Submitted by Tacoma Art Museum
Celebrate the diversity of Native American cultures at Tacoma Art Museum on Sunday, May 17, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Take part in this lively day of dancing, singing, action and art-making for all ages. The number of vendors and artists has more than doubled from last year, as TAM welcomes locally and nationally renowned Native artists into the museum’s newly expanded building. Highlights include an art market, a contemporary fashion show, and cultural dances and songs. TAM is offering free admission all day.
Doors open at 10:00 a.m., and the celebration officially begins with a blessing by Connie McCloud of the Puyallup Tribe at 10:45 a.m., followed by the Chief Leschi School dancers and the music of Eagle’s Jump at 12:30 p.m. The art market is open throughout the day in TAM’s lobby and atrium; see the fashion show at 3:00 p.m. The TAM Cafe is open all day with food and drink.
All artists, vendors, performers, designers, and models at the event will be Native American, representing tribes from across the country. “The festival is diverse on multiple levels. Both established and emerging artists are participating; artists are of all ages, from a wide range of tribes, and will bring creative wares from fine art to fashion to tech accessories,” says Britt Board, TAM’s Community Engagement Manager.
The Northwest Native Celebration has clear connections to TAM’s current exhibitions and permanent collection, inspiring an interesting dialogue across the museum. The event also includes interactive performance art, new this year, taking place in the Haub Family Galleries in direct response to the Haub Family Collection. Performance artist Wendy Red Star (Crow), working with her 7-year-old daughter, will lead an audience-participation experience at 2:00 p.m., addressing themes of misrepresentation and romanticism in western American art. Wendy’s art is currently on view in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Plains Indians exhibition, and two paintings by her uncle, Kevin Red Star, are among the works in TAM’s Art of the American West.
“We’re excited about the opportunity for visitors to take part in Wendy Red Star’s performance and learn about Native American representation in art,” says Asia Tail (Cherokee), Education Assistant at Tacoma Art Museum. “The art market is another opportunity to learn from and support local Native artists, with all proceeds going directly to them. We’re staging one of the few all-Native fashion shows in this region, with designers presenting a range of styles and inspirations.”
In the TAM Studio, Seattle multimedia artist Ryan Feddersen will invite visitors to collaborate and color large panels telling the story of the mischievous Coyote. Ryan is the niece of Joe Feddersen, whose works are in TAM’s permanent collection; his glass basket is on view in the lobby. Visit the top floor for Potlatch Fund and artist Robert Upham’s art activity. Potlatch Fund is a nonprofit organization providing grants and leadership training for artists.
Samantha Kelly, TAM’s Director of Education, adds, “The growth in the festival is testament to the relationships that the museum has cultivated with Native communities and artists. We welcome everyone to come and take part. It’s an opportunity for all of us to bridge cultures through art.”