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News & Notes: Warm Springs museum to reopen

The tribal museum, closed since December for upgrades, reopens May 14. Plus: Indigenous artists at High Desert Museum, "Matrilineal Memory" & Cherokee art in Portland.

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Elizabeth Woody, executive director of The Museum at Warm Springs, at the museum. Photo: Joe Cantrell/2022
Elizabeth Woody, executive director of The Museum at Warm Springs, at the museum. Photo: Joe Cantrell/2022

Good news from Central Oregon: The Museum at Warm Springs, which has been closed since Dec. 18, 2023 for the installation of a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, will reopen Tuesday, May 14.

“The new HVAC system will ensure that everyone who visits our museum will be comfortable and safe during all seasons and that our collection objects and archives will be protected,” Elizabeth Woody, the museum’s executive director, said in a prepared statement. “We are especially thankful to our funders. Without them this wouldn’t have been possible.”

Supply chain delays caused the shutdown to be longer than expected, Woody, a former poet laureate of Oregon, added.

The 25,000-square-foot museum, which is operated by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and is dedicated to preserving the tribes’ culture, history, and traditions, opened in 1993 after more than 20 years of planning. It was the first tribal museum in Oregon.

A new exhibit, “Saddle Up! Ranchers and Rodeo Life of The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs,” will open June 26 and continue through Sept. 23. Regular museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m.

Indigenous artists panel at High Desert Museum

Artist Kelli Palmer (Wasco, Warm Springs) holds a putlapa, a traditional corn husk hat, that she crafted for the High Desert Museum exhibition "Creations of Spirit." She will be part of the Indigenous Artist Panel on May 15. Photo courtesy High Desert Museum.
Artist Kelli Palmer (Wasco, Warm Springs) holds a putlapa, a traditional corn husk hat, that she crafted for the High Desert Museum exhibition “Creations of Spirit.” She will be part of the Indigenous Artist Panel on May 15. Photo courtesy High Desert Museum.

Meanwhile, 60-odd miles south of Warm Springs in Bend, the High Desert Museum will present a panel discussion by three regional Indigenous artists on Wednesday, May 15. Kelli D. Palmer of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Jacy Sohappy of Cayuse/Nez Perce/Yakama heritage, and Dr. Michelle Jack, of sqilxʷ /syilx (Okanagan) descent, will talk about the ways, as the museum puts it, “in which Indigenous artists are both preserving vibrant cultural traditions and pushing the boundaries of contemporary art forms.”

Artists Jacy Sohappy (left) and Dr. Michelle Jack. Photos courtesy High Desert Museum.

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Palmer works in traditional Indigenous art forms including cornhusk basketry, beadwork, and regalia making. Sohappy works in traditional and contemporary sewing, beadwork and painting, and Jack “reimagines and repurposes tools and materials in her printmaking, photography, sculpture, film and more.”

Museum doors open at 6 p.m. May 15 for the event, which begins at 6:30. Find ticket and other information here.

“Matrilineal Memory” and Cherokee arts history

"Matrilineal Memory" artist Mikaela Shafer. Photo: Daniel Overstreet
“Matrilineal Memory” artist Mikaela Shafer. Photo: Daniel Overstreet

In Portland, artist Mikaela Shafer (Hopi, Coyote Clan) opens a solo exhibit, Matrilineal Memory, on Friday, May 10, at the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. Shafer, who’s exhibited in galleries in London, New York, Rhode Island, Washington, and elsewhere, uses dyeing, sewing, layering and other techniques, blending poetry, storytelling, and mixed media paintings to explore cultural disconnection, reconnection, and generational healing.

The exhibition is open 5-8 p.m. May 10 (opening reception), noon-4 p.m. May 11, 5-7 p.m. May 24, noon-4 p.m. May 25, 5-7 p.m. May 31, and 6-8 p.m. June 6. It’s being presented as part of the foundation’s LIFT — Early Career Support for Native Artists program.

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America Meredith. Photo courtesy Native Arts and Culture Foundation.
America Meredith. Photo courtesy Native Arts and Culture Foundation.

Also at the Native Arts and Culture Foundation, America Meredith (Cherokee Nation) will give a free talk at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 19, on the history of Cherokee art from pre-contact times to the mid-20th century. As the museum describes her talk: “Learn about stone, shell, and wood carving; ceramics, basketry, textile arts, beadwork, painting, and photography by Cherokee artists from the Southeastern homelands and Indian Territory/Oklahoma up to the 1940s.”

Meredith is publishing editor of First American Art Magazine and an art writer, critic, visual artist, and independent curator. Her talk is being presented by Mt. Hood Cherokees. The foundation is at 800 S.E. 10th Ave., Portland.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Bob Hicks has been covering arts and culture in the Pacific Northwest since 1978, including 25 years at The Oregonian. Among his art books are Kazuyuki Ohtsu; James B. Thompson: Fragments in Time; and Beth Van Hoesen: Fauna and Flora. His work has appeared in American Theatre, Biblio, Professional Artist, Northwest Passage, Art Scatter, and elsewhere. He also writes the daily art-history series "Today I Am."

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