Reawakening The Great Basin celebrates Native American art and culture

Reawakening the Great Basin: A Native American Arts and Cultural Gathering, presented by the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony in collaboration with the Nevada Museum of Art, takes place July 13

Event Announcement

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony

Nevada Museum of Art

For the second year, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony (RSIC) will come together with the Nevada Museum of Art to celebrates Native American art, culture, community, and tradition. The free day features a variety of artists, dancers, storytellers, and musicians sharing traditional and contemporary culture and art of the Paiute, Shoshone, Washoe, Pala, Patwin, and more. Reawakening the Great Basin: A Native American Arts and Cultural Gathering (Reawakening), presented by the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony in collaboration with the Nevada Museum of Art, takes place from 10 a.m .to 5 p.m., Saturday, July 13, at the Nevada Museum of Art, 160 West Liberty St., in downtown Reno, Nevada. Admission is free. 

Reawakening is designed to bring together a variety of Native American cultural traditions, while also celebrating contemporary interpretations rooted in those traditions. Throughout the day, numerous performing artists will demonstrate a variety of dances and songs, including the Grindstone Patwin Dancers, Pala Band of Mission Indians from Southern California, Navajo flute player Tygel Pinto, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Pow Wow Club, hoop dancer Sage Romero, and the Eagle Wing Pageant Dancers. Traditional and contemporary musical performances, like Young Chief and the all-female drum group, The Mankillers, will inspire and excite the multi-generational, multicultural crowd. 

“In our inaugural year, Reawakening flourished beyond our expectations,” said Arlan D. Melendez, Chairman of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony. “By partnering with the distinguished Nevada Museum of Art, we will once again bring an authentic staging of Great Basin Native American arts and culture to thousands of attendees.”

During this free Artown event, the public is invited to meet several established and emerging Native American visual artists from across the region who will be sharing their knowledge, as well as selling their traditional and contemporary artworks, crafts, and culturally-inspired objects. Representatives from the Great Basin Native Artists, including Ben Aleck, Topaz Jones,

Jack Malotte, and Melissa Melero-Moose, will join dozens of artisans in a festive marketplace in the Reynolds Grand Hall. Handcrafted works including beaded items by Hungry Valley artisans Charlotte Frye and Sandra Talancon, silver metalwork by Ralph Thomas, and other wares by local and regional artisans will be available for purchase. Moreover, famed mouth stick painter Mack Johnson will make an appearance and sell his work. Jack Malotte will also present a talk in the theater, discussing his feature exhibition on view at the Museum, The Art of Jack Malotte. Great Basin basket weaving and Tule duck decoy construction demonstrations will take place in the Founder’s Room of the Museum, so that attendees can not only watch and learn about the practical use of these ancient items, but also purchase the authentic treasures from the weavers.

“The Nevada Museum of Art is deeply honored to once again work alongside the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony to present a very special community day,” said Nevada Museum of Art Chief Executive Officer David Walker. “Last year, more than 3,000 people from across the region participated in this important gathering, and we expect attendance to top that this year. It is a great joy to bring so many people together to honor the vibrant culture of this place, especially the culture of Nevada’s Indigenous peoples, because the story of Nevada resonates globally.”

All-ages hands-on workshops will take place all day, administered by visiting Pyramid Lake Paiute artist Sara Paschall. Other activities include Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Language and Culture Storytellers sharing Great Basin creation stories, pow wow royalty greeting guests, hoop making, and more. Food and drink will be available for purchase, including Nat’s Indian Tacos and Star Village Coffee, two Native owned small businesses.

About the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony

The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony was established in 1917 with the Bureau of Indian Affairs purchase of 20 acres which became the core of Colony. In 1926, the addition of a contiguous parcel increased the land base to 28.8 acres. The first formal council of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony was organized in 1934, and the election for the adoption of the Constitution was held on December 16, 1935. 

Located in Reno, Nevada, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony consists of over 1,150 members from three Great Basin Tribes - the Paiute, the Shoshone, and the Washoe and provides essential services to over 7,000 Natives. Today, the reservation lands consist of the original twenty-eight-acre Colony located in central west Reno and another 15,263 acres in Hungry Valley, which is nineteen miles north of the Colony and west of Spanish Springs, Nev., nestled in scenic Eagle Canyon. 

Learn more at rsic.org.

About the Nevada Museum of Art

The Nevada Museum of Art is the only art museum in Nevada accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). A private, nonprofit organization founded in 1931, the Reno-based institution is supported by its membership as well as sponsorships, gifts and grants. Through its permanent collections, original exhibitions and programming, and E.L. Cord Museum School, the Nevada Museum of Art provides meaningful opportunities for people to engage with a range of art and education experiences. 

The Museum’s Center for Art + Environment is an internationally-recognized research center dedicated to supporting the practice, study, and awareness of creative interactions between people and their environments. The Center houses unique archive materials from more than 1,000 artists working on all seven continents, including Cape Farewell, Michael Heizer, Walter de Maria, Lita Albuquerque, Burning Man, the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains, and Trevor Paglen’s Orbital Reflector. 

Learn more at nevadaart.org.

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