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Nevada powwow tradition subject of new museum exhibit

Sandi Hoover
shoover@nevadaappeal.com

Three features at the Nevada State Museum over the next few weeks will tie together Native American culture for anyone interested in appreciating it more fully, said the museum’s Curator of Education Deborah Stevenson.

“What Continues the Dream: Contemporary Arts and Crafts in the Powwow Tradition,” is on display at the museum through Aug. 7.

“This colorful exhibit, on loan from the Nevada Arts Council’s Nevada Touring Initiative, presents art and crafts that capture the vibrant spirit of the contemporary powwow, Nevada-style,” Stevenson said.

“Personal quotes from the artists reflect the deep spirituality, family values, sense of community and honor prized by powwow artists and participants,” she said.

The exhibit includes photos and stunning examples of powwow regalia, including a hand drum, rattle, beaded belt, bracelet, moccasins, dance stick and more, she said.

“It’s a small exhibit, but very beautiful. It’s just exquisite. The personal reflections on printed cards talk about the honor and respect and sacredness of the drum and dance,” Stevenson said.

“The exhibit is an introduction to the tradition for people who don’t know much about the people,” she said.

“What Continues the Dream” includes artwork by Native American artists W. E. Burke, Cassandra Leigh Darrough and Gordon Gibson; documentary photography by Ronda Churchill, Lindsay Hebberd and Bruce Rettig; and folk art objects created by William Aster, Arlene Austin, Dean Barlese, Lynnaya Comas, Ramona Darrough, Wesley Dick, Deanna Domingo, Ryan Dunn, Rebecca Eagle, Linda Johnson-Comas, Angie Quintana, Steven Mike, Adam Fortunate Eagle Nordwall, Bobbie Nordwall, Ken Paul, Burton Pete, Debra Reed, Manuel Rojas, John Bear, Kenny Anderson and Francine Tohannie.

Complementing the powwow exhibit – which opened Thursday – is an exhibit, “Interwoven 2010: Visions of the Great Basin Basketmakers.” This display, which is open through July 24 in the Dema Guinn Concourse and North Changing Gallery, represents the finest in contemporary and traditional basketry, including innovative woven sculptures in natural and man-made materials, Stevenson said.

And on July 22 at 7 p.m., the Frances Humphrey Lecture Series, “Washo Basket Weaving and Culture” will be presented by master Native American artist, Sue Coleman.

“These three things will knit everything together beautifully,” Stevenson said.

The museum is open from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is $8 for adults and free for children 17 and younger and museum members. For more information, call 687-4810 ext. 237.

The Nevada Arts Council’s Folklife Program worked with consultants from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, the Las Vegas Indian Center, and the Nevada Indian Commission to develop “What Continues the Dream.” The exhibition will tour the state for two years as part of the Nevada Touring Initiative.