ArtSceneAK Project URL:
Your Name: Donald R Ricker
Organization (If any): self employed
Tell us about yourself/your team: Ricker is a fine artist trained in Experimental Design at Syracuse University BFA 1974.
Description of your project: ArtSceneAK reviews visual art and artists in Alaska, with content including photographs with the reviews, a list of artist opportunities, art book reviews, and reader correspondence.
Date your Project Launched (will Launch): 2002
How your Project works/What it does: Originally published twice monthly, ArtSceneAK mission is to engage with exhibiting artists through observation and commentary. The method used is selection, attendance, in situ photography, followed at the editor's desk with description and opinion. The incidental effect of the original project was to chronicle regional art highlights, providing an historical resource built contemporaneously.
Why is your Project a model for Arts Journalism?: ArtSceneAK is an individual project of an experimental artist. The pleasure Ricker took from reading reviews of his own work led Ricker to believe that more of his colleagues deserved to enjoy opinions expressed in reaction to their own work. As an artist driven project, ArtSceneAK reports on civic, institutional, and venue contacts with artists from the point of view of a working artist.
Explain (briefly) your business model [Please be specific - this is an important question]: During the course of it's seven year project life, ArtSceneAK had over a hundred different subscribers who paid $12/year and later $18/yr for exclusive access to current Issues. One patron generously gave well over the subscription amount in support, and sales of art books through Amazon from the book review links earned a diminishing amount less than $50 total. The personal commitment and expenses including time not spent earning honest money were underwritten by profits from my commercial graphics business. Marketing efforts have been largely passive and few added cost services are offered beyond the basic subscription.
Anything else we should know? : ArtSceneAK was conceived as an online community resource expanding the opportunity for artists in the state of Alaska to have their work and exhibitions commented on. It was supported by income from subscribers, who were given exclusive access to current issues, while older issues were free. This was oppoesite to the model of giving the new issue free and charging for access to the archives which was common once for online newspapers etc. The notion was that the value was in having a show reviewed while it was still available to attend and to have the earlies compilation of artist opportunities from various sources. Of those who subscribed, many did so from the standpoint of patrons, supporting my efforts with their wallets so that ArtSceneAK could exist.

ArtSceneAK Rocks Submitted 08/09/2009 - 00:17.
As an Alaskan artist that travels to schools all over Alaska for the Artist in the School Residency Program, I rely on Donald Ricker's art journal ArtScene AK to highlight and elaborate on art throughout Alaska for the students I work with. I go to many small villages and remote areas. There isn't anything out there that highlights the art in Alaska like ArtSceneAK. All of these schools have access to the Internet and most do not receive newspapers from the larger cities. Even if they did, the arts coverage is minimal. What I really appreciated about Don's publication was the photographic coverage as well as the personal critique. He always included the deadlines for artists in the areas of Percent for Art projects, art shows, etc. It was the one site I knew I could get the information in a timely manner. Students could accesss his publications using the archives for good information about the arts in their state. Don encouraged artists from all over Alaska to submit articles for publication to his site. I want to see ArtSceneAK continue for myself as an artist but also for the students in remote Alaska. Shala Dobson, Visual Artist , Artist in the Schools Program, One Percent for Public Art Artist

In support of Don Ricker's Application Submitted 08/07/2009 - 23:22.
Don has done yeoman's service in providing Anchorage with a dedicated voice for the arts. He has provided for many years, and continues to provide, indepth critique and coverage of the local art scene that is not defined by ads or sponsorship. His ArtSceneAk forum has been driven solely by his own budget and that of his subscribers which means that the articles are honest, and all encompassing. I fully support Don's grant application and sincerely hope that strong consideration be given to a man who has demonstrated intense dedication to the reporting of the arts in Anchorage. There is no person more deserving in my humble opinion. Mary Hertert Textile Artist Color Creek-Fiber Art

I like to listen to Don, Submitted 08/07/2009 - 21:49.
I like to listen to Don, don't always agree with him but I always fine him worthy. We don't get much coverage of our arts community in Alaska and not many people, let alone qualifed people, are secure enough in the arts to speak their mind. Don is one of the few who have paid their dues, maintaining the respect of his peers while being true to his own beliefs. He panders to no one. He is worthy of support from all. Perry Eaton, Alaska Native Artist

we miss Art Scene Alaska Submitted 08/07/2009 - 11:58.
Those of us who do not live in Anchorage miss out on a major part of whats happening in the arts in Alaska. Art Scene Alaska covered the openings and shows as well as tracked arts opportunities for artists. It was also a bulletin board where art classes and events from around the state could be posted and seen by artists state wide. No other media does as comprehensive a job . I considered my subscription to be one of the better investments in my carrer as an emerging artist. I realize that Mr. Ricker rercieved very little recognition or support for his efforts, I believe support of Art Scene Alaska is important to artists state wide . Pat Garley

ArtSceneAK grant application Submitted 08/07/2009 - 04:33.
I am a former reporter for the Anchorage Daily News who covered the arts in Anchorage as well as numerous other subjects. I have observed how the Daily News has cut its arts coverage by more than 75 percent in the last few years alone as it's responded to the changing technological landscape and the economic troubles faced by all print media. I am presently involved in a non-paid capacity writing on local theatre for a blog ("Green Room") that's hosted by the Anchorage Daily News. I support the present grant application by Don Ricker because his coverage of the visual arts in Anchorage is pretty much the only intelligent game in town now that the newspaper has reduced any regular arts coverage. He is doing his best to fill that void. He deserves the additional support he's seeking because such financial support will help him further his aims of informing patrons and prospective patrons of the arts about the visual arts in our community. Regular coverage, easily accessible coverage, of the arts is essential, and Don Ricker has the means and the will to provide that. / Peter Porco, Anchorage, AK

ArtSceneAK Submitted 08/06/2009 - 11:11.
Don's idiosyncratic, outspoken website was one of the only regular, extensive sources of information and commentary on art in Anchorage and Alaska for many years. With recent, severe cutbacks in art coverage by Alaska newspapers, there is virtually no ongoing commentary or roundup of information on art in Anchorage or the rest of the state in print or online. I disagreed with Don's opinions about most things, but never failed to appreciate his devotion to covering the scene and his willingness to express his personal point of view. I miss his publication, and would be delighted to see it back online. Kesler Woodward, Professor of Art Emeritus, University of Alaska

Provides critical coverage Submitted 08/06/2009 - 11:02.
ArtSceneAK has provided critical coverage of both mainstream and off the beaten path art shows and workshops in the Anchorage area for many years. For emerging artists such as myself, ArtSceneAK has provided published reviews of my work which proved to be indespensible as references for larger-scale public projects, residencies and shows. Without this important e-magazine coverage, I likely would have been unable to make that step into the public art scene in Anchorage. Please consider Mr. Ricker's application to be the genuine good-faith, professional, educated and thoughtful endeavour which he has put forward to you and has in fact provided in the past at his own expense. Thank You, Jen Jolliff

ArtSceneAK is in hiatus, Submitted 07/31/2009 - 10:11.
ArtSceneAK is in hiatus, currently acting as an archive and resource at my expense. My effort to gain local institutional support in the form of grants from the Rasmuson Foundation, sale of my artwork to the museum or commissions under the % for Art was rebuked continuously over seven years. The amount I earned in subscriptions amounted to less than $1000/year. The incongruity between effort and return began to sour my attitude to where even I couldn't stand to be around myself. I had to stop devoting three days a month to sticking my nose into other people's business. So I am taking a seventh inning stretch. The sabbatical has allowed me to concentrate on my own sculptures and designs. Dropping out of the grant requesting cycles has helped me mentally by freeing me from constantly having to 'boast and beg' representing myself in the best light at length only to be rejected tersely. Caveat: and yet you are reading the evidence that says I have NOT dropped out! ArtSceneAK was always an effort to add to my income and cover at minimum the expenses associated with maintaining it on the internet. As my commercial art business shrinks with the general economy, the smaller sources of steady cash take on a greater appeal. The ompletion of the museum expansion with its Gormley signature sculpture would make a more complete work of my coverage of such, I'd like to visit Fairbanks, Juneau, Unalaska, Homer, and other AK art centers, and any book needs a happy ending! Thanks for hosting the summit. Already I am taking encouragement and ideas from other participants examples. Thanks for the prospect of having ArtSceneAK benefit from najp largesse. I invite other participants in the summit and people from Alaska who are familiar with ArtSceneAK to take a moment to add their comments and suggestions ...

Art Newsletter Submitted 08/06/2009 - 13:06.
The arts are alive and well in Alaska but the public would never know it. A comment above mentioned the fact that our "newspapers" have ceased reporting on the arts. The truth is that Alaska has never had good representation for visual artists in printed form. Don Ricker is a pioneer. He should receive financial support for ArtSceneAK. Our state is only 50 years old. The time has come for Alaskan artists to have a newsletter that is distributed to the public, both online and in hard copy. My heartfelt thanks to Don Ricker for his dedication.