Katie Craney is using stencils to paint what she calls a ‘ghostly image’ of the past on boiler doors that have rusted over in the burnt-out Fort Seward Barracks.
“I’m creating a stencil that’s inspired from 1900, Roman-esque wallpaper that was inside the [Fort Seward] officers’ quarters,” Craney said. “I was interested in trying to bring an aspect of the Fort back to the space.”
Craney is one of 17 Haines artists creating installations for the Alaska Arts Confluence’s outdoor art project. Craney was inspired by the contrast between the environment humans create and the one nature places them in.
“They were surrounded by this pre-fab 19th century Victorian home in the middle of the wilderness in Alaska,” she said. “So it’s really curious to me how we as humans place ourselves in an environment, what we choose to surround ourselves with.”
Craney says the Fort stood out to her when she first came to Haines.
“It seems quite a bit out of place if you’re not expecting to see these white buildings, and I didn’t know what that was,” Craney said. “It looks so unnatural, it seems like it should be on the East Coast somewhere. But yet it’s here, and I think it’s a neat history to Haines.”
Craney will use stencils of wallpaper and treebranches and paint the shapes on rusted boiler doors.
“I just really like the play on bringing that ghost image back,” she said. “I hope people will appreciate it and visitors and locals will have a reason to appreciate the burnt-out barracks instead of just turning it into a waste pile. It’s actually a pretty beautiful space.”
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