The Project

To open the new revitalized trails at Meals Hill, Alaska Community Foundation (ACF) is working in partnership with The Port Valdez Company (PVC) and the City of Valdez to develop a public art installation entitled Valdez Rising – Suacit [The People From The Place That Rises Into View]. We have worked with the City of Valdez and community leaders, including Anna Bateman, the local tribal administrator, in a competitive selection design process to construct a public art experience that will highlight the history of the Community of Valdez, and the connection between its residents and the future.

The city has approved in concept this art installation at the Hazelet Avenue entrance of the new public parkland called Meals Hill, named after one of the community’s founders, Andrew Jackson Meals and his family. He, along with long time partner during the 1898 Gold Rush George Cheever Hazelet and their Native Alaskan trail guide, Tl’adets, will be commemorated in a portion of this sculpture to depict the strength, resiliency, and neighborly cooperation that the City of Valdez embodies.

Thus, the title Valdez Rising – Suacit [The People From the Place That Rises Into View] will commemorate the resilience of partnerships these three men and many like them represent and was so prevalent through the town’s many historical crises. Especially the historical transition from “Old Town” to “New Town” after the Good Friday Earthquake and tsunami in 1964 when descendants of these two founders came together to form a company called The Port Valdez Company to donate land so the Community of Valdez could rebuild and thrive again. 

Additionally, it will connect to the current town activities via interactive website links, inspiring future generations with the Valdez Rising – Suacit spirit for collaboration and strength.

The Art Planning Process for Meals Hill

As the gateway to the entrance to the newly developed trails on Meals Hill, a new public art installation is planned to imbue the history, culture, and future of the city. In partnership with Valdez, the PVC gathered a search committee comprised of local leaders under the consultation of CODAworx, a global art agency that facilitates commissioned artwork. In the RFP process, PVC encouraged artists to submit project proposals and designs that would recognize the spirit of the partnership of Hazelet and Meals, which was instrumental in the founding of both Valdez and Cordova, Alaska. They also wanted the art commission to embody this collaborative spirit as it extended to many other Alaskan partnerships that ushered the Alaskan Territory into statehood. During the transfer of PVC’s Meals Hill property to the community of Valdez, PVC solidified its resolution to protect this property through a land conservation easement. Additionally, PVC committed to Valdez, Great Land Trust, EVOS, and the State of Alaska to commission an art installation that tied its community and history together.

Design Selection Process

To ensure this commitment was successful, the selection committee included:

Anna Bateman
The Valdez Tribal Administrator

Meredith Noble
a local business owner
Founder and CEO of SenecaWorks
Founder of the Global Grant Writing Collective

Maggie Nylund, a local business owner
Magpies and Far North Folies

Patty Relay
Executive Director of the Valdez Museum

Rhonda Wegner Taylor
Valdez Artist and Gallery owner, The Painted Moose
Executive Director of SWAN (Sound Wellness Alliance Network)

Nick Farline
Former Recreation & Cultural Services Director of the City of Valdez

John Clark
President of The Port Valdez Company

There were 78 applications submitted to CODAworx from our RFP process and included both teams and individual artists from all over the world. However, zero applicants were based in Alaska. When our team saw that our search did not include local artists, we contacted Andrea Noble, the Executive Director for the Alaska State Council on the Arts. She connected us with the Community Arts Program Director, Charlie Sears, to post our RFP to their network of artists. While our efforts did not result in contracting an Alaskan artist directly, we did find an experienced team of artists in Seattle at the Classic Foundry.

Any amount of donation is welcomed.  $25, $50, $100, $250, $500 or other.
Your support is very much appreciated. This public art experience will be magical and one to come see!

“Certainly, they can have the land. It’s a gift to the citizens of Valdez. I believe Valdez can come back–if we keep politics out of the decisions. The spirit here is good so far, but this town needs help–the kind of help the government hands out all the time to Europe and Asia. If we don’t get it, most of the people here will have to gather up what few assets they have and call it a day.” 
 ~ Owen Meals, April 1964

Socialize with Valdez Rising