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2006 Mayor's Arts Awards Winners

I believe a strong arts community is part of what makes a city vital. Arts and culture are an important component of economic development, education, and the overall quality of life in any city. — Mayor Mark Begich, 2006

The 2006 Awards ceremony was held March 30 at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.

Hosted by, Mayor Mark Begich with Corinna Delgado serving as Mistress of Ceremonies, Anchorage area artists and arts advocates were honored for their contributions to our community's cultural life.

Reception Entertainment:

  • "Troubadora" duo, featuring Linda Marsh-Ives, Cellist, and Mary La Fever, lute guitarist
  • Dimond High School Jazz Band, Directed by Jason Edwards

Award Design:

Margret Hugi-Lewis: Classically trained in Basel, Switzerland, Margret Hugi-Lewis creates colorful and unrestrained mix media sculptural work, paintings and installations. Her art is inspired by African art, and folk art from the many places she has lived and traveled around the world. Margret spent 22 years at an art commune in Israel before moving to Alaska in 1984. She has had many solo shows over the past 22 years in Alaska and her work is in public and corporate collections, including the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, the Valdez Museum, and the 1% for Art in Anchorage. Margret spends much of her time teaching art to children and is a prior Mayor's Arts Award recipient.

Event Planning Committee:

  • Connie Ozer
  • Codie Costello
  • Pam Cravez
  • Corinna Delgado
  • Julie Hasquet
  • Michele Miller
  • Jocelyn Young

Event Sponsors:

  • Conoco Phillips
  • Municipality of Anchorage
  • Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Key Bank Alaska
  • Support Services of Alaska
  • Alaska Laser Printing & Mailing Services

Don Decker, Outstanding Individual Artist:

This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated artistic excellence, originality of work, commitment to their art, and whose scope of influence has made a significant creative contribution to the Municipality.

Don Decker has had one of the most significant artistic careers in Alaska. He has received more than 40 awards for his artwork and his work has been included in more than 150 exhibitions, including solo exhibitions at almost every major venue in Alaska.

He has works in the public art collection of the Municipality of Anchorage, the Contemporary Art Bank of the Alaska State Council on the Arts, and in the collections of the Anchorage Museum of History and Art and the Museum of the North in Fairbanks.

Don has also been an extremely strong arts advocate. He was co-owner/manager of the Decker/Morris Gallery in downtown Anchorage for a dozen years, providing opportunities for both established and emerging Alaskan artists, and helping to establish the "First Friday" tradition. Don has also served as co-director of the International Gallery of Contemporary Art, an award-winning gallery.

For more than 40 years Don Decker has also been in an art instructor, teaching every grade level from kindergarten through university. He has been an art juror for many venues and organizations for 30 years and also is an art reviewer for the Anchorage Daily News.

Being an artist isn't always just about creating work. It is about talking about art, reaching out to other artists, and being a part of the community. Don Decker does all that and more.


Alaska Design Forum, Outstanding Arts Organization Award:

This award recognizes an arts organization that has demonstrated artistic excellence and originality of work. It further recognizes the organization's commitment to their art, the scope of the organization's influence, and its creative contributions to the Municipality.

For the past 14 years the Alaska Design Forum has significantly advanced the discussions about art, architecture and design in Anchorage, locating Alaska in a world setting. Their world-class lecture series has been extremely successful in bringing internationally renowned artists, sculptors, landscape architects, designers and architects, including Pritzker Prize winners, to Anchorage and around the state. These people have, in turn, gained a wider appreciation of the north and the extraordinarily unique qualities of Alaska and the United States through their visits here.

In addition to their lecture series, ADF has contributed enormous volunteer effort to the success of programs such as art residency, competitions and exhibitions. ADF has brought up installation artists and designers including Andrew Goldsworthy's incredible visit, to the highly controversial "red drum" by Marco Casagrande & Sami Rintala. ADF also presented "Imagine Anchorage," a citywide competition on visions our city.

Most recently, the exhibition at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art and accompanying book on the Quonset Hut, initiated and brought to completion by ADF volunteers and contractors in collaboration with the Museum, presented new and stimulating material in a provocative way. The National Endowment for the Humanities designated ADF's QUONSET as a "We the People" project in 2004, an honor given to only 19 projects nationwide.

ADF is a thoughtful and adventurous group committed to good design and the benefits that can bring to education, the arts, civic engagement and provocative thinking.


Shirley Mae Springer Staten, Champion of the Arts Award:

This award recognizes an individual or group that, through support or service, has demonstrated leadership that enhances the arts in Anchorage.

Shirley Mae is known around the state of Alaska, the nation and the world as a musician, actress, teacher, motivational speaker, and event coordinator. Through her singing, acting, storytelling and dynamic personality, she is a catalyst in Anchorage for not only improving racial relations and celebrating diversity, but also transcending race to energizing all humanity. Her attention is directed to all peoples equally.

Among her many accomplishments are initiating the Martin Luther King birthday celebration in Anchorage from its beginning to the present; producing and acting in "Having Our Say;" coordinating the Youth Program at the Alaska Native Heritage Center; and working as an Artist-in-the-School, to name just a few.

In the early 1990s Shirley Mae formed an international choir of women from all over the world as a way to bring peace to the world. The International Women's Peace Choir of Alaska. performed in Anchorage many times. In 1995, the choir traveled to the International Women's NGO conference in Beijing, China where Shirley Mae was cultural coordinator. Shirley Mae directed the choir, taught many songs of peace, and performed at the conference as well. After the Beijing conference Shirley Mae produced a CD, "Keep on Moving Forward." She also did a fund- and awareness-raising concert for the women of Rwanda that inspired local women to raise more money and go to Rwanda and start a self-help project.

In 2003, Shirley Mae organized a choir of local singers to attend an International Choral Festival in Santiago de Cuba. Currently, she is working to introduce a new choir to Anchorage, known as the Threshold Choir, to sing at the bedside of the dying or very sick.

It is difficult to catalog the accomplishments and contributions that Shirley Mae has made to Anchorage and the local arts and culture. This just scratches the surface.


Out North — Jay Brause and Gene Dougan, co-directors — Youth Arts Award:

This award recognizes organizations and individuals whose exemplary efforts advance the arts among the youth of Anchorage.

Out North grew from the imagination of artists and activists who wanted to challenge and inspire contemporary cultures through art and the public forum. Incorporated in 1985, Out North continues to make challenging contemporary art happen, earning national press and grants for its mix of public purpose art, youth arts education, and artists' residencies and commissions.

Out North's progressive multi-arts organization offers a vibrant mix of contemporary visual, performing, literary and media art, and engages in arts activism, human rights, housing, community development, and life-long education. The organization provides a forum for underrepresented artists, especially artists with disabilities, artists of color, gay/lesbian/bi/trans artists, and social activist artists. Professional artists, community arts practitioners, and other participants in Out North's programs come from all corners of Alaska and all parts of the globe.

Half of what Out North does is creating space for artists to thrive; the other half is creating space for communities to thrive. Out North has won awards for its education programs that bring art and learning to at-risk kids. Out North is Alaska's accredited affiliate of VSA arts, an international organization creating a society where people with disability learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts. Local and guest artists with disabilities present their work in exhibitions, performances, readings, and the Reel Eyes film program. Access to the arts is provided for people of all ages with disabilities of all kinds, as well as for adolescents who are economically disadvantaged or incarcerated. Students develop artistic talents, literacy skills and self esteem through the creation of original work.


Ed Crittenden, Lorene Harrison Award for Lifetime Achievement:

This award recognizes individual artists who are widely regarded for achievements in their chosen field.

For over fifty years, Ed Crittenden has helped create Anchorage's skyline. Born the same year as Anchorage, in 1915, Ed received a degree in architecture from Yale in 1942 and later came to Alaska with the Coast Guard. In 1950, he opened his own architecture firm and since then has been instrumental in establishing the architectural profession here.

Driven by an optimism for what Anchorage could become, Ed worked on the first modern shopping center with Larry Carr and the first modern hotel with Walter J. Hickel. He and his firm designed the Log Cabin Visitor's Center, and St. Mary's Episcopal Church, on the corner of Lake Otis and Tudor. With fellow architect, Wally Wallenstein, Ed established an Alaska chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

After the 1964 earthquake Ed was quick to work on making Anchorage an even better place than before the earthquake. He signed on as architect of Hickel's Hotel Captain Cook. In the 1970s, Ed responded to the new oil economy by partnering with a San Francisco firm to become the largest architectural firm in Alaska. Projects included Bartlett High School, the Federal Office Building, and the creation of the "University District"—including work on Providence hospital, Alaska Pacific University, McLaughlin Youth Center and several buildings on the UAA campus.

In 1975, Ed put his ideas about northern living and construction to work as he created the Prudhoe Bay Operations Center (PBOC), a residential center for workers on the North Slope.

From office buildings for the oil industry and banking industry, to the Egan Convention Center, Ed Crittenden has had a lasting impact on our community. He is a champion of sound building and engineering solutions, and of finding systems that make sense in the North. But he is also an optimist and a dreamer, believing that the place he has lived and worked for nearly seven decades has the greatest potential for being a place like no other—a place that he and all members of the community can be proud to call home.