Sitka basket and textile weaver Teri Rofkar has been named the 2013 Rasmuson Distinguished Artist. The $40,000 award recognizes an artist with stature and a history of creative excellence.
Rofkar is the tenth Alaskan artist to receive the award, and she joins a prestigious list of previous winners including Kes Woodward (2012), Ray Troll (2011), John Luther Adams (2010), Nathan Jackson (2009), Ronald Senungetuk (2008), Rie Munoz (2007), Delores Churchill (2006), John Haines (2005) and Sylvester Ayek (2004).
“Teri Rofkar has lectured, demonstrated, taught, encouraged and promoted Tlingit weaving across the country,” said Diane Kaplan, Rasmuson Foundation president and CEO. “Not only is she an artist of amazing talent and stature, she is also the most delightful, generous and patient person you will probably ever meet.”
Rofkar has numerous public installations of her Raven’s Tail weaving and basketry, and also works in hand spun wool, hand-sown moccasins, carved items, blankets and hand felted items. She was named a National Heritage Fellow “Living Treasure,” in 2009, a United States Artist Fellow in 2006 and won the Governor’s Award for Alaska Native Art and the Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership in 2004.
Rofkar has served as an Artist in Residence at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage and at the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center in Sitka. She has conducted workshops at the NMAI National Museum of American Indian in New York and has been a culture bearer on cruise ships and in Sitka schools. She is a graduate of Dimond High School in Anchorage and says part of her education has been the encouragement and help received from Elders.
In addition to the Distinguished Artist Award, Rasmuson Foundation also awarded 25 Project Grants (worth up to $7,500 each) and ten Fellowships (worth up to $18,000 each). These artists were chosen from a total of 366 applicants, whose applications were judged by an esteemed national panel of artists and arts leaders.
This year’s winners represent 14 different communities across Alaska including Anchorage, Chugiak, Douglas, Fairbanks, Healy, Homer, Juneau, Soldotna, North Pole, Ward Cove, Talkeetna, Ketchikan, Nome and Sitka.