Foundation seeks nominations for Distinguished Artist Award

Rasmuson Foundation is accepting nominations for the 2020 Distinguished Artist Award. The nomination period opened Tuesday, October 1. The deadline for nominating artists is Monday, December 16.

The Distinguished Artist Award is part of the Foundation’s Individual Artist Awards program, which also include Project Award and Fellowship grants. Applications are not yet open for those awards.

Rasmuson Foundation offers one $40,000 Distinguished Artist Award annually in recognition of an Alaskan’s significant artistic accomplishments and creative excellence over multiple decades. These artists have chosen to make their lives and careers in Alaska, thereby contributing to the richness of arts and culture in the state. An Alaska-based arts panel of artists and experts in the field is assembled each year to review nominations. Distinguished Artist Award recipients are generally full-time professional artists and will be recognized by peers and experts across the state as among the most accomplished in their field.

“The Distinguished Artist Award is for a mature artist whose work enriches the lives of Alaskans,” said Sharity Sommer, one of two Foundation program officers who oversee the program. “The award recognizes an artist with extraordinary talent and an extensive body of creative work. It also supports future creative endeavors.”

In addition to the singular Distinguished Artist Award, the Foundation grants Project Awards of $7,500 available to artists of all career stages, and Fellowships of $18,000 for artists who are at least mid-career. The date for opening those applications has not yet been announced. A celebration and announcement of all artist grant recipients will occur in May 2020.

Recent Distinguished Artist Award recipients include Richard Nelson of Sitka; Alvin Amason of Kodiak and Anchorage; and Gertrude Svarny of Unalaska. A special feature on our website showcases all past recipients. You can learn more about the Individual Artist Awards program, and nominate an artist, online at

Through grantmaking, Rasmuson Foundation aims to promote a better life for all Alaskans with investments of $25 million to $30 million a year. Main funding areas are the arts, housing, homelessness, education, healthcare and organizational development. The foundation was created in 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband, E.A. Rasmuson.