Stan Bevan – a lifetime as a master carver

Photo: Stan Bevan, 2021 Award of Distinction, Fulmer Award in First Nations Art

“As an artist you’re just touching the surface of everything that’s out there to understand. You’re learning from each piece, trying to bring out the power of not only the old, but the innovation of yourself.” 

Stan Bevan’s understated demeanor easily hides the impressive accomplishments of his forty years as a carver of masks, totem poles and woodcuts. Presented with the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art in 2011, ten years later his lifetime of achievement was highlighted when he received the Award of Distinction designation. The distinction is presented annually to an established artist in recognition of extraordinary and sustained accomplishment in First Nations Art in BC. As part of this elite group of artists, Stan has helped ensure that BC is a place filled with astonishing craft, with unique and immensely expressive power and continuous wonder. 

Born in Terrace, BC, Stan was raised by his Tahltan-Tlingit mother and his Tsimshian father. He began his formal training at the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art after which he completed an extensive apprenticeship with his uncle, Dempsey Bob, a master artist who helped revive northwest coast art and is the inaugural recipient of the Fulmer Award of Distinction designation.

“My uncle would help me understand what direction I wanted to bring my art in, developing my own individual style.” 

In the decades that followed his training, Stan committed to being a full-time artist and created substantial projects that solidified his expertise, superbly innovative design and his impeccable attention to detail.  

Photo: 2021 Award of Distinction, Stan Bevan

One of Stan’s most significant projects has been the design and creation of the artwork at the Kitselas Cultural and Interpretation Centre at the Kitselas Canyon National Historic site.  

“I was able to bring back a pole that had history and also create my own version of the story as a place where children and elders gather and take pride in who they are because they can identify themselves through the art in their community.” 

Instrumental in the creation of the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art in Terrace, Stan is committed to passing on his highly valued knowledge to others. As the head instructor/program coordinator Stan leads the program management and curriculum delivery while overseeing numerous initiatives such as a visiting artist program and creating an international educational network. 

“Teaching has become an important part of my art. To see some of the students that I work with go on and become practicing artists, it’s satisfying.” 

A highly respected member of his community, Stan’s longevity as a First Nations artist has come from the tutelage of his elders, commitment to his practice, and the teaching of his art to younger generations. He’s aware that there’s still much to learn. 

“Being able to have these relationships with other people in the art world grows you as an artist. It’s the exchange of ideas that’s helping evolve the art.” 

Stan has produced an impressive body of work and is credited with bringing about a revival of Tlingit art and design. Not one to seek accolades, Stan Bevan gracefully sums up his thoughts on receiving the Award of Distinction, Fulmer Award in First Nations Art. 

“I’m honoured to be recognized for this year’s BC Achievement Foundation Award of Distinction. I feel it acknowledges and encourages the positive direction in the progression of the art here in the north.” 

And selflessly he shares that “it is important to recognize excellence to set standards and inspire the next generation.” 

Thank you for sharing your journey and inspiring artists who are finding their own path. 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.    

Stan Bevan, AOD

Stan Bevan (b.1961) is an established Northwest Coast Artist recognized for his superbly innovative design and his impeccable attention to detail. Born in Terrace, BC, Stan was raised in the nearby village of Kitselas on the Skeena River. He is Tahltan-Tlingit through his mother’s side and her home village is…

Stan Bevan, AOD's Profile

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