About Jona Van Zyle
Although born in Ohio, Jona Van Zyle has always been an Alaskan at heart, and a full time resident since 1998. Her longtime love of wildlife and sled dogs has greatly influenced all the facets of her art life.
From 1985-1997, Jona was the assistant curator of the Balto Sled Dog exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Ohio. Cleveland is the home of Balto, the lead dog from the last relay team of the 1925 Serum Run. She continued that work with the Anchorage Museum of History and Art for several years.
With nearly 30 years experience working with huskies, she has written and illustrated many articles about dog history and training for such publications as Mushing Magazine.
Jona's art background includes studies at Kent State University, The Cleveland Institute of Art, and a year in Arizona apprenticed to architect Paolo Soleri.
Her interest include ceramics, metal casting, and graphic design. Jona's many years working as a sailmaker in Ohio and New York designing and sewing large custom spinnaker sails honed her sewing interest and skills.
In 1999 Jona's textile works were exhibited in Alaska's prestigious Earth, Fire and Fiber competition. Her Dog Trainers' Jacket and Mukluks won juror's award and toured the state.
Jona's Raven design was chosen as the 2000, 65th Anniversary, Anchorage Fur Rendezvous logo. She has been designing the Junior Iditarod's fundraising annual Birchwood buttons since 1999, and continues to do so.
In 2001 both Jon and Jona had a joint exhibition in Stäfa, Switzerland and were the invited artists at Deutsches Röntgen Museum in Remscheid, Germany.
2003, Jon and Jona were invited participants in Anchorage's inaugural Wild Salmon on Parade, as well as a joint exhibition in Zürich, Switzerland.
2004 was a big year. Jona designed the 2004 Official Iditarod Race Cachet Envelope carried by each musher from Anchorage to Nome. Also, Jona and Jon were the first husband and wife team chosen as artist-inresidence at Denali national Park and Preserve.
2005, Jona and Jon returned to Switzerland for joint exhibitions in Rüti and Chur during the month of October.
In 2006, Jona mentored Girl Scout Troop 771 with their mural project for camp Togowoods. She and Jon completed mural projects for the Athabascan village of Ruby and were the artist-in-residence at the Wrangell/St. Elias National park and Preserve.
2007, was a busy year, Jona completed a coloring/field notes children's book for Wrangell/St. Elias Park and Preserve. She was also chosen to create an ornament for the White House Christmas tree. She and Jon attended the premier White House Christmas party as guests of the First Lady. Jona continues to enjoy beading and working with salmon skin and smoke-tanned mooshide creating unique necklaces, clothing and containers that carry the Alaskan spirit and mystique.
2008, Jona updated her sold out book Iditarod Memories for reprinting. It was also an exhibition year in Switzerland with a 3 week show in Stäfa. Mid May through September is busily filled with hosting tour groups to their home.
Jona lives near Eagle River with her husband Jon and their kennel of happy huskies.