Donald Varnell

301 Stedman St.
, Alaska

(907) 617-6230

Donald Varnell, Ketchikan artist, studied visual arts at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks where he was introduced and studied under Aleut Master-Artist Alvin Amason. He has worked and apprenticed under Tlingit Master-Carver Nathan Jackson, as well as Haida Master-Carver Reggie Davidson. Donald is a proficient cedar bark weaver, having studied under Haida master-weavers Holly Churchill, his aunt, and Delores Churchill, his grandmother. Varnell believes the tools given to him by his mentors, friends, employers, books, film, and music have contributed to his ongoing autodidact apprenticeship.

Donald has created works in a variety of mediums that are displayed in museums and private collections, publications worldwide. He is an instructor for the Native Arts Studies Programs throughout the State of Alaska. Additionally he has been awarded numerous Percent for Art nationwide. Most recently Varnell received several artist awards including the Rasmuson Foundation Mid-Career Fellowship, he was the first Alaskan to receive the prestigious Joan Mitchell unlimited Fellowship, and was included in the August of 2015 Alaska Magazine featuring Alaska’s Master Carvers including Nathan Jackson, and Israel Shotridge. In October 2015, Varnell was selected for a residency by the Smithsonian Institute to study and critique their collection of SE Alaskan Native artifacts at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.

Donald was honored to be alongside his grandmother, Delores Churchill, as the keynote speakers at the 2015 Alaskan Federation of Natives Conference in Anchorage.

Traditional Arts, Visual Arts

Mixed Media, Northwest Coast, Wood