Artist Perspectives

Abbey Ulen

What is your medium(s) of choice?  

Acrylic is always my first choice, but most recently I have been rediscovering my love for oil paint and working with oil pastels. But there is something to say about a simple pencil, so versatile and always within reach.  I love mixing mediums so it is so hard to pick just one.

When/How did you discover this medium and make it your own?

I guess I was introduced to acrylic paint when I was in High school art class. Loving the quick dry time, this helps me work with many layers, adding and subtracting to entice the viewers to look a little closer.

Where and how do you work? 

I most recently moved into a new home studio, and I make time to paint every day.  Music is a must if I am creating. I love having a home with a separate creative space, being surrounded by my family is such an inspiration to me.

How does your creativity/art making fit into your life?

Art seems to be in all aspects of my life, from cooking, traveling, teaching my children, no matter what I am doing in my life art and creativity always seem to be a part of it.

I think we all get frustrated at times in our lives, whether with our art or with life in general and we somehow overcome it and our art saves us. Can you share a frustrating moment with us and how you dealt with it? 

For me artist block is something that can be frustrating. Having the urge to create but not knowing where to begin, or where to look for inspiration. But I find if I change the way I look at it, or start from a different view point then an idea always seems to find its way.  Sometimes we need to get out of our comfort zone to grow.

Have you found current events to be inspirational or stifling? How have they impacted your art?

Today’s current events did seem to affect my drive to create. So many uncertainties in the world now, it was hard to find a balance for it all. But making it a habit to make a mark in my sketchbook and express how I was feeling seemed to help me handle everything and breathe through it.

Do you see new roles developing for artists/art?

Artists have always had the role of documenting what is happening in our world and how humans are responding to that. I believe now more than ever art/artists are making a creative impact.

How do you share your creativity?

I love talking to anyone about their love of the arts and how they like to express their creative side. I also enjoy teaching workshops here and there sharing my process and what works for me as an artist. 

What ideas do you have for how artists can share their work with the community?

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, get involved take a workshop enter an art show. And don’t get discouraged. Keep showing up. You never know when a new door will open. 

If you would like to keep updated on projects Abbey is working on, visit her at @abbeyulen on Instagram or on Facebook

Art Center Update

The decision was made by the Kenai Fine Art Center Board of Directors this spring to close the KFAC for the year due to Covid 19 virus, out of respect for our volunteers who staff the reception desk, concerns regarding summer visitors and that tourism would be down.  While this was a difficult decision, the hope was to reschedule 2020 art exhibits sometime after reopening, prioritize needed building repairs and maybe start the long planned for back-of-building renovation.  

Now some months later and thanks to the Board of Directors, business donations and volunteers, a damaged storage area has been rebuilt, other areas cleaned out, new windows all around the building, and most exciting of all, the Kenai City Council approved renovation funds.  KFAC appreciates the willingness of the City Administration and Council to make this historic building in Old Town Kenai a more viable and versatile facility.  Renovation features include a handicapped accessible bathroom, removal of certain walls, improved lighting, a three compartment sink, and to generally better accommodate workshops and smaller art exhibits.  The historic jail, bars and all, will remain the same. It still prompts the occasional “I (or my dad) spent a night there once.” from local visitors.  Thanks to a partial wall removal, the jail will be easier to view for those who want to see this unique feature, and take pictures standing in front of the bars.  

The Kenai Fine Art Center is owned by the City of Kenai, managed by and leased to the Peninsula Art Guild. (It is also the home of the Kenai Potters Guild.) This “Old Town Kenai” building has a rich history having been built by Volunteer Fire and Police Department locals in the 50’s. During the August 5th, 2020 City Council meeting, Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel stated “The Kenai Fine Arts Center is a City Building and an anchor to Old Town that draws people, a goal of ours. It fits the theme well that things can grow around it…I want to see Old Town become more of an entertainment district. Glad to see we are moving forward.”

Current KFAC board members: Marion Nelson, President, Leslie Morton, Vice President, Abbey Ulen, Secretary, Karen Fogarty, Treasurer, Heather Floyd, IT manager, Rachel Grossl, Publicity, Mick Wykis, Organizational Consultant. 

Special recognition to K+A Design Studios, Blazy Construction, Nelson Engineering, Zan Inc., Northwind Properties LLC, volunteers: Phil Senior, LuAnn Reynolds, Jane Marshall, Chris Faucheux, Barb Nielsen and more.  For more information including memberships, and follow us on Facebook.

Covid-19 Update

The Kenai Fine Art Center Board of Directors made the difficult decision to close for the remainder of 2020, due to the Covid 19 virus. They considered the safety of the many volunteers, artists and gallery visitors and that summer tourism would be much slower.  On the bright side, they are using this time to write grants, work on the website, paint walls, and make Art Show plans for 2021. Stay tuned for ARTIST IN FOCUS spotlighting area artist creative efforts. 

Biennial Juried Show March 2020

The Kenai Fine Art Center will be open through Saturday March 28th, the last Sat in March.  Please note, art work on display in the current Biannual Juried Art Show needs to be picked up by 5pm on Saturday the 28th.For other arrangements call Karen Fogarty at 283 7040.

The KPBSD student art show scheduled for April is currently postponed.  The KFAC Gallery will also be closed for the month of April.  No art show is scheduled in the Gallery for April.  If you need further information, call 907 283 7040.

Juror: Graham Dane

UAA Adjunct Professor of Art

I was born just west of London and studied Art and Art History at Oxford Brookes University (1984-87), an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Painting and Printmaking there concurrent with evening life-drawing classes at St Martin’s School of Art, London (1990-91). In 2013 I was awarded a Masters in Art History from Birkbeck College

The works I make are found on the way to something else and are always unexpected. They’re informed by daily experience, by memories and certain aspects of the world including (but not limited to) virology, bacteria, meteorology, chaos theory, an interest in the notion of the sublime. 

Peninsula Art Guild Raffle

The Peninsula Art Guild is selling raffle tickets for a chance to win one of the following piecs of art. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at the Kenai Fine Art Center. The drawing will be held on November 30, 3:00pm at Penisula Art Guild’s Annual Arts & Craft Fair located in Kenai Central High School. Artwork now on display.

Where’s Warhol?

Marilyn Johnson, Karen Fogarty, Lily Huebsch, Connie Tarbox & Jane Marshall

Lithic Collusions

Jonathan Green


Heather Floyd

Indigo Dyeing Workshop-Elissa Pettibone

  • August 31, 2019
  • 12pm-4pm
  • $100 worshop fee
  • Supplies provided

Elissa is a fiber artist and natural dyer who lives in Homer where she runs an art space with her husband and fellow artist David Pettibone. The Shop, Kachemak Bay Art Space opened in October of 2018. Elissa is a multi media performer and is the owner of Blue Red Yellow, a natural dye house.

Call to Artists-Historical Buildings of Kenai

Historical Buildings of Kenai

Entry Deadline: 6/1/2019 5pm Saturday

As an artist, reflect on the rich and varied history of Kenai using buildings or settings within the Kenai city limits. Bring in work that showcases all facets of culture, industry, environment of our city. Use history’s bones, the historic buildings, to communicate where we’ve been and what we’ve learned. Communicate this spirit in 2 or 3D. Use any media such as pastels, water color, oils, fiber art, sculpture, metal, canvas, wood, found object or stone.


Entry Fee : $25 KFAC members and $35 for non members

  • Competition is open to all artists high school age and older.
  •  Each artist may submit original 2D or 3D artworks with maximum size of 36”x 36”(artwork must be framed and/or ready to hang (wired or d-rings) or otherwisedisplay) in any medium.
  •  Entry forms can be found on our website ​​ or at KFAC.
  • The event is a non-juried show, h​owever, the KFAC Exhibition Committeereserves the right to refuse artwork deemed not suitable for the exhibit.
  • A non-refundable fee entitles the artist to submit up to 2 pieces of artwork forconsideration.
  • Opening reception Thursday June 7th
  •  You may submit work as NFS (not for sale) but you will need to submit a price forinsurance purposes.
  •  For all sales, Artist-Gallery split is 70%-30% for KFAC members and 60%-40%for non members. Membership forms are available on our website or in ourgallery.
  •  All selected pieces must hang until the end of the show and picked up after6/29/2019 Wednesday-Saturday noon-5pm.
  •  Submission of your form to the Kenai Fine Art Center is considered acceptanceof the terms and conditions of the exhibition.
  •  See attached map for city limits

Call to Artists Histoical Buildings of Kenai Map

Art Entry Form