Student Success

Student Spotlight: Hana Hope

Hana Hope

Hana Hope's drawing of a woman

April 17, 2019 ---
The UAA Student Showcase highlights the extraordinary work of students throughout the University of Alaska Anchorage system. Every year, students submit their best original papers or projects and an anonymous review is done by a faculty member of the submission discipline. The highest marks are presented at the Student Showcase Conference in the beginning of April.

This year, one of the award winners was Hana Hope. Hana began taking classes at Kenai Peninsula College and is finishing her BA, Art degree at UAA. She entered her drawing, “Mortal Bliss”, which is based on finding pride in one’s body despite the challenges plus-size people face in our society.

“There is a lot of negativity towards plus-sized people in our society. Fat jokes permeate social media (More than half of people, 61%, see no harm in making negative remarks about a person’s weight). I definitely thought about what people’s perceptions would be of the drawing I submitted to the Student Showcase,” Hana said. “I knew I had to be strong to present this picture. When I came to UAA, I began to develop pride in my physical being. My confidence became much stronger due to meeting a supportive group of friends”.

Hana presented a short lecture about her piece which was followed by a question and answer session. Distinguished community members are invited to the presentation to evaluate, critique, and comment on students' work. Hana finished by saying, “My picture is about how my existence is impermanent and having pride in my body will help me have a more fulfilling life while I am here”.


Student Spotlight: Cody Rixse

April 17, 2019 --

On March 11th, Cody Rixse, a UAA student in Fine Arts received an acceptance letter for graduate school to the architecture program at the University of Colorado, Denver. “I was incredibly excited. Receiving that letter was like getting an answer to the questions I had about my future! “

Cody will be graduating with a BA, Art in May 2019. He focused on three dimensional studies, taking both sculpture and ceramics classes, as well as a variety of other art and academic courses. When asked how UAA prepared him for a graduate school experience and career in architecture, Cody responded, “The faculty I worked with were very good at helping me realize my own creative point of view. The facilities in the sculpture studio allowed me to explore a variety of materials to work with and to experiment with form compositions, both of these being key elements to thinking creatively in an architecture studio”.

Cody Rixse working in the sculpture studio  

Art Students Intern at the Anchorage Museum

October 23, 2018  -- 
In 2017, the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center began offering internships funded by the Hearst Foundation, Atwood Foundation, and Alaska Humanities Forum in which accepted applicants would be trained in object-based teaching, conducting classes and tours for K-12 audiences as well as developing educational and outreach materials and provide overall support to education and outreach programming. Hollis Mickey, the Director of Learning and Engagement at the Museum comments, “The museum field needs new, fresh voices and innovative thinkers to help foster museums as relevant institutions active and connected to the communities in which they are situated. The Anchorage Museum believe that internships such as these can help cultivate interest in museum professions and empower young Alaska residents to bring their vision and creative, critical thought to museum work.” Since the inception of this program, Dr. Herminia Din, Professor of Art Education at UAA has developed an individual research course which allows for museum interns to receive course credit for their work.

Museum intern Dave McCune teaching students in a galleryDave McCune talking to museum guests

Museum intern Erin Brayfield teaching young studentsErin Brayfield working with elementary school students

Becka Olsen standing in a galleryUAA student and museum intern Becka Olson

Dave McCune is a pre BFA student who is concentrating on ceramics and sculpture. While a full time student, Dave worked fifteen hours a week at the museum, completing his first internship in the spring of 2018. “The internship at the museum provided me assistance towards professional development, and the further understanding of specific museum careers and employment opportunities. Most importantly, I learned about the cultures and artistic practices of the indigenous populations that have been one with this land since time immemorial and how fortunate we are as a community to have in place such a thriving facility rooted in educational outreach.”

Erin Brayfield, a current student who is double majoring in Journalism and Public Communications and Visual Arts, was able to practice all of the information she had learned at the University to its full extent while a museum intern in 2017-18.  She observed the marketing and public relations team in action and the design team create materials that best communicate the museum’s mission and programming. Erin states, “I was pleasantly surprised by the superior level of guidance at the museum. The internship allowed me to be mentored by a variety of individuals with different backgrounds rather than one sole person. This allowed me to gain knowledge from multiple perspectives. If I ever had any questions or wanted to learn more about something, I was always provided with answers or pointed in the right direction.”

Becka Olson, a recent graduate from UAA with a BA in Art, began her internship. While at the museum, Becca developed strong research skills through creating educator resources and curriculum. These resources covered complex topics such as belonging in the North, and contemporary identities regarding race, sexuality, and gender. In order to complete her research, Olsen immersed herself in the museums inner workings, including working in the archives, engaging with curators, conservators and librarian archivists, and interviewing contemporary artists. The learning environment at the museum was a mixture of self-guided research, as well as strongly directed mentorship that included timelines and objectives. These goals were discussed in weekly one-on-one meetings, which focused on present tasks and future goals, such as higher education and career options. The mentorship not only offered guidance for museum tasks, but also revision on assignments for school.

When asked about the benefits of her experience at the museum, Becka states, “The internship has helped me in many different ways. I was able to continue working at the museum in the front of house, which allowed me to maintain relationships with other museum employees, such as curators and conservators. Additionally, this internship helped in my applications to graduate school, as I was accepted into Johns Hopkins for Museum Studies. I would recommend to all current students to find an internship or even a mentor in your field.”

Over the course of an academic year, interns grow profoundly. “They emerge from the internship confident leading groups of learners of al ages, competent in lesson plan development, and as strong researchers and writers, independent thinkers and valuable team members,” according to Hollis Mickey. She adds, “They build these skills all while immersed in the dynamic, engaging environment of the museum.”  

UAA Ceramics Club Develops an After School Program

Inlet school students with UAA ceramics club

Inlet View Elementary School PTA member, Petra Wilm, contacted the UAA Art Department with interest in developing an after school ceramics program for Inlet View students. Jade Aldridge, Victoria LaCroix and Viola Armistead, UAA Bachelor of Fine Arts majors,  created an after school ceramics club for the last 5 weeks of the spring 2017 semester. Twenty-eight kids ages 5-8 gathered on Monday afternoons at Inlet View School and experimented with clay. The UAA students worked to create a curriculum that would allow the elementary kids to create their own narrative sculptures, learn the possibilities and limits of clay and use 2D drawing skills to create 3D works. According to Ms. Wilm, “The whole experience turned out wonderfully.  Many parents have approached me and expressed how much their child enjoyed the opportunity.”  UAA looks forward to future collaborations to promote interest in the visual arts. 


Ceramics Student Spotlight: Luke Easton

Luke easton collage

Lukas Easton began taking art classes as a student at Homer High School. With the encouragement of his family, he enrolled in the Fine Arts Program at UAF and eventually transferred to UAA in 2015.

Lukas has worked incredibly hard developing his skills, intellect and creative capabilities. He began as a potter but has branched out into making mix media sculptures.

In 2016, his work was accepted into the National Council on the Education of Ceramic Arts National Student Juried Exhibition. (there were over 700 applicants with only 70 works accepted!) In the same year, he was one of five students awarded a residency at the Red Lodge Clay Center in Montana as a part of the Advanced Student Project Network, which provides young artists with a place to explore new ideas, exchange techniques, and deepen their professional development in Ceramics. 

Lukas just received his BFA degree which culminated in an exhibition of his thesis work in the Kimura Gallery entitled, “Visceral Visions”, a series of large scale vessels with carved narrative that depict the depravities of the war, politics, and society. Lukas was awarded a UAA Undergraduate Research Grant which he used to purchase tools and supplies need to complete his thesis. He presented a lecture about his work at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in late April.

In the fall of 2017, Lukas will begin studying as a post baccalaureate student in ceramics at the Rochester Institute of Technology.