University of Montana (Missoula, MT)

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      Mixed media on canvass, showing an a photographic image in the center, a eprson carrying a large basket strapped to hthe forehead. In the background is the paririe, a bufalo and a tipi

Red Earth Buffalo, Blood by artist Jane Ash Poitras, whose work was part of the exhibition Native American Artists—After Lewis and Clark presented by the Montana Museum of Art and Culture at the University of Montana in Missoula. Photo courtesy of the University of Montana

The Montana Museum of Art and Culture at the University of Montana in Missoula holds one of the largest collections of fine art objects in the state. The collection contains more than 9,500 works focusing on Western, Native American, and Asian art. The museum provides extensive outreach programs to local schools and its award-winning Web site serves as a resource for people around the world.

 

Before 1492 & After 1992 by artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, whose work was part of the exhibition Contemporary Native American Art--Reflections After Lewis and Clark presented by the Montana Museum of Art and Culture at the University of Montana in Missoula. Photo courtesy of the University of Montana

In FY 2003, the museum received an NEA Challenge America: Access grant of $20,000 to support the exhibition Contemporary Native American Art--Reflections After Lewis and Clark. The exhibition, which took place from April 26, 2005 - June 26, 2005, featured visual art and writing by Native Americans telling the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition from the point of view of the indigenous people they encountered. Essays by Native American writers provided background information on the art and history of the area.

Twenty nationally and internationally known artists, including Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Jane Ash Poitras, Joane Cardinal-Schubert, Corwin Clairmont, and Lillian Pitt, were featured. The participants were given a year to reflect upon the meaning of the expedition, and how it had affected the development and culture of the region. They then submitted pieces that explored these topics.

Viewers at the exhibition were able to learn about the cultures and values of the different tribes that Lewis and Clark encountered and their contributions to the survival of the expedition. The museum also provided guided tours, lectures, maps, texts, tribal statistics, and an accompanying catalogue.

The exhibition will travel to tribal and art museums along the Lewis and Clark trail from May 2005 through June 2006.

 

Sculptures Dream of the Soul (left) and Ancestral Spirits Wake the Soul (right) by artist Lillian Pitt, part of the exhibition Contemporary Native American Art--Reflections After Lewis and Clark presented by the Montana Museum of Art and Culture at the University of Montana in Missoula. Photo courtesy of the University of Montana

 

(From the 2003 NEA Annual Report)