” across the Western regions of Alaska. One of her favorite places to visit, and main inspiration for paintings, is her grandparent’s cabin in the Brooks Range.  This special place has had a major influence on her perception of what it means to live in Alaska and the importance of preserving the land. She often finds herself getting lost in paintings and is drawn to the rocks and tiny trees, and the complex shapes and shadows created on a bluebird day in the Arctic. 

    Anya’s dad and step mom, Doug and Jane, own Running Reindeer Ranch. This has inspired many paintings of reindeer and other wildlife that can be found in Alaska.

    Anya was the The Northern Alaska Environmental Center’s Featured Artist of 2022.