U.Va. Art Museum Offers Special Family Cultural Festival — 'Celebrating Native American Heritage'

April 23, 2007

April 19, 2007 -- On Saturday, May 5, from 1 to 4 p.m., the University of Virginia Art Museum will offer "Cultural Festival: Celebrating Native American Heritage," which complements the museum's special exhibition "Collecting Heritage:  Native American Art at the Museum," on view through June 24.

As Virginia explores its cultural heritage through the various events celebrating the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, the special exhibition takes a broader look at particular moments in the cultural history of our country’s native peoples. Highlights from the Astor, Rucker and Blair collections, the three main Native American collections owned by the museum, are presented together to describe the artistic production of native peoples in the early 20th century. Works by contemporary artists of Native American heritage are also featured in the exhibition, including pieces by Kay WalkingStick, Rose Powhatan, George Morrison, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and Ramonia Sakiestewa.

During the festival, children and their families will investigate the Native American exhibition through scavenger hunts and guided tours. They will also look at both the traditional art forms and the contemporary art works. Participants will also have the opportunity to meet and talk with the following artists, artisans and performers at the festival:

• Nationally recognized, Baltimore-based musician Jan Seiden will give a performance and presentation entitled "Native American Flutes: Music, Mystery and History." Her tribal affiliation is Children of the First People, Wind Clan, Cherokee at Indians Rock. Her website is www.janseiden.com.

•  Chief Bluewolf (Cherokee and Oglala Sioux) of the Children of the First People, Wind Clan, Cherokee at Indians Rock and his spouse, Spirit Hawk, friends of Seidan, will speak with the public about Native heritage. They will be dressed in traditional regalia for the festival.

•  Samuel Running Deer McGowan, artisan, Mattaponi tribal member/historian and Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Outreach Instructor will conduct demonstrations of basket making and rope making. He will also display bone tools used for tanning and arrowheads, which he creates.

•  Gail Geer, a Virginia artist who is represented by the Virginia Artisan's Center, will demonstrate Inuit stone carving. Her website is: http://www.geerscreations.com.

•  Demonstrations of weaving and Navajo style-weaving will be given by weaver Lola Woods.

•  Coil pot making demonstrations will be offered by a local potter. 

•  Storyteller Sully Carter will present Native American stories in the museum galleries.

•  Jeffrey Allison, Paul Mellon Collection Educator and Statewide Education Programs Coordinator at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, will offer a hands-on touch gallery with objects related to Native American cultures and art.

Children and their families will have an opportunity to use what they learn to create make-and-take activities related to the museum's exhibitions and the artists' and artisans' demonstrations. The Cultural Festival will take place in the museum’s galleries and in front of the museum. 

"Celebrating Native American Heritage" is part of a series of Cultural Festivals presented every two to three years by the museum. The festivals are multi-arts celebrations offering hands-on art activities, music, storytelling, treasure hunts and much more. National artists and arts groups often participate. The festival’s activities are focused toward children ages 4–12 and their families or caregivers. Refreshments are provided.

The Cultural Festival is a free benefit of museum membership; the non-member festival fee is $15 per family. Families may join the museum at the door. Reservations are encouraged.  Please call the museum's education office at (434) 243-2050 or museumoutreach@virginia.edu by Friday, May 4 at 5 p.m.

The University of Virginia Art Museum is located at 155 Rugby Road, a short distance from the Rotunda. Free parking for this event will be available in A6, the parking lot across the street from the museum.