In the Spirit returns to the Washington State History Museum

22 May
Patti Puhn poses next to her work, Ceremonial Cape (cedar bark, sinew, abalone shell buttons, rabbit fur), winner of the 2012 In the Spirit "Honoring the Ancestors" award.

Patti Puhn poses next to her work, Ceremonial Cape (cedar bark, sinew, abalone shell buttons, rabbit fur), winner of the 2012 In the Spirit “Honoring the Ancestors” award.

On Saturday, June 8, the Washington State History Museum will unveil the eighth annual In the Spirit: Contemporary Northwest Native Arts exhibit, in partnership with The Evergreen State College Longhouse Education & Cultural Center.  The exhibit, which will be on display through August 18, showcases work from more than 20 Northwest Native artisans and focuses on the distinctive cultures and stories of the region’s tribal groups.  The two-month exhibit will culminate with the In the Spirit: Northwest Native Arts Market & Festival on Saturday, August 17, 2013.

“Through these incredible artists, we are able celebrate and teach about the diversity of Washington state heritage,” said Jennifer Kilmer, Director of the Washington State Historical Society. “The sheer variety of mediums on display is a testament to the unique heritage of Northwest Native art and the beautiful contrast between traditional and modern cultures.”

There will be nearly 30 pieces in this year’s exhibit, including paintings, prints, basketry, sculpture, woven clothing, beadwork, cast glass, and mixed media pieces. This year welcomes an impressive eight past In the Spirit award winners and six first-time exhibitors. Each artist, representing 20 tribal groups, presents a different perspective and aesthetic.

During the opening night reception on June 8, museum members are invited to view the full exhibit and discuss the works with the artists and curators. The three-person judging panel, comprised of Native American art experts and artists, will present this year’s winners in four categories at the opening reception: “Best of Show,” “Celebrating the Northwest,” “Celebrating Tradition” and “Celebrating Innovation.”  A “People’s Choice” award is voted on by visitors throughout the exhibit and awarded during the August festival. 

“The interest and enthusiasm for this exhibit continues to grow year after year, and it shows how important these artists and cultures are to Washington history,” said Tina Kuckkahn-Miller, Director, Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at The Evergreen State College. “Each piece this year is rich with stories that tell of the various challenges, values and triumphs of Northwest Native communities.”

What: In the Spirit: Contemporary Northwest Native Arts exhibit 
Where: Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma
When: June 8 – August 18, 2013. Tuesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., extended hours and free admission every third Thursday, 2 – 8 p.m.
Cost: $9.50/adults; $7/seniors and students; free for members and children age 5 and younger. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, active duty military with valid ID can receive free admission along with up to five of their family members.

The In the Spirit exhibit and festival are organized by the Washington State Historical Society and The Evergreen State College; made possible in part by the Tacoma Arts Commission, Tulalip Tribe and Nisqually Tribe, and media sponsor KUOW 94.9.

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