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Native art on the Ave

Two-day celebration of Northwest Native art and culture returns to Washington State History Museum this weekend

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Local Native American artists, crafters and performers are returning to the Washington State History Museum July 21 and 22 for “In the Spirit: the Northwest Native Arts Native Market and Festival.” The two-day weekend event, which debuted last summer at the museum, is a celebration of Pacific Northwest Native cultural traditions, cuisine (including a salmon dinner), music and visual art that museum director David Nicandri hopes, will bring a “strong sense of Native cultural vitality to downtown Tacoma.”

Festival and market participants are set to spread across the museum’s courtyard spaces, filling them with a mix of food and craft vendors, displaying a variety of beadwork, carvings, weavings, and graphic arts.  Some of the attending artisans will demonstrate their techniques for festival visitors. Live performers, too, are scheduled throughout the festival, presenting programs in storytelling, drumming and instrumental music. Live performances begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and at noon Sunday.

The 2007 market and festival shares the museum venue with a pair of related events. Since May 12 and continuing through the festival’s end July 22, the works of more than 30 of the Pacific Northwest’s more accomplished Native American artists are on display in one of the museum’s gallery spaces. “In the Spirit: Contemporary Northwest Native Arts Exhibit” is a juried show co-developed by the Washington State History Museum and the Evergreen State College’s Longhouse Education and Cultural Center.

Among the participants in the exhibition is artist Peter Boome, whose displayed works in the show include an original acrylic painting on canvas and a pair of “spirit stick” carvings.

“This show is great,” Boome says of the exhibition and festival combo. “First is its central location. It’s also just great to have so many quality artists in one location at one time.” Other Northwest artists featured in the 2007 exhibition include Jennifer Johns, Chloe French, Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, Susan Pavel and Lilian Pitt.

For festival visitors who take an even more serious interest in Northwest Native art, the museum is hosting a live seminar on collecting presented by local collector and appraiser Jack Curtwright, who will be joined by a panel of Native Northwest artists. The seminar is set for Saturday, from 2-4 p.m. Advance tickets are $35 for members, $40 for non-members, and $45 at the door.

Admission to the market and festival, however, is free and open to the public. 

[The Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 888.BE.THERE,]


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