Juneau Community Foundation announces 2023 Individual Artist Awards


Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – Through the Foundation’s Arts Vibrancy Endowment, the Individual Artist Award grant program aims to foster local artists and support them in the creation of original works.

Five successful applicants have received awards.

Monica Mesdag is a textile artist who has found lifelong joy in fabrics, sewing, and quilting. Her passion
for texture catapulted into the birth of Jarwearz, a small local business that started as gifts for her kids
and friends and is now her retirement project. She will attend a workshop focusing on how to
incorporate natural dyes and printing, with the intent to capture the beauty of Southeast Alaska in her
work. She received an award of $2,500.

Christine Kleinhenz, a visual artist, will be creating an art show with the highest quality of canvas,
paints, and frames for the year 2024. Covering the costs of expensive materials will allow her to paint
freely without concern for the price of those paints as she lets them fly. This allows for freedom of
expression to reign. She invites you to come see her creative joy next year as she shows new abstract
creations blending in with her bold design and daring color choices. She received an award of $5,000.

Jake Waid, a professional actor and storyteller born and raised in Juneau, has performed in dozens
upon dozens of productions in Alaska. His award supports his upcoming performance of A Doll’s House,
Part 2 with Theatre Alaska. A Doll’s House, Part 2 takes place fifteen years after Nora Helmer leaves her
husband and children in A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. The production will follow Theater Alaska’s
ethos of bringing theater directly into community spaces and will be performed in various Juneau
locations. He received an award of $5,000.

Summer Koester is revising her memoir about her fifteen years living in Latin American and Caribbean
cultures, trying to exist in contrasting worlds while exploring new ways of being. Part personal
narrative, part cultural analysis, she integrates song lyrics, journal entries, and academic papers written
during and after her travels while scrutinizing her own Euro-American cultural lens and relationships to
power. She will also be providing an immersive musical performance and reading with Juneau artists
representing the varied cultures from her book. She received an award of $5,000.

Bonilyn Parker is a Teaching Artist and a Term Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Alaska
Southeast. She will use her award to purchase equipment and materials to expand resources in her
home ceramics studio. She will use these resources to continue to explore and create ceramic forms,
which the Juneau-Douglas City Museum will showcase in an upcoming exhibition. She received an award of $5,000.

This is the Foundation’s fourth year of providing these grants.