Story last updated at 3:36 p.m. Thursday, October 9, 2003
Bushell granted Humanities 'Muse' award
by Michael Armstrong
|Homer writer Sharon Bushell will receive the Governor's Alaskan Muse Award
at a ceremony this month in Anchorage, the Alaska State Council on the Arts
has announced. Bushell is one of 12 individuals or organizations to receive
a 2003 Governor's Award for the Arts and Humanities.
Bushell receives the award for her "We Alaskans" collections of life stories told to her by older Alaskans. The second volume of "We Alaskans" was published last month. The Anchorage Daily News has also been publishing the stories each Sunday.
"These are really rich stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things," said Joy Atrops-Kimura, development director for the Alaska Humanities Forum.
In a letter to Bushell, Ira Perman, president of the Alaska Humanities Forum, wrote, "This award honors individuals who have demonstrably broadened the public's thinking and have helped to advance the humanities through scholarship and the application of visionary ideas in Alaska. With this award, you join a select and committed group of individuals who understand the positive value that the humanities have in our lives."
The Alaskan Muse Award was formerly known as the Distinguished Humanities Educator Award, said Atrops-Kimura. Stephen Haycox, a history professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage, also received the Alaskan Muse Award. Candidates for the Arts and Humanities Awards were nominated by individuals or organizations from across Alaska. Atrops-Kimura said the review committee received about 10 nominations for the Alaskan Muse Award. Committees from the Alaska Humanities Forum and the Alaska State Council on the Arts reviewed the humanities and arts nominees, and forwarded their recommendations to the governor for his final decision.
Sharon Bushell stands with Frank Reed, one of the subjects
Bushell with Midge Andresen, another ¯We Alaskans˜ subject.
Bushell moved to Alaska in 1977 and lives in Homer with her husband
John Bushell, a musician and teacher. She began interviewing long-time
Alaskans several years ago. The first two volumes of "We Alaskans"
include 49 interviews each.
Her best stories come from the people she interviews. When
she interviewed Lyle West, a Homer man who lived in Fairbanks for 40 years,
she asked him, "Who's the most interesting old guy in Fairbanks?"
West mentioned Bill Stroeker, and she's been trying to set up an interview
with him. Bushell said a lot of her interviewees have lived all over the
state, so it's not uncommon for her interviewees to know people in other
communities. Her column in the Anchorage Daily News also brings her interview
ideas. People write Bushell and suggest a relative or friend."There's
no lack of good subjects," Bushell said. "There aren't any really
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