PULLMAN, Wash. – The Washington State University Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is reopening its physical spaces to the public and featuring two new exhibitions starting Tuesday, March 9.

“We deeply appreciate the generous support the museum has received from the community during our physical closure. We look forward to welcoming visitors back into the museum spaces, and will continue hosting virtual programs after our reopening,” said Ryan Hardesty, executive director of the WSU Schnitzer Museum.

After being closed to the public for large portions of 2020, and more recently since December, the museum’s spring semester hours will now be Tuesday through Friday, 1-4 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please check the Schnitzer Museum website for current guidelines to visiting in person.

Worth D. Griffin, Jim Kanine, 1935 (image of Nez Perce in trade blanket)

Follow the River: Portraits of the Columbia Plateau” is one of the two exhibitions that will be on display at the Schnitzer Museum starting Tuesday. The exhibit features the museum’s Worth D. Griffin Collection of Native portraiture alongside material culture from Plateau tribes including the Palus (Palouse) and Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) whose homelands the WSU Pullman campus is located upon.

In the second exhibition, “Under the Same Sun and Moon: New Acquisitions from the Collection,” the museum puts on view, in most instances for the first time, selections from collection newcomers. Over the last five years, the museum has added significant works of art to its permanent collection through selective purchases and generous gifts.

Portrait of a woman in traditional Native American dress, circa 1925, July 9. Photo by Clyfford Still. Courtesy the Clyfford Still Archives. © City and County of Denver / ARS, NY

In addition to the two in person exhibitions opening March 9, the museum is hosting two new virtual programs for patrons to enjoy on March 10 and March 18.

On Wednesday, March 10, from 4–5 p.m., join guest curator Michael Holloman for a virtual program, “Portraits of the Columbia Plateau,” presenting portraiture of Plateau tribal members as commissioned in the mid-1930s by former WSC President Ernest O. Holland. The program will revisit these documentary paintings while showing tribal permanence in the region. Holloman will be joined by Provost Elizabeth Chilton; Zoe Higheagle Strong, executive director for Tribal Relations and special assistant to the provost and director of the Center for Native American Research and Collaboration WSU; and Nakia Williamson, cultural resources program director of the Nez Perce Tribe.

On Thursday, March 18, from 5–5:45 p.m., the museum will feature “Into the Archives: Photography from the Colville Reservation,” a virtual program presented in partnership with the Clyfford Still Museum. In 1936, Clyfford Still co-founded an artists’ colony in Nespelem, the Indian Agency on the Colville Reservation in Washington state. This livestreamed webinar features CSM digital archivist Milo Carpenter and WSU fine arts professor Michael Holloman (member, Colville Confederated Tribes) shedding light on the creation and context of these photographs.

Provost Chilton and museum executive director Ryan Hardesty explore the exhibition, Follow the River: Portraits of the Columbia Plateau.

Each of these exhibitions and programs were a labor of love for the Schnitzer museum team which is excited to reopen to the public and share the power of art with the community.

Funding for the exhibitions has been provided by the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Endowment, the Holland and Orton Endowment, and members of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU.

Editor’s note: This is part of a WSU Insider series spotlighting the careful, phased re-opening of WSU’s residential campus in Pullman as it prepares for the return to in-person instruction.

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