First Friday, Aug. 1st, at the Library Museum

This Friday, August 1, 2014, Seward Community Library Association, Friends of the Seward Library, will have available for viewing a group of original oil paintings from the Viola Swetmann collection. Viola and her husband were very early pioneers, business persons and philanthropists who helped with the creation and perpetuation of what is our public Library today.

The SCLA, or Friends of the Seward Library, have been reviewing the collection, and with the help of local artist and art restorer Kerry Cline* www.softlysilk.com, have been dusting off and preparing the collection to be back up on the walls of the new Library Museum and other City offices.

This Friday’s selections reflect historical interest to the community. Six original oil paintings are placed on the walls of the entry hall and are ready for public viewing, many have been put away in storage for many years.

The collection pieces ready for viewing include the items below, more information will be available about the artists at the Library Museum during the 6pm to 8pm time of the First Friday Art Walk. Located at 239 6th Avenue, doors will be open 6pm to 8pm.

S. Urie, two untitled original oils, 1960.

Sidney (Sid) Urie was a local business man who took up painting as a hobby. Born in the radio station outside of Seward April 15, 1927. After graduating from Seward High and enlistment in the Navy, returned to Seward in the 1950’s. Note: The family had Solly’s lounge in Seward and later opened another Solly’s in Kodiak, AK.

Urie-untitled-1960

Jules Dahlager, Original Oil, Winter Trees, 1929

Born in the Dakota Territory in 1884, he worked as a cartoonist and newspaper man in Washington State before moving to Alaska. He began to paint with no formal training using palette knives and his work became know and instantly recognizable for this. He became well know through out Alaska for his work.

Margaret “Jackie” Deck, Original Oil, Early Morning Ebb, circa 1950

Margaret “Jackie” Deck served as Seward’s Librarian from 1962 to 1989 upon her retirement. This painting was a part of the 15th Annual Fur Rendezvous Juried Exhibit.



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J Deck-1960


Harold Smith, original Oil, Mt Alice, 1961

Harold E. ‘Bud” Smith was a local teacher and artist. Born in Iowa and coming to Alaska in 1951 for a summer working on a tugboat and later returned in 1957 to teach. Smith taught grades 1-12 in Seward. This painting won a blue ribbon in the Fur Rendezvous Juried Art Exhibition. His work won many local regional awards.

Smith-Mt Alice-1960


Jan Van Empel, original oil, untitled, 1925

Alaska’s first modernist style painter, Jan Van Empel (from Amsterdam) arrived to Alaska in 1924 and began painting modernist scenes of the coast around Resurrection Bay and the town. In 1925, he was commissioned to paint a Reredos (Altarpiece or decoration behind the altar in a church) mural in Seward’s St. Peter’s church.

*Friends of the Seward Library would like to Thank Kerry Cline for the many volunteer hours put into the Swetmann collection to help prepare these pieces for display.

More information about the Friends of the Seward Library is available at our website: www.friendsofsclm.org

Photo’s by SCLA

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