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ASD Recognizes Dr. Wood Most Outstanding Fine Arts Senior and Exemplary Artist for 2021

student artists

Exemplary Artist Farrah Phillips (left) stands next to a portrait of ASD's Dr. Wood Most Outstanding Fine Arts Senior (MOFAS) Alex Westervelt. The portrait, created by Phillips, was unveiled at a small ceremony honoring both artists at the ASD Education Center Monday, May 3, 2020. (Louis Velasco/ASD)


Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop and ASD Fine Arts Department leaders hosted School Board members, family, and friends during an award announcement for the annual Dr. Wood Most Outstanding Fine Arts Senior (MOFAS) and ASD Exemplary Artist. A portrait of the MOFAS created by the exemplary artist was unveiled during a small ceremony in the Education Center honoring both students on Monday, May 3. 

Before the official unveiling, Bishop announced that the MOFAS award would bear the name of Fine Arts Director Dr. Bruce Wood, to commend his tireless efforts and contributions to the District's fine arts program.

This year, the awards combine the talents of musician Alex Westervelt and oil-painter Farrah Phillips. Phillips and Westervelt were applauded for their fine arts performance and creativity at ASD.

MOFAS Alex Westervelt will graduate this spring from West Anchorage High School. Westervelt has performed at numerous venues throughout Anchorage with the Anchorage Civic Orchestra and Anchorage Youth Orchestra. His performance background has included small and large ensembles with genres from baroque to jazz.

While the flute is Westervelt’s primary instrument, he has performed with different instruments such as the saxophone, clarinet, piccolo and piano. Westervelt views music as a magical gateway to world and a learning journey. “[It’s] an adventure in which perseverance becomes an opening to all kinds of experiences and possibilities.”

Westervelt's goal is to continue developing as a performer and ultimately complete a doctoral program in music education – a path attributed to his teachers and mentors for inspiring his creativity and passion for music. “I have my teachers to thank for helping me pursue different opportunities and I want to be able to pass on their lessons and inspire others to find their own passion for music.”


Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop welcomes guests during the annual award ceremony for students Farrah Phillips (left) and Alex Westervelt (right) at the Education Center on May 3, 2020. 

Exemplary Artist Farrah Phillips will graduate this spring from Eagle River High School. Philips started high school in Montgomery, AL, but relocated to Alaska for her senior year due to her father’s military service and permanent change of station to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK.

Art is an important part and cherished part of Phillips’ life. As a military child and teenager, her life was always on the move, but her love of art remained constant. “Having the ability to express my emotions and visually impact others is a tremendous blessing that I try to not take for granted,” she said. Art has taught Phillips to see the world in a new perspective that looks for beauty in the average and overlooked parts of life. “My goal in art is to visually capture this adoration I feel.”

Phillips' passion for impacting others with art and strengthening community bonds was especially notable during her year at ERHS – where she designed the ERHS senior class shirt and serves as a student leader in the ACF Church Youth Group.

Love of life will continue to be her strongest inspiration after graduation. “Showing my love for humanity through my art is a great motivation of mine. I hope to continue to use my art for that purpose for years to come.”