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Bunnell Street Arts Center

Brian Jeffery's images mounted on wall with object/artifact installation

Secrets Under the Skin opened at the Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer, Alaska April 29-May 4, 2011.

Jill Flander-Crosby performance based video

Susan Matthew's illuminated manuscripts

"Secrets" is a powerful, innovative and deeply respectful exploration. Many viewers have been moved to tears. While perceived by some to be controversial, I appreciate how "Secrets" bravely embraces the cultural legacy of the transatlantic slave trade. I am reminded of the gifts that came with those who were stolen from Africa; I am reminded of the importance of collecting stories, of preserving the cultural record, of paying homage to cultural bearers -- who knows, someday maybe their ancestors will return to these stories and images for information that was lost over time. I am reminded that the arts heal -- that you can take life and land, and you can take dignity from people, but you cannot take their spirit. "Secrets" reinforce that the creative spark is as adaptable as a plant, determined to withstand deprivation, determined to germinate and blossom.

Asia Freeman, Founding Director/Executive Director

Susan Matthews manuscripts

Susan Matthews Painted manuscripts

Homer is a seaport community overlooking Kachemak Bay 220 miles by road south of Anchorage. Called "The Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea," Homer has a reputation as a progressive arts capital. Homer's is culturally and economically rooted in homesteading and fishing. Homer's reputation as an artistically adventurous community finds its forum for risk and innovation at Bunnell. Alaska's geography makes it difficult for emerging artists, artists with disabilities, and those citizens who are members of various minority communities to have contact with professionals who create original stage work. Bunnell attracts and fosters those artists and individuals from all over Alaska who cannot experience progressive artwork in this state's predominantly conservative ecosystem. In this way, Bunnell is a vital incubator of the arts for greater Alaska, and an essential link between Alaskan and visiting artists and local and visiting audiences.

All images by Brian Jeffery.