Community Artist Awards occur in January during HCOA’s annual meeting with the nomination process opening in December of the previous year.

Since 2005, Homer Council on the Arts has presented the annual Community Arts Awards as a way to support local artists. These awards not only recognize individuals who do SO much for the community, but also advocate for the arts as a powerful local force for community economic and educational development.

Over the years, many of the awards have been named in honor of individuals whose lifetime of work embodies the spirit of that award.

2022  Community Arts Award Recipients

Mary Epperson Lifetime Achievement Award

DANIEL PERRY

Daniel Perry is deeply involved in the Homer community’s education and has been a prominent creative force in music locally. He was the face and original classroom teacher for the Paul Banks Elementary “Preludes” violin music program, working collaboratively with Linda Reinhart, Lyn Maslow, and other influential local educators. He formerly directed the Homer OPUS youth string programs and is currently an active board member, helping to place and transition the current music director, assuring the programs maintain the highest educational standards. Daniel is also a prominent violin teacher and maintains a vibrant private studio. Besides his work in Homer, he was a founding instructor for the Sun Valley Music Conservatory in Idaho and taught at the Birchwood Music Camp in Alaska.

As a performer in Homer, he has collaborated in a number of local chamber music concerts including those for the Homer Council of the Arts, the Bunnell Street Art Center and the Pratt Museum. He also performed with the Devil’s Club Orchestra, which opened for Pink Martini at the Mariner Theater in Homer.

Artist of the Year

BRIANNA ALLEN

Brianna Allen has fostered her artwork in Homer since the summer of 2008 when she arrived during a road trip with a friend. During her first summer in Homer, she painted portraits of locals from the back of her truck – bars, cab drivers, pool players – whatever inspired her in this hamlet by the sea. Since 2011, she’s participated in exhibits, taught classes, produced performances and events, and served on the board at Bunnell Street Arts Center where she has been the Marketing and Development Lead since 2016.

When she became a mother in 2018, her art practice adapted. She solicited for stories about the challenges and joys of motherhood and shared them anonymously through her social art project called “The Momologue Collective.” When Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022, Brianna called for stories about choice. Knowing it was a critical time to amplify voices, she self-published the collection of 100 stories The Momologue Collective: An Anthology by Self-Identifying Mothers and released it in conjunction with her fellow artist mother cohorts in the Bunnell Street Arts Center exhibit MOTHER in December of 2022.

Arts Advocate

MICHAEL ARMSTRONG

In May of ’99 Michael was hired as an editorial assistant for the Homer News. In 2003, there was an opening for a reporter. Then around 2006 he started writing the art scene. He would do one story a month about a visual artist and covered the local galleries. He loved going to First Friday openings where he would encounter a broad range of visual artists, take some photos, and follow up. He especially liked writing about emerging artists. Those were the fun ones because they were fresh and excited. He loved interviewing artists on the cusp of making a career or developing a passion that enriched their lives, always trying to find a different angle to the stories.

What most people don’t know about Michael: he started as a science fiction writer, and once wrote a story that was challenged to be banned from a New Jersey library. HCOA thanks you, Michael, for your 23 years of advocating for the arts in our community. We look forward to reading your next science fiction or ‘challenged’ book!

Mary Langham Volunteer of the Year Award

CATHY STINGLEY

Cathy Stingley was born in Portland, Oregon. She married in 1968 and moved to Georgia and then New York before coming to Alaska in 1973.  Her years have been filled with music and theater, punctuated with three seasons on a Forest Service lookout tower, operating Homer’s first preschool, co-producing a children’s radio program, 11 years as a firefighter/EMT with Homer Volunteer Fire Department, work with the Homer Mental Health Clinic and managing her business providing neurodevelopmental therapy for the past 25 years.

She is the current president of the Board of Directors for Pier One Theatre, Inc., has participated with many hats in the theatre program, played fiddle in several bands, and presently teaches an online movement class and leads a weekly musical jam session at HCOA.  Being part of an event brings her joy and satisfaction that she is contributing in some way to help bring pleasure to others.

Jill Berryman Art Educator Award

KRISTA ETZWILER

Krista worked as an elementary school teacher and the Artist in the Schools assistant coordinator from 2007-2015 at McNeil Canyon. She credits Debbie Piper as a mentor over those years. In 2015 she moved positions to West Homer Elementary where she continued weekly art as well as organizing and coordinating their Artist in the Schools programs, Art Fair, and school-wide art projects through 2022. Krista crammed all those organizational details into before- and after-school hours. But she notes that the energy required was far surpassed by the energy from the kids and parents. Energy in return makes it worth it.

Krista plans to continue teaching art in the new HCOA ceramic studio along with some other visual arts. Project Grad has hired her as a visiting artist for their summer institute. She also hopes to pursue art for her own personal interest.

Diane Borgman Youth Artist of the Year Award

LEAH DUNN

Homer High School senior Leah Dunn has been dabbling in art her whole life. It started with cutting things while living in Aniak as a young girl, and became more in depth the past couple of years during summer downtime at her family cabin in Little Tutka Bay and as a deck hand in Kasitsna Bay. Leah painted many acrylic landscapes from across Kachemak Bay and entered them in Homer Council on the Arts group exhibits including Landscapes and Fun with 5×7. Her work has technical skill and wisdom of place beyond her years. The past few months she has expanded into watercolor and carries a pocket palette for landscapes and self-portraits.

Leah looks forward to building upon her high school art education with Olivia Philpot into college studying Art and Environmental Science.

Kathy and Mike Pate Business Award

GRACE RIDGE BREWING

Don & Sherry Stead opened Grace Ridge Brewery in May of 2016, intending to be a community gathering spot. They knew from the start they wanted to have a place to showcase local artists, focusing on emerging artists. The first artist to grace their walls was Jen DePesa, who had just moved down from Anchorage and wanted to share her art with Homer. Since then, she has become a friend and has had a yearly showing at the brewery. The Steads enjoy always being surprised and amazed at what shows up for the monthly display. The 8×8 cooler with wood slats has been a perfect platform- there are quite a few screw holes but it allows the artist to display their unique work. Being part of First Friday has given the brewery the opportunity to really embrace Homer’s art scene, with visitors and locals enjoying the local art.

Past Community Arts Award Recipients

2021 WINNERS

Mary Epperson Lifetime Achievement
PAUL DUNGAN

Artist of the Year
KIM MCNETT

Art Advocate
LITTLE FOOT

Mary Langham Volunteer of the Year
ABE ABRAHAMSON

Jill Berryman Arts Education Award
CARLY GARAY

Diane Borgman Youth Artist of the Year
MARIAH MCGUIRE

Kathy & Mike Pate Business Award
BODETT & CO.

2020 WINNERS

Mary Epperson Lifetime Achievement
BRAD HUGHES

Artist of the Year
DEBORAH POORE

Art Advocate
RIKA MOUW

Mary Langham Volunteer of the Year
CINDY NELSON

Jill Berryman Arts Education Award
ALAYNE TETOR

Diane Borgman Youth Artist of the Year
ELLA BLANTON YOURKOWSKI

Kathy & Mike Pate Business Award
KACHEMAK BAY BROADCASTING INC.

2019 WINNERS

Mary Epperson Lifetime Achievement
JOY STEWARD

Artist of the Year
LYNNE BURT

Art Advocate
LINDA REINHART

Mary Langham Volunteer of the Year
GUNDEGA ŠNEPSTE

Jill Berryman Arts Education Award
KYLE SCHNEIDER

Diane Borgman Youth Artist of the Year
KATIA HOLMES

Kathy & Mike Pate Business Award
KP BRASS BAND – ALIBI BAR & GRILL

2018 WINNERS

Mary Epperson Lifetime Achievement
MARK ROBINSON

Artist of the Year
JENNIFER NORTON

Art Advocate
DANIEL PERRY

Mary Langham Volunteer of the Year
N LYNN WHITMORE

Jill Berryman Arts Education Award
SHARLENE CLINE

Diane Borgman Youth Artist of the Year
FALCOM GREEAR

Kathy & Mike Pate Business Award
MEL STRYDOM – THE GROG SHOP

2017 WINNERS

Arts Lifetime Achievement
ANNETTE BELLAMY

Artist of the Year
DANA STABENOW

Arts Leadership / Advocacy
HOMER OCEAN CHARTERS

Volunteer of the Year
LYNN SPENCE

Arts Education
LISA SHALLOCK

Youth Artist of the Year
CHLOE PLEZNAC

Business Arts Patron
HARBOR SCHOOL OF MUSIC

2016 WINNERS

Arts Lifetime Achievement
EVA SAULITIS

Artist of the Year
JIM REARDON

Arts Leadership / Advocacy
ED HUTCHINSON

Volunteer of the Year
MIKE PATE AND HAL SPENCE

Arts Education
ROSANNA MOYER

Youth Artist of the Year
FELICITY JONES

Business Arts Patron
TWO SISTERS BAKERY

2015 WINNERS

Arts Lifetime Achievement
JOHN BUSHELL

Artist of the Year
SALLY OBERSTEIN

Arts Leadership / Advocacy
HOMER ARTS & CULTURE ALLIANCE

Volunteer of the Year
MARY LANGHAM

Arts Education
LISA AND KIRK OLSEN

Youth Artist of the Year
LINDSEY SCHNEIDER

Business Arts Patron
HOMER PHYSICAL THERAPY

2014 WINNERS

Arts Lifetime Achievement
TOBY TYLER

Artist of the Year
TOM KIZZIA

Arts Leadership / Advocacy
PETER SWANSON

Volunteer of the Year
TIM QUINN

Arts Education
CODY DAVIDSON

Youth Artist of the Year
PATRICK LATIMER

Business Arts Patron
QUIET PLACE LODGE

2013 WINNERS

Arts Lifetime Achievement
GAYE WOLFE

Artist of the Year
MARIAN BECK

Arts Leadership / Advocacy
BUNNELL STREET ARTS CENTER

Arts Education
CAROL SWARTZ

Youth Artist of the Year
DREW TURNER

Business Arts Patron
ERA ALASKA

2012 WINNERS

Arts Lifetime Achievement
PAULA DICKEY

Artist of the Year
MAVIS MULLER

Arts Leadership / Advocacy
KEN CASTNER

Volunteer of the Year
RACHEL BILBO

Arts Education
CAROL COMFORT

Youth Artist of the Year
MARIAH STUART

Business Arts Patron
WELLS FARGO INSURANCE

2011 WINNERS

Arts Lifetime Achievement
DIANE TILLION

Artist of the Year
RON SENUNGETUK

Arts Leadership / Advocacy
PRATT MUSEUM

Arts Education
CHERISH MCCALLUM

Youth Artist of the Year
RUFARO

Business Arts Patron
HOMER BOOKSTORE

2010 WINNERS

Arts Lifetime Achievement
RHENDA HORN

Artist of the Year
NANCY LORD

Arts Leadership / Advocacy
MAVIS MULLER

Arts Education
DEBBIE PIPER

Youth Artist of the Year
OCEANA WILLS

Business Arts Patron
MIKE WARBURTON – OCEAN SHORES RESORT

2009 WINNERS

Arts Lifetime Achievement
LANCE AND BARB PETERSEN

Artist of the Year
LYNN MARIE NADEN

Arts Leadership / Advocacy
JOY STEWARD

Arts Education
PAUL JONES

Youth Artist of the Year
MARC OLIVER

2008 WINNERS

Arts Lifetime Achievement
LORRAINE HASS

Artist of the Year
ASIA FREEMAN

Arts Leadership / Advocacy
LAURA NORTON

Arts Education
RENEE JAHNKE

Youth Artist of the Year
ELYSE CARTER

2007 WINNERS

Arts Lifetime Achievement
KARLA FREEMAN

Artist of the Year
RIKA MOUW

Arts Leadership / Advocacy
GAYE WOLFE

Arts Education
JILL BERRYMAN

Youth Artist of the Year
CASUALTIES OF THE CAUSE

2006 WINNERS

Arts Lifetime Achievement
MARY EPPERSON

Artist of the Year
GAIL BAKER

Arts Leadership / Advocacy
MARK ROBINSON

Arts Education
JOCELYN WESTPHAL

Youth Artist of the Year
MADALYN WIARD

2005 WINNERS

Arts Lifetime Achievement
HOWARD HEDGES

Artist of the Year
SHIRLEY TIMMRECK & TOBY TYLER

Arts Leadership / Advocacy
LANCE PETERSEN

Arts Education
RHENDA HORN

Youth Artist of the Year
JESSICA SHALLOCK & KATIE MILLER