The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School presents Contemporary Native Arts Week at the Dahl Arts Center

posted on May 24, 2011

The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School will celebrate Contemporary Native Arts Week with a series of events in Rapid City, featuring the eight Native emerging artists exhibited in the “Making New Traditions” show currently on display at the Dahl Arts Center. The weeklong celebration will include film screenings, a panel discussion, an artist reception and a live paint and wet auction. 

The week of events is intended to invite a diverse audience to use the arts by opening dialogue about community issues in a non-threatening environment and encouraging artistic expression to empower a Native voice, explains Mary Maxon, curator at The Dahl.

“We hope to also explore the current state of affairs in Native arts and to discuss it’s future,” she says.

The “Making New Traditions” exhibit, which premiered at The Heritage Center last fall, brings together eight young Native American artists with tribal ties from throughout the Northern Plains.

“The artists are breaking boundaries, expressing their heritage, while exploring popular culture,” says Heritage Center Curator Mary Bordeaux, who organized the exhibit with Dahl Arts Center Curator Mary Maxon and Heritage Center Director Peter Strong. “There’s a strong sense of humor and irony in the work, which crushes stereotypes and brings to light today’s realities.”

Bordeaux believes the art will provide the spark that brings people together to discuss Native issues.

“That is what art should do: bring about meaningful conversation,” she adds.

Bordeaux says the artists have approached their art with eyes wide open to the layers, complexities and truths of their time. The artists have taken inspiration from the modern as well as the traditional, and communicate their experiences as contemporary indigenous people.

The exhibit is sponsored by McCarthy Properties and the Rapid City Arts Council. Many events during the Contemporary Native Arts Week are free and open to the public. Please check for information on each event.