By RENEE FITE
Diversity of subject and medium in contemporary and traditional styles were evident in the art displayed during the Cherokee National Holiday – at the Cherokee Art Center downtown, the Cherokee Heritage Center Art Show, and among the artisans outdoors at vendor booths.
“The Homecoming Show at the Heritage Center is all Cherokee, and the Holiday Art Show is all Native Americans,” said Donna Tinnin, staffer with Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism.
At the Cherokee Heritage Center, Curator Mickel Yantz was on hand to talk with visitors.
“Being able to share the diversity of Cherokee art, both traditional and contemporary, with so many guests, is what makes this show such a great opportunity for artists and visitors,” said Yantz.
NDN Art Gallery and Frame hosted Monica Brown Friday and Saturday nights for an art show open house. Horses and portraits of people and pets are Brown’s favorite subjects.
“This was the largest art opening we’ve ever had,” said Stephanie Lusher, co-owner of the gallery.
This is the first year for the Cherokee Art Center downtown to be up and running during the holiday weekend. The center was open Saturday afternoon, and several artists were demonstrating their crafts – including potters Troy Jackson and Jane Osti, loom-weaver Dorothy Ice and shell jewelry-maker Knokovtee Scott.
Artist Kyle Brown was showing his family around the Cherokee Art Center. He had two pieces hanging at the Center and at the Armory.
“There’s diverse art at the Armory and at the Art Center, too,” Brown said. “I like seeing all the different tribes coming together in unity. In the parade, it was cool seeing the Keetoowah Band being a part of the festivities; we’re all from the same ancestors.”
Cultural Specialist Callie Chunestudy, at the Art Center gift shop, said Janet Smith pieces and Leslie Gates’ gourds were selling well, along with prints by Roy Boney Jr., Joseph Erb and Jeff Edwards.
“We get more traffic this time of year than any other time of year,” Chunestudy said. “People will talk to you about art work they’ve seen, and I’ve talked to people about putting work in here.”
Current work for sale includes carved, painted and decorated gourds; baskets; weaving; and beadwork such as beaded high-top moccasins. There were also purses, pottery, paintings, stone carvings, abstract assemblages, and jewelry - copper and silver with turquoise, agates and other semi-precious stones.
Holiday Art Show Coordinator Marie Smith likes getting to see all the artwork that comes in, like graphics, baskets, pottery, sculpture, paintings, photography, textiles and weavings. Organizers also host three age categories of youth competition.
“The stained-glass was entered in the diverse category,” Smith said. “And everybody was surprised Best of Show was won by graphics this year. It was one of the diverse pieces.”
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