David Rosenthal poses in front of his paintings on the HeART wall at the Reluctant Fisherman restaurant. Photo courtesy of Natasha Casciano

The Cordova Trail and Covered Spaces fundraising campaign kicked off this week with an art show opening Tuesday night and events planned in conjunction with the Copper River Shorebird Festival through this weekend.

Organizers of the project hope to raise $30,000 over their fundraising kick during May and June through events and donations. Funds will go toward creating covered spaces for community members to enjoy while recreating.

“I really think that this project is a very valuable project for Cordova,” said Natasha Casciano, one of the founders of the project. “Different covered spaces have been proposed in the past, but for one reason or another either they haven’t been built or the ones that we have had have gone away.”

Casciano is optimistic they will meet their goal and was positive about the turnout and involvement of one of the first events.

Tuesday night the fundraising kicked off with the unveiling of an art show on the HeART wall at the Reluctant Fisherman restaurant. Over the next two months, art fans and aficionados can purchase local artist David Rosenthal’s paintings and water colors. Several paintings have already been sold.

Half of the proceeds will go to the artists and the other half will support the project, said Casciano. Each show will last around two months, with the new shows opening near the beginning of the month.


The HeART wall was created to showcase local artistic talent, and the Reluctant Fisherman has recently revitalized it.

In July the HeART wall will feature art from Emily Rubio, and work from Paula Payne will adorn the wall starting early September. Featured artists in 2024 include Shulamite Reese in February and Milo Burcham in April.

On Saturday, community members can strap on their running shoes and take part in the second annual Bay to Bay in May event. The outdoor event begins at Hartney Bay and ends at the Orca Adventure Lodge, following the main route for The Cordova Trail and Covered Spaces Project. The entry fee is a suggested minimum donation of $5, which will be donated to The Cordova Trail and Covered Spaces Project.

Casciano said the goal is to get people active and moving, while enjoying the area’s beautiful scenery.

Participants can run, walk, or bike the 9.1-mile, all-ages event. Participants can either run the entire 9.1 miles (not as a relay), or bike 6.1 miles then walk 3 miles. Prizes including Copper River fleece jackets are available.

People can register at the Bidarki Rec Center and on the day of the event. For more information call 907-424-7282.

The event was created by Dr. Paul Gloe, and is supported by the Cordova Community Medical Center, AC, Cordova Gear, Orca Adventure Lodge, and City of Cordova Parks and Recreation.

Also this weekend, the project will be represented at the Copper River Shorebird festival, when visual artist and nature writer John Muir Laws will speak about birding, nature journaling, and the Cordova Covered Spaces Project. The project will also be represented by an informational table where volunteers will gather donations and educate community members.

These fundraising opportunities connect to the motivations behind the project, Casciano said. She said the planned covered spaces would be great for mental health, physical activity, and creating opportunities for art and education.

“Because we live in a beautiful environment, but it can also be a very wet environment, an opportunity for people to enjoy being outdoors and being able to get undercover is really important for many reasons,” Casciano said.

Casciano said the group has been communicating about fundraising with the Rasmuson foundation, the Alaska Community Foundation, and the Cordova Community Foundation. They learned that in order to get the maximum benefit when applying for grants, they need to demonstrate community support and donations. They can leverage these funds through the grant process.