Past Summer Arts and Lectures Series Schedules
Our Summer Arts & Lectures Series promotes the arts and sciences as integral and necessary components of an educated and enlightened existence. This program is organized to inspire personal discovery, creativity, and intellectual inquiry. We hope to sustain an inclusive community by presenting relevant, unique, entertaining, and diverse events including performances, films, and lectures in the Kennicott Valley.
Information on the current season's program is available here.
- Thursday, June 2nd - Swallows and Change with Maren Vitousek and Dan Ardia: A team of researchers are in McCarthy this summer conducting research about swallows. During this lecture they will talk about the background behind their current project, as well as tree swallow biology, and how swallows deal with challenges. 7 pm at Porphyry Place
- Saturday June 4th - Spring Migrations, Bird Habits, and Habitats: A Walk with Mark Vail: Meet in front of the Old Hardware Store for a fun, informative bird walk. Coffee, tea, and coffeecake will be served. Meets at 7 am.
- Saturday, June 11th - When Ice Meets Water with Martin Truffer: Interesting things can happen when solid ice meets its liquid phase. Water can drain to the base of the glacier and make it flow much faster. When a glacier flows into a lake or the ocean, it can change much more rapidly than its land-terminating cousins. Sometimes these changes occur in very unexpected ways. This lecture is offered in partnership with the International Summer School in Glaciology. 8:30 pm at Porphyry Place.
Thursday, July 7th - 15 Years of Patchwork with Maria Shell: Quilt Artist Maria Shell will share her work from her first stitches to her most recent pieces along with some good stories about trying to quilt while raising three boys in Alaska. Maria’s work is grounded in the the tradition of American patchwork while also connecting to both the modern and art quilt moments. It is a journey filled with laughter, dark Alaskan nights, and lots of stitching. 7 pm at Porphyry Place.
Wednesday, July 13th - Livingroom Acoustic Concert with Michelle McAfee and Friends: An intimate musical evening with songs, stories, improv harmonies and musical wanderings. 8 pm at Porphyry Place.
Tuesday, July 19th - Geologic evolution of the giant Wrangell volcanoes: investigating links between volcanism and plate tectonics with Matt Brueseke, Sam Berkelhammer, Beth Morter, Kansas State University; Jeff Benowitz, Paul Layer, Kailyn Davis, University of Alaska – Fairbanks; and Jeff Trop, Bucknell University. 7 pm at Porphyry Place.
Sunday, July 24th - Unmending with Keren Lowell - In this workshop, we will investigate various methods for revealing the complicated history of objects by mending and unmending. You are invited to bring an item of your choosing and to investigate its undoing. We will be taking the thing apart, documenting, telling stories and perhaps reinventing and restructuring these things. Possible items to bring: books, clothing, tools, mementos, housewares, furniture, containers, artwork, etc. Meets at Porphyry Place from 1-4 pm.
Tuesday, July 26th - When I was a Bird - A Concert with David Lynn Grimes. 8 pm at the Old Hardware Store.
Thursday, August 11th - Breaking Ice: Searching for Climate Clues In Remote Northwest Greenland with Julia Rosen - In 2015, Julia accompanied researchers on a scientific expedition to understand the past—and future—of the Greenland ice sheet. Traveling by icebreaker, helicopter, and by foot, the team explored the frozen seas and barren landscapes of the top of the world. Her presentation will include a talk, essay readings, and a slide show. 7 pm at Porphyry Place.
Friday, August 12th - Glennallen is a dry town. Why does it have a drunken forest? - Join NPS Physical Scientist Mike Loso and NPS Archeologist Lee Reininghaus to find out the real reason why the Copper Basin’s forests are dominated by stunted black spruce trees and boggy soils: Lake Atna. At the end of the last ice age, most of the Basin was covered by a combination of massive glaciers and a correspondingly-massive ice-dammed lake. What was the lake like? Where was it? What kind of landscape did it leave behind? And what do we know about the ancient people that might have lived on the shore of this lake, watching jokulhlaups that made last month's Hidden Creek Lake Flood look like a tinkle.
- Thursday, August 18th - From Piles of Rocks to Polar Bears with Nina Elder - Nina Elder travels to some of the most environmentally impacted, geographically distant, and economically important places on the globe to research how the natural environment is changing through human-centered activities. Through these journeys, she is gathering more stories, images, ideas, and correlations than can be translated into traditional two-dimensional art work. This presentation is equal parts travel log, artist talk, poetic narrative, and a scrutiny of assumptions about the North. It weaves together unlikely associations between piles of rocks, Nina’s father’s untold military history, climate change, Native cultures, obsolete communication technology, and the need for curiosity. 7 pm at Porphyry Place.
- Monday, August 22nd - Bremner and the Bunkhouse Art Project with Barabara Morford - Join us for a tour through the mining history and natural landscape of the Bremner Historical Mining District. Barbara Morford, Bremner volunteer and former Wrangell St Elias ranger, has been studying and making art in the Bremner district since 2004. She will share photographs, stories, and artwork of this year’s Bunkhouse Project, where she invited travelers in the district to document their experiences through art. 7:30 pm at Porphyry Place.
- Thursday, August 25th - Landscape Painting with Color and Light: An Artist Talk with Rita Pfenninger - Join local painter and instructor, Rita Pfenninger, as she shares some of her recent work as well as her process for building landscapes with layers of vibrant color. This lecture is open to the public as part of a three day workshop. 7 pm at Porphyry Place.
- Thursday, September 1st - A Collaboration with Place: An Artist Talk with Shawn Skabelund - As artist in residence, Shawn Skabelund, prepares for each site-specific, place-based installation, he researches the history of the place to learn how the interaction between the wild and the human has determined the direction and cultural makeup of the locale. This “collaboration with place” directs him to the materials he will use and helps him understand what he wants to say in his work. How does one with three degrees in drawing end up becoming a large-scale, place-based installation artist? What is the creation process he goes through in creating his work? And how does he approach drawing in his work today? 7 pm at Porphyry Place.
- Sunday, September 4th - Open House with Peter Bell - Pete Bell, started producing an independent film about McCarthy in 2012 and is back as an artist in residence to work on completing the project. On Sunday from 10 - 2 he will host an open house and McCarthy confessional. Stop by the Old Hardware Store to check out his project, ask questions, and have a chance to be in the film. 10 am - 2 pm at the Old Hardware Store.
Saturday, May 23 - Classical Guitar Concert with Jurgen Ogrodnik: 7 pm at Porphyry Place
Saturday, May 30 - Spring Migrations, Bird Habits, and Habitats Walk with Mark Vail: Meet at 7 am in front of the Old Hardware Store. Coffee, tea, and coffeecake will be served. Free to members, $5 suggested donation for non-members
- Tuesday, June 30 - Nature's Calling: An artist talk with Kevin Muente: 7:30 pm at the Kennecott Rec Hall. Artist and professor Kevin Muente will share his journey as a painter who seeks out natural landscapes that inspire many. Focusing on details of place through paint he strives to make the environment awaken the soul. Muente will discuss what it's like to paint in National Parks, how he goes about finding subjects and how he makes realistic paintings of man's role in nature. Follow his story as an artist and how the landscapes from around the world have fueled his passions for travel and art.
The Meg Hunt Residency Program is supported in part by the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Thursday, July 2 - The Animals Under Your Feet: Findings from a study of small mammals of the Kennicott Valley: 7:30 pm at Porphyry Place. Small mammals are known to many of us as the critters that scamper across our paths and raid our kitchens. But why are they here, what ecological roles do they play, and what can they tell us about environmental change? Researchers Karen Mager, Dorte Neumeister, Liyuan Gao, and Zara Silberberg spent the month of June trapping for voles, shrews, mice, and the occasional squirrel. Come hear what they’ve found, including answers to questions such as: “What small mammals inhabit the forests, bogs, and alpine tundra of the Kennicott Valley?” and “Just how many voles are there underfoot on an acre of land?”. Discussion to follow—share your own observations and vole stories, and find out how you can get involved!
- Tuesday, July 7 - Wilderness in Words: A Public Reading by Krista Langlois, Artist in Residence: 7:30 pm at Porphyry Place. Krista Langlois tells stories at the intersection of people and nature. Prior to coming to the Wrangell Mountain Center, she spent two months traveling around Alaska, working on a series of magazine articles about issues ranging from a deep divide in Barrow's whaling community to a modern-day fish war on the Kuskokwim River. Come hear a collection of old and new stories, poems and essays inspired by the bonds between people, animals and the places they call home. Krista Langlois is an essayist and independent journalist living in Durango, Colorado. Her work has been published in Slate, Orion, High Country News, Adventure Journal and elsewhere.
The Meg Hunt Residency Program is supported in part by the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
- Friday, July 10 - Community Rhythm and Percussion Workshop, 5:30 pm at Porphyry Place. Come play Latin Percussion with us--Cameron Cartland and Yngvil Vatn Guttu. Be part of catchy ensemble routines in the Afro-Cuban tradition. This is a non-competitive, high energy, workshop open to everyone. For instant gratification you can share what you learned with an informal performance at softball.
Saturday, July 11th - Musicians’ Lunch and Open Circle, Noon at the Old Hardware Store. Lunch and skill sharing for people who make music. Part 1: Round Robin work share (sing or play something). Part 2: Results oriented work groups focused on getting you and your music poised for the next level! Hosted by Yngvil Vatn Guttu of the Northern Culture Exchange and featuring musicians from “Free the Beaver” Relentless BBQ edition X including: Jenny Baker, Cameron Cartland, Tara Chrissman, Lena Lukina, Laura Oden, Margie Perez, Carey Seward, Allison Warden, and many more! Bring songs and instruments if you have them, Lunch is provided. Open to everyone and all skill levels.
Tuesday, July 14th - Primal Mates, A Chamber Jazz Duo, 7:30 pm at the Kennecott Rec Hall. Join us for an evening of poetry and music with Colleen O’Brien and Chris Lee of Primal Mates. Learn more at primalmates.com
- Friday, July 17 - Family Music Camp Barn Dance, at the Old Hardware Store, 7:30 pm. Join us for this family friendly, fun event, open to the public. $5 Suggested Donation.
- Saturday, July 18 - Family Music Camp Open Jam Night. Community members and visitors are invited to join the instructors and participants for this fun evening of sharing music. 7:15 pm at the Old Hardware Store.
- Thursday, July 23 - Alaska Writer Laureate Frank Soos presents Alaskan Writers: Adventurous and Articulate. 4:30 pm at Porphyry Place.
- Thursday, July 23 - RiverSong Showcase with Frank Soos, Michelle McAfee, David Grimes, Nancy Cook, and Robin Child. Enjoy songs, poems, and more from each of our teaching staff. The showcase will be followed by an acoustic open mic/ word jam. Come listen or sign up to share. Five minutes max. Original work only. 7 pm at Porphyry Place.
- Monday, July 27 - A Community Weaving Workshop with Erika Hanson. The warp weighted loom dates back to the Neolithic period, and was found in use until the 1950s in remote locations of northern Europe. As a group we will build a warp weighted loom, then work together to weave a tapestry. The weaving will become a portrait of place and people; by utilizing materials found and donated during the weaving process. All members of the community are invited to come weave and share stories throughout the week. 1-5 pm at the Old Hardware Store
This workshop and the Meg Hunt Residency Program are sponsored in part by the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
- Thursday, July 30 - Concert Performance with David Grimes. Join us for an evening of music, storytelling, and spontaneous healing. 7 pm at Porphyry Place.
- Friday, August 7 - Livingroom Acoustic Concert with Michelle McAfee and Friends. 9 pm at Porphyry Place. An intimate musical evening with songs, stories, improv harmonies and musical wanderings. Free to members, $5 suggested donation for non-members.
- Friday, August 14 - A Public Lecture about Mushrooms in Alaska, with Dr. Gary Laursen and the Introduction to Mushroom Identification Workshop. 8 pm at Porphyry Place.
Sunday, August 16 - Sourdough Rock Glacier: Mars in the Wrangells? with Jack Holt, Joe Levy, Eric Peters from the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. Sourdough Rock Glacier is a prime example of a "rock glacier," many of which are found in the Wrangells. These features are not well understood on Earth, yet they are strikingly similar to thousands of landforms discovered in the middle latitudes of Mars. Although ice is not stable at the surface at these latitudes on Mars, based on recent mission data they appear to be composed of ice, hundreds of meters thick, protected by a relatively thin layer of rock and dust. Therefore studying Sourdough Rock Glacier represents an opportunity to both better understand such features on Earth and to improve our knowledge of Mars paleoclimate. We will describe preliminary results from our ongoing efforts to understand the motion, morphology, and composition of Sourdough Rock Glacier using surface geophysics and repeat airborne mapping. 8 pm at Porphyry Place.
- Tuesday, August 25 - Overwinter: Live Music and Poetry with Jeremy Pataky and Molly McDermott. Come for an evening of live music and poetry. Local poet Jeremy Pataky reads from his debut book, Overwinter (University of Alaska Press), and Molly McDermott of the band Harm will perform original music, including adaptations of some poems from Overwinter. Books will be available for sale and signing, and a portion of book sales will be donated to the WMC. 8 pm at Porphyry Place.
- Wednesday, August 26 - An Artist Talk with J. Jason Lazarus. Fairbanks-based artist, J. Jason Lazarus, will discuss his series of photographic work documenting the forgotten relics of Alaska’s mining past. Using a little-known antique photographic process to print his handmade images, Lazarus uses his work to connect the artifacts left behind with the people that once called the mines home. Lazarus will detail his use of the Van Dyke Brown printing process, showcase prints from his series and share stories from his many journeys throughout the state. 7:30 pm at Porphyry Place.
This program is sponsored in part by the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
- Friday, August 28 - Storytelling by Jack Dalton Get ready for Tall Tales with this public performance by professional storyteller, Jack Dalton. 7:30 pm at the Kennicott Rec Hall.
- Saturday, August 29 - Photographic Processes Workshop with J. Jason Lazarus: Explore the roots of photography by learning two historical photographic processes: Cyanotype and Van Dyke Brown. In use during the mid 19th century, these processes are simple to use, require no prior darkroom experience and can be easily done at home (and are kid friendly). We’ll explore creating cyanotype photograms, making van dyke browns from digital negatives and discuss a variety of color toning options for Cyanotypes. This program is sponsored in part by the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Saturday, August 29 - Tall Tales Storytelling Contest and Auction: Sign up starts at 7:30 pm; event starts at 8 pm at the McCarthy Lodge. Best story receives a $500 cash prize. There will be a live and silent auction.
Friday, September 4 - Need for Seed: Native Plant Collection and Propagation: 10 am-2 pm. Meet at the 2nd footbridge. Learn about native plant species found in McCarthy and the techniques to properly harvest, store, and propagate their seed. There will be a potluck and presentation at 12:30 at the Old Hardware Store. All are welcome to join! This event is a partnership between the WMC and the National Park Service.
- Saturday, May 24: Spring Migrations, Bird Habits, and Habitats Walk with Mark Vail. Meet at 7 am in front of the Old Hardware Store. Coffee, tea, and coffeecake will be served. Free to members, $5 suggested donation for non-members
- Friday, June 6: First Friday Sculpture Viewing with Artist in Residence Joe Barrington. 5:30 pm at the Old Hardware Store. Refreshments will be served. Free to members, $5 suggested donation for non-members.
- Thursday, June 26: Hydrology and Motion of the Kennicott Glacier with Billy Armstrong. 7:30 pm at Porphyry Place in McCarthy. Billy will share his research monitoring ice velocity, surface melt, and side glacier lake labels on the Kennicott Glacier. Free for members, $5 suggested donation for non-members.
- Wednesday, July 2: Which Comes First? Artist Talk with Ann Johnston. Using images of her quilts over the years, Ann will discuss making design decisions and how her approach has evolved. She will describe the different kinds of starting places she has used in her recent work and explain in detail how the work changed during its creation-from inspiration to results. Kennecott Recreation Hall at 7:30 pm. Free to members, $5 suggested donation for non-members.
- Sunday, July 13: Acoustic Living Room Show with Michelle McAfee, Robin Child, and Friends 9 pm at Porphyry Place. An intimate musical evening with songs, stories, improv harmonies and musical wanderings will wrap up the Songwriting Workshop. Free to members, $5 suggested donation for non-members.
- Wednesday, July 16: Artist Talk and Discussion with Nina Elder: 7:30 pm at the Kennecott Recreation Hall. New Mexico artist Nina Elder is in McCarthy and Kennecott for three weeks as a Polar Lab artist in residence with the Anchorage Museum. Combining visual and conceptual research at Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark, she observes and will creatively respond to the ways that the detritus of mining has both defined and been denied in Alaska’s identity. Nina grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico where she cultivated a curiosity about holes in the ground and piles of rocks. Her paintings and drawings examine the visual evidence of industrial land use in the American West and its cycles of production, consumption, and waste. Nina’s work is exhibited and collected nationally, and has been included in publications such as Art in America, VICE, and New American Paintings. Free to members, $5 suggested donation for non-members.
- Friday, July 18: Family Music Camp Barn Dance, at McCarthy Center. Join us for this family friendly, fun event, open to the public. $5 Suggested Donation.
- Saturday, July 19: Family Music Camp Open Jam Night. Community members and visitors are invited to join the instructors and participants for this fun evening of sharing music. 7:30 pm at the Old Hardware Store.
- Thursday, July 24: Community Word Jam, 7 pm at the Old Hardware Store. A literary open mic of original poems, stories, songs, and performance art. Come early to sign up for a 5 minute performance slot, or just come listen.
- Friday, July 25: Wrangell Mountains Writing Workshop Reading by Tom Kizzia, Frank Soos, and Nancy Cook at 6:00 pm at the Kennecott Recreation Hall. Free to members, $5 suggested donation for non-members.
- Wednesday, July 30: Renewable Energies, A Poetry Workshop with Megan Grumbling: In this poetry workshop, we will generate visceral and high-energy raw material for poems, and work on honing our poetics so as to best hold and heighten that energy. In a morning and an afternoon session, we’ll spend time in a variety of writing exercises, as well as in discussion about model poems, principles for enhancing energy in and over lines, and ideas about how to generally sustain dynamism in our writing lives. The workshop will conclude with a public group reading. Come for the morning 9:00-noon, the afternoon 1:00-4:00 pm, or both sessions. This workshop and the Meg Hunt Residency Program are supported in part by the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
- Tuesdays, August 5, 19, & 26: Jamming, Pickling, Drying & Root Cellaring, 3 Workshops on Putting Up the Productive Garden with Mark Vail. Meet at 3 pm at Porphyry Place. Class size is limited to 12 so sign up early. $12/class or $30/ all three classes.
Friday, August 8: Alaska Wild Lands and ANILCA two lectures with Dick Mylius and Sally Gibert: An evening overview in two parts covering key events in the creation of today’s land ownership map of Alaska beginning in territorial days and leading up to passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA). ANILCA created the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, among others. Also covers key issues leading to passage of ANILCA, the compromises, and the challenges of implementation for both land and resource managers and the public. Two consecutive presentations of 45 minutes, each followed by an opportunity for questions and discussion. Join us at the Kennecott Recreation Hall. Free to members, $5 suggested donation for non-members.
7:00pm: Part 1 – Events that led up to ANILCA, including Alaska Statehood and Native land claims. Presenter Dick Mylius, Retired, with 29 years experience at the Alaska Department of Natural Resources
8:00pm: Part 2 – Passage of ANILCA and implementation issues, with some Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve examples. Presenter Sally Gibert, Retired, following 27 years as ANILCA Coordinator for the State of Alaska
- Saturday, August 9: When Ice Meets Water with Professor Martin Truffer: In this talk, Martin Truffer from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will show some of the interesting things that can happen when solid ice meets its liquid phase. Water can drain the base of the glacier and make it flow much faster. When a glacier flows into a lake or the ocean, it can change much more rapidly than its land-terminating cousins, and sometimes these changes occur in very unexpected ways. 8:30 pm at the Kennecott Recreation Hall. Free to members, $5 suggested donation for non-members.
- Tuesday, August 12: Rock, Water, Wild: A Reading and Talk by Nancy Lord: Nancy Lord, Wrangell Mountains Center artist-in-residence and a former Alaska Writer Laureate, will share excerpts from several of her books and talk about her goals as a writer with interests in Alaskan history, natural history, and conservation. Lord’s books include Fishcamp, Beluga Days, Green Alaska, and Early Warming. 7:00 pm at the Kennecott Recreation Hall. Free to members, $5 suggested donation for non-members. This lecture and the Meg Hunt Residency Program are supported in part by the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
- Saturday, August 23: Tall Tales Storytelling Contest and Auction: Sign up starts at 7:30 pm; event starts at 8 pm at the McCarthy Lodge. Best story receives a $500 cash prize. There will be a live and silent auction.
If you are interested in presenting in this series contact Kristin@wrangells.org to submit a proposal.
Banner Photo: Nathaniel Wilder