Next month, a Delaware art student studying in Cleveland will host an exhibition of her art focused on her time working at a cannery last summer.
Alison Alsup, a Hayes High School alum, is a junior studying painting and drawing at the Cleveland Institute of Art. She and a fellow junior at the school, Ronald Jackson III, will have their exhibit, “Alaska: Working in Bristol Bay,” displayed at Current, an art gallery located inside 78th Street Studios at 1300 W. 78th St. in Cleveland. The exhibit will be on display April 1-30.
Alsup said the gallery is art focused on the time the two students spent working at cannery facilities in Bristol Bay, Alaska, last year.
“I decided to study abroad last semester, and I realized that studying abroad requires a lot of money that I don’t have,” Alsup said. “I researched summer jobs that make a lot of money and found out that in Alaska, the salmon canneries and the salmon industry up there pays a lot of money for seasonal workers. So I applied to work at a cannery there to make quick money so I could study abroad.”
Alsup said she worked in Alaska from June 20 to July 20, and she ended up being surprised by her experience.
“I only expected to go to Alaska to work some crummy 16-hour shifts and leave, but it was a lot different than that,” Alsup said. “There were a lot of unexpected people I met and scenery I got to observe. I didn’t really have any expectations for the people I’d be surrounded by, but I think 98% of my coworkers were family units from Mexico, which I didn’t expect at all. I was surrounded by a lot of Mexican culture in Alaska, which I thought was really funny.”
Alsup added that when school began in the fall of 2021, she spoke with Jackson, who worked at a different cannery during the same summer, and they agreed that their experiences in Alaska would make a good subject for an exhibition.
“We both have different experiences but they’re equally interesting,” Alsup said, adding they submitted plans for the gallery in October and were approved in December.
Alsup is looking forward to the opening reception and is hopeful some Delaware residents will make the trip to see the exhibit.
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people through the exhibition,” she said. “It’s been a big project. I’m welcoming the city of Delaware to come see it. I know it’s two hours away but I always felt encouraged to pursue the arts in Delaware, so I just wanted to reach out to the city and thank everyone for the support.”
The opening reception will be from 6 to 10 p.m. April 1, and the closing reception will take place from 2 to 10 p.m. April 30. Public hours are Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The exhibit is part of the Cleveland Institute of Art Creativity Works program, which is supported by the Fenn Educational Fund and the G.R. Lincoln Family Foundation.
More information about Alsup’s exhibition can be found on her Instagram page at instagram.com/a.j.alsup/.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.