The Ketchikan art scene is one of Alaska's liveliest, thanks in part to the Ketchikan Arts and Humanities Council, whose helpful staff operates the Main Street Gallery, at 330 Main St. (www.ketchikanarts.org). Shows change monthly.
Starting from Main and turning toward the mountains on Mission, here's a walk to take you to the best locally owned galleries in Ketchikan. Your first stop is for treats. Orca Corn, 305 Mission, has sweets and kettle corn. Ketchicandies is at 315 Mission, with handmade chocolates. Across the street, Scanlon's Gallery, 318 Mission, is the city's oldest gallery, carrying crafts and fine arts. Continue on to 605 Mission for the charming Forget-Me-Not Sweater Shop, which carries imported woolens from around the world, and then head next door to 607 Mission to Crazy Wolf Studio, where Tsimshians artist Ken Decker shows his work.
Join the pedestrian boardwalk of Creek Street. Our favorite stops are in the building at 5 Creek St., where Alaska's leading fish-obsessed artist, Ray Troll, has his small gallery, Soho Coho. It's worth a visit even if you aren't a shopper. The gallery shows Troll's own work and that of other Ketchikan artists from the same school of surreal rainforest humor. The gallery is open summer daily from 9am to 6pm, winter Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5:30pm; you can also order at tel. 800/888-4070. Upstairs in the same building, Parnassus Books is a crowded browsers' paradise with a broad range of books, including many on local themes. Continuing down Creek Street, you'll find many other busy shops of varying levels of quality. Don't miss Norman Jackson's Carver on the Creek gallery, at 28 Creek St.
Creek Street meets Stedman at the Stedman Street Bridge. Turn left. Ketchikan Dry Goods, 219 Stedman, has handmade silver and beadwork jewelry and gift items, much of it made by local people. Chinook and Company, 307 Stedman, carries smoked salmon and Pacific Northwest clothing.
Note: Ketchikan is a shopping and art destination, but if you want something authentically Alaskan, you have to be careful.
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