By MIKE DUNHAM
Barry McWayne died in Anchorage, after a brief stay at a local hospital, also on Sunday. He was 67. The exact nature of his illness has not yet been determined.
Hankering to photographer “beautiful scenery and old junk,” Chicago-born McWayne came to Alaska from California in 1968. In 1970 he began his long career with the University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks, originally making photographs for the institution’s research collections, exhibitions, and publications. He started the museum’s Permanent Collection of Fine Art Photography and became the curator for all of the museum’s fine art collections.
At the same time he actively pursued his fine art photography, with over 150 exhibitions of his work. He taught, curated numerous shows, received many important awards, served on the boards of organizations ranging from the Fairbanks Arts Association to the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra (his wife, Dorli, is principal flutist with that ensemble.)
In 2000 the McWaynes did something most artists wish they could do, but never have the chance to: They made a $200,000 donation to the expansion program for the Museum of the North.
“I’ve invested for a long time — and well — and decided it’s time to put something back into a place that I know does an extremely good job,” he told the Daily News.
He retired from the museum in 2007, but maintained a busy schedule. At the time of his death, his website listed half-a-dozen upcoming photo exhibits in which he was involved. A memorial tribute to him will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 15, in Charles W. Davis Concert Hall at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Fellow photographer Dennis Witmer has set up a beautiful memorial site to McWayne at denniswitmer.wordpress.com.
An obituary has also appeared on the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner website at www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsminer/obituary.aspx?n=barry-j-mcwayne&pid=144614662.