MAT-SU—Salmon passage is featured in the 2013 poster for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Artist Ruth Hulbert was selected to portray the significance of MAT-SU salmon fisheries to MAT-SU residents.
Hulbert’s work captures how salmon are a part of our economy, our childhood, our dinner table, our celebrations, and even under our roadways. Her original work, in charcoal & pastel pencils and carbon dust on toned paper, is full of surprises.
The composition is of several vignettes interlaced with lines representing roads and streams—fish symbolically woven into the fabric of daily life.
“I'd never done Celtic-style knotwork before, and now have a new respect for medieval illuminators,” Hulbert said. “Once that fell into place, though, it started working just how I'd hoped it would.”
Hulbert was born and raised in Palmer, with summers spent at fish camp on Cook Inlet. She received her Bachelor of Arts in biology and painting at Western Washington University, and was also mentored in drawing and dipnetting by Brad Hughes of Homer. She has participated in stream counts of spawning salmon with her father, Ralph, and presented their findings at the MAT-SU Salmon Symposium. She painted the Alaska State Fair posters in 2007 and 2009, and a portrait of Fred and Sara Machetanz for Machetanz Elementary School in 2011. Some of her salmon-related artworks are available as prints from Madd Matters Gallery in Palmer. Currently she is in Seattle, pursuing a certificate in natural science illustration from the University of Washington. As part of the $1,500 award to Hulbert, the Borough is granted the non-exclusive rights to print and publish posters online.
Since 2009, the Borough has produced a poster with local artists to highlight Borough priority projects. The framed works are given in Juneau to local Legislators to remind them of the importance of the project. This year the Borough Assembly asked for $2.5 million in State appropriations for fisheries. Among the requests: to fund culverts for fish passage and to fund research & analysis to help restore dwindling escapements.
Proceeds of poster sales go toward next year’s printing costs. Posters are $20, available in the Public Affairs office at 350 E. Dahlia Ave, Palmer, and at Madd Matters Gallery in Palmer.