Museum hosts Indigenous arts events

Baskets, paintings, and other items on display inside a museum.
Installation view of “Here in a Homemade Forest: Common Reading Connections" (photo courtesy of Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU).

Join Michael Holloman and Jacy Sohappy, Taamamno Ilp Ilp (Red Hummingbird), for three days of programming, Feb. 22-24, that celebrate the importance of Indigenous weaving and beading practices.

The events at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU are specifically designed to draw a connection to artworks and cultural materials featured in the exhibition, “Here in a Homemade Forest: Common Reading Connections.” The programs are free and open to the public. Registration is required for the workshops on Feb. 23 and 24.

Both the exhibition, “Here in a Homemade Forest: Common Reading Connections,” and the related programming are a response to WSU’s common reading book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

“The incorporation of Braiding Sweetgrass into diverse university courses this year, along with a rich calendar of related events and exhibits, directs campus focus towards exploring multidisciplinary avenues for a more comprehensive understanding of environmental issues and Indigenous history, culture, and knowledge,” said Karen Weathermon, director of the Common Reading Program and First Year Programs at WSU.

Mini round bags examples for workshops on February 23 and 24. Photo courtesy of Jacy Sohappy.
Mini round bags examples for workshops on Feb. 23-24 (photo courtesy of Jacy Sohappy).

The programs kick off with “Here in a Homemade Forest: Indigenous Arts Talk on Thursday, Feb. 22, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. Guest curator Michael Holloman will emphasize the importance of intergenerational knowledge and the artworks as living items — not only in relation to the materials from which they are made, but also in how they are used in the community.

Holloman is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation and associate professor in the Department of Art at WSU. Visiting artist Jacy Sohappy, traditional arts manager at Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, will provide context based on her personal experiences as a maker. She is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation and has followed in her grandmother’s footsteps as a gatherer, seamstress, and painter.

The talk will take place in the museum’s Pavilion Gallery and will also be livestreamed and recorded for those who cannot attend in person.

Sohappy will also lead two Round Bag Weaving Workshops at the museum on Feb. 23 and Feb. 24 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Up to 12 participants will be included per workshop in the creation of miniature woven baskets using hemp twine and yarn. Different techniques will be demonstrated, and patterns will be available to use.

Cornhusk bag by Nimíipuu Artist, Collection of the Museum of Anthropology WSU
Cornhusk bag by Nimíipuu Artist (from the collection of the WSU Museum of Anthropology).

Registration is required for both workshops, and participants may register for one of the two. Six of the 12 spots for each workshop will be reserved for WSU students. Lunch will be provided, courtesy of the Common Reading Program.

The museum will be open to the public during the Round Bag Weaving Workshops and visitors to the galleries may briefly observe the workshops as they are taking place.

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU is dedicated to engaging the public in relevant, educational programming, and these events provide an opportunity for students and the wider community to broaden their perspectives concerning Indigenous art practices and the concept of artworks as living items in the community.

“These programs provide a unique opportunity for visitors, particularly students, to engage with the exhibition in a deeper way and to witness ideas described in Braiding Sweetgrass coming to life,” said Kristin Becker, curator of Education & Programs at the Schnitzer Museum WSU. “Special things happen when we gather in community to share stories, bear witness, and create together. This is what these programs aim to provide, and we feel fortunate to have Professor Holloman and Jacy Sohappy joining us.”

Co-sponsored by the Common Reading Program and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU, with special thanks to Global Campus. Funding for this program was provided by the David G. Pollart Center for Arts and Humanities, Nancy Spitzer, and Patrick & Elizabeth Siler.

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