BMCC Acquires Crow’s Shadow Native American Art Collection | Local News
PENDLETON – Blue Mountain Community College is making a smart investment to educate the Native American community about the culture on campus.
The college, in a press release on Wednesday, June 9, announced that it had purchased a number of works of art created by Indigenous artists from Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts.
The Native American Club has selected 14 works by student printmakers from Nixyaawii Community School made at Crow’s Shadow which will be hung in the new room at the Native American Club in Blue Mountain.
BMCC Grants Manager Bonnie Day has secured several grants to fund Native American community cultural outreach projects on campus to “foster a more welcoming university environment,” according to Day, especially for native students. various.
Annie Smith, Native American Student Club Councilor and Confederate Tribe Liaison Officer on the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and Megan Van Pelt, BMCC Associated Student Body President, led the club’s selection committee, visiting and revisiting Crow’s Shadow to make the selection.
The club has focused on student artwork for several reasons, the press release explained, including the fact that some of the institute’s former printmaking students now attend Blue Mountain. This includes student Dancingstar Leighton, whose “Dancer” screenprint was purchased by the club. Her print features an image of her mother, the famous fringed dress dancer Acosia Red Elk, a figure that will be familiar to many in the community.
Nixyaawii student printmakers receive 100% of the proceeds from the prints they have made.
Funders for this project include the Arts Builds Communities grant from the Oregon Arts Commission and the Ford Family Foundation. In addition to the artwork and framing, the college will use the grants to add support material to the campus library and multimedia collections, bring presenters and programs to BMCC for Native American Heritage Month and Day of the Indigenous Peoples 2021, and develop the BMCC Native American Club.
A second, larger grant from the Oregon Department of Education’s Alaska Native and Native American Student Success Plan purchased a selection of works by professional artists who have made art with Crow’s Shadow Press. BMCC will showcase these pieces at its main campus and centers in Hermiston, Milton Freewater, Boardman and Baker City.
The committee selected 16 professional prints, including works by James Lavadour (Walla Walla) and Lillian Pitt (Warm Springs).
“I looked for pieces that had a connection to this place,” Smith said in the press release. “For example, at the Veterans Resource Center, we selected artwork by George Flett, a member of the Spokane tribe who was a veteran. His work ‘Prairie Chicken Dancer Flashing His Power Through His Mirror’ depicts a traditional dancer who symbolizes our warriors.
Lori Sams, director of the Feves art gallery at BMCC, has done a lot of work on art placement. She reviewed the thematic venues and gathered feedback from campus centers.
Two images by Shirod Younker of salmon and blueberries, important primary foods, are on display at the Boardman Center, which focuses on agriculture. And library staff selected Marwin Begaye’s “Evening Song,” a print depicting a colorful Western Meadow Lark – the Oregon State Bird – that Marwin saw during his residency in Canada. artist in 2016 at Crow’s Shadow.
This project developed in part from This Good Land: Contemporary Native Artists from Oregon, a 2019 Crow’s Shadow exhibition at the Feves Art Gallery. Nika Blasser, Marketing Director of Crow’s Shadow, organized the exhibition which showcased works from the permanent collection of institutes with strong local connections.
Several groups of students from Pendleton High School visited this show, participating in an activity that asked them to describe what they had seen.
“My culture in art settings,” was the response from one student, the press release said. “I see baskets that I use to pick roots and berries. I see salmon in a jar that reminds me of my mother. I see a coyote that reminds me of the stories I was told when I was little.
Sams reiterated that this illustrates the overarching goal of the project.
“To make connections between people and art, to make it accessible, accessible,” she said. “It’s such an important part of what we all do. “
The works are currently being framed and will be permanently installed on campus with signs during the summer.