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  • The Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce works to promote the greater Fairbanks area as an attractive place for business and community. We acknowledge the impact that local artists have on that community and making it a wonderful place for business, tourism, and residents to thrive. The Artist of the Year Award is meant to help both emerging and established local artists grow the business side of their art through opportunity, exposure, and networking.

    Through these opportunities, the Fairbanks Chamber hopes to strengthen the artist's ties to the community, grant them added exposure to future clients, sponsors, and patrons, as well as help them to build networking relationships to propel their future success.

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  • 2020 Artist of the Year Finalists

    During the Fairbanks Chamber's Annual Awards and Membership Meeting our Membership will have the opportunity to vote on the Fairbanks Chamber's 2020 Artist of the Year. Unlike previous years, each member business will receive ONE vote. Voting cards will be given to each business upon check-in at the Annual Meeting on Tuesday, December 10.
    In late November we gathered a panel of artists in our community to help us narrow down the contest submissions we received throughout the past couple months. The submissions were judged on the composition, business vision, community connection, narrative, and portfolio. Please review the 3 finalists below before voting on December 10!
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  • Somer Hahm : Square and Compass
    Somer Hahm is a visual artist living and making work in Fairbanks, Alaska. She received a BFA from University of Montana, Missoula in 2005 and an MFA, with an emphasis in Painting and Drawing, from University of Alaska, Fairbanks in 2008. Her past works drew directly from nature, often combining colorful abstraction with flora and fauna. Interested in the plants found locally in the Tanana Valley, she designed and released an annual series of educational botanical posters for children. In 2017 Somer was named Artist of the Year by the Northern Alaska Environmental Center. 
    With robust involvement in the Fairbanks art community, Somer has spent time teaching painting and drawing workshops for the Folk School of Fairbanks and Well Street Art Company, has created performance art with the Fairbanks Ladies of Wrestling, and enjoys her employment as Fairbanks Arts Associations Exhibition Technician, installing the rotating art exhibits at the Bear Gallery.
    Somer's recent body of work has been inspired by the wealth of the American Patchwork, and directly investigates the timeless beauty of quilt block designs. Within the allure and refinement of the patterns, these works are rich in authentic feminine creativity. Akin to quilt trails found in the contemporary American West, I consider my recent body of work my quilt own personal trail.
    Motivated to create community involvement and interest in public art, Somer founded the Far North Quilt Trail Project in July of 2019. With grant support from local non-profit Our Two Cents, Inc. Somer will begin creating Alaska’s first barn quilt trail in Fairbanks with a project called “Art in the Garden” to take place at the Fairbanks Community Garden in the summer of 2020. 
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  • Jamie Smith : Welcome Committee
    For over thirty years (since 1988) I’ve been the creator of the weekly cartoon feature “Nuggets” that appears in the Sunday edition of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. I also teach drawing classes at local schools, participate in artist residencies by giving classroom demonstrations, presentations and workshops, along with freelance illustration for non-profits and community businesses.
    I always welcome new creative pursuits such as this. Being considered for Artist of the Year would be both an accomplishment and opportunity to expand beyond my established base of clients, and explore more potential commercial possibilities – and hopefully share a few smiles along the way.
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  • Sarah Manriquez: Finding Home
    Why are people homeless?”
    It’s not an uncommon question. But, the average person struggles to be able to answer it. I set out to make photos of homelessness in a way I had not seen presented before. I wanted to see photography in the world that was representative of homelessness in the Interior. This project is very personal to me. I was homeless for several years and learned first hand about the complex nature of the issue.
    A great deal of my work is dedicated to humanizing the homeless and breaking the “us versus them” barrier. Before we can solve homelessness we must be able to discuss the homeless population as dignified people who belong in our society. 
    I am scheduled for several shows around the state of Alaska presenting this work. The gallery creates space to discuss the challenges and obstacles our homeless populations face to overcome their circumstances. This is where we can have hard conversations about the issue. And, through informed conversation we can dispel stereotypes about some of our most vulnerable neighbors. After people engage with the work, I hope people view homelessness differently than when they originally walked through the gallery doors.