'People of the Clay: Contemporary Cherokee Potters' opens at Cherokee Museum

New art exhibit features more than sixty Cherokee potters and more than one hundred pieces of pottery, from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Cherokee Nation, from 1900 to the present

News Release

Museum of the Cherokee Indian

“People of the Clay: Contemporary Cherokee Potters” will open Saturday April 6 at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina. This new art exhibit features more than sixty Cherokee potters and more than one hundred pieces of pottery, from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Cherokee Nation, from 1900 to the present.

“This exhibit is an attempt to trace Cherokee pottery from its humble beginnings to its prestigious place in the Native American art world,” said Lambert Wilson, Guest Curator and member of the Board of Directors of the Museum. “Hopefully this exhibit will inspire others to collect, create pottery and art of any form; and in some small way help to preserve and celebrate the culture of the Cherokee people.”

Pottery Osti Turtle
Jane Osti's "Turtle". Osti will be making pottery and answering questions at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian on Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo: Museum of the Cherokee Indian)

On Saturday April 6, Jane Osti will be making pottery and answering questions in the Museum Lobby from 12 noon until 2 p.m. Osti is a “National Treasure” from the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma whose work has been exhibited across the country, and has received awards at the Santa Fe Indian Market and many art shows.

Throughout the next year, the Museum will be offering pottery workshops and special events in conjunction with the exhibit, and a catalog with photos of the pots and more information will be published at a later date.

Many of the works in the exhibit come from Wilson’s personal collection, as well as from the collections of potters and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. The exhibit and the new gallery have been funded by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

Pottery Amanda's Hands
Amanda Crowe's hands.(Photo: Museum of the Cherokee Indian)

Well known potters like the Bigmeat family from the Qualla Boundary, Amanda Swimmer, and Cora Wahnetah are included, but the exhibit also displays for the first time pottery by Amanda Crowe. Known internationally for her woodcarving, Crowe also made pottery with the same smooth modernistic lines. The exhibit features a woman and child, a warrior, and two bears made of clay by Crowe. From Cherokee Nation, Anna Mitchell, Jane Osti, Bill Glass, and others are included. Mitchell is credited with keeping pottery traditions alive, while Glass, Osti, and others have developed colorful, new styles that draw on traditions.

Pottery Crowe bears
Amanda Crowe's "Bears".(Photo: Museum of the Cherokee Indian)

The Museum is located at 589 Tsali Boulevard in Cherokee, North Carolina, at the intersection of Highway 441 and Drama Road. It is open year-round from 9 am—5 pm, closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Cost of tickets is $12 for adults and $7 for children ages 6-13. Children ages 5 and under are free. Price of admission covers entry to two exhibits: “Story of the Cherokee People; 13,000 Years” and “People of the Clay.” Discounts are available for groups, and for AARP members, AAA members, and the military. Audio tours are available in English, Spanish, and German languages. 

The Museum Store sells books, handcrafts, art, and more. 

Museum memberships include free admission and discounts in the Museum Store. Genealogical services are available. 

For more information on visiting, ticket prices, and the new exhibit, call 828 497-3481 x 1003 or go to www.cherokeemuseum.org. 

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