Legacy of Love

The Festival's Board created this Fund to honor Jo for all she has done in establishing the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. The Fund is invested as an Operating Reserves Savings Account. It will be used when the market is such that there may be little or no distributions from the Festival's Endowment Accounts.


For a list of current Legacy donors, please visit our donor listing.


Jo and Mike
Mike Powers, Honorary Chair, the Legacy of Love Fund, with Jo Ryman Scott, Founder and Director Emerita, Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.

It is a privilege to serve as the Honorary Chair of the Festival's Legacy of Love Fund to honor Jo Ryman Scott.

A champion-extraordinaire of the arts, Jo has fostered the development of our community's commitment to artistic expressions. She has a deep-rooted dedication to Fairbanks and to the arts. Over the years, she has inspired thousands of curious students, fortunate citizens, wandering visitors, and classically-trained artists to passionately pursue artistic excellence, expression and appreciation. She has raised the quality of life for people in our local community as well as many people throughout Alaska and the United States.

I can think of no finer tribute to Jo than to help ensure that the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival will endure well into the 21st century to be experienced by the next generation of students, citizens, visitors and artists.

—Mike Powers, CEO, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital


If you wish to contribute to the Legacy Fund, you may do so right here with your credit card. You could also download a form which can be printed and mailed to us with a check or credit card number.




Jo turns 88 in April! She is known as a passionate educator, and this marks her 70th year in the teaching field.

She grew up on a farm in South Dakota. Her first teaching experience was at Wright School—a charming one-room country school about 14 miles south of Aberdeen. She cherishes the memories of her three years teaching the wonderful children there—plus carrying water every day, starting the fires on cold winter mornings, being the janitor and playing outdoor games with the kids at noon and recess! Jo credits those years as being the spring-board for developing the courage and stamina to go on to get her college degree—something many farm girls didn't do in those days.

She graduated from San Jose State in 1953 and decided to go to Alaska to teach rather than go to Venezuela—as some of her friends were doing. She accepted a teaching position in Fairbanks primarily because at that time, Fairbanks was the only community in Alaska that had the University. The choice was a good one for her because she met Dick Scott, and this year they are celebrating their 56th wedding anniversary!

Jo has always had creative ideas for youth. In addition to teaching in the public schools in Fairbanks, she founded Fairbanks' first educational pre-school (1962) and a junior high fine arts camp (1976) held in the Scott's yard.

Then in 1980, Jo realized her dream of establishing a study-performance arts festival in Fairbanks. She called on her friend, Eddie Madden (Boston) who knew the talented musicians to invite and the classes and concerts to offer. This event came to be known as the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival which is produced in partnership with the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Jo has received many honors. To name a few: Two Governor's Awards for the Arts; an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks; and this year, she will be inducted into the Alaska Women's Hall of Fame.

She retired in 2009 after 30 successful seasons of producing the Festival. The Festival board has designated Jo as Founder and Director Emerita. She is happy to help her long-time friend, Terese Kaptur in any way she can as Terese leads the Festival onward with her own creative ideas.


When did you know Jo Ryman Scott?

  1. September 1947–May, 1950:
    When she was a beginning teacher at Wright School, a one-room country school house in Brown County, South Dakota (about 14 miles from Aberdeen).
  2. September 1950–August 1952:
    During her first two years of college at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion.
  3. September 1952–May 1953:
    When she studied at San Jose State in California.
  4. September 1953–May 1956:
    When she was an elementary school music teacher at the then ‘new’ Denali elementary, Fairbanks, Alaska.
  5. November 1956–May 1957:
    When she was a long-term substitute English teacher at the then ‘new’ Lathrop High School.
  6. January 1958:
    When she was a substitute first grade teacher at Denali Elementary.
  7. September 1958–May 1959:
    When she was first a music teacher then a fourth grade teacher at the ‘new’ University Park school.
  8. January, 1961:
    When she was a kindergarten teacher at Hunter Elementary.
  9. September 1962–May 1968:
    When she founded Fairbanks' first educational pre-school, Jo Scott's Musical Nursery School.
  10. March-May, 1969:
    When she taught at University Park Elementary.
  11. September 1969–May 1970:
    When she taught general music at University Park Elementary.
  12. September 1971–May 1974:
    When she taught kindergarten at Denali Elementary.

Retired from Fairbanks Public Schools in May, 1974.

  1. Summers of 1976–1983:
    When she established a youth camp in the Scott's yard on College Road. Originating with grades 3, 4, 5, Jo Scott's Jr. High Fine Arts Camp moved up a grade each succeeding year to include grades 7, 8 and 9.
  2. April 1980:
    When, with Eddie Madden of Boston, she founded Jazz Festival '80 on the UAF campus and at several local high schools.
  3. July 1981–August 2009:
    When she founded and produced the Jazz to Classics Festival in 1981, renaming it the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in 1982.
  4. Over the years:
    In any other of her many overlapping roles to include but not be limited to: friend, relative, mother, community volunteer, musician, hostess, honoree, visionary....



To get into contact with Jo, please email her at dickandjoscott@gmail.com.



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