Free ‘Reawakening the Great Basin’ event at Reno art museum to honor Native cultures |

Free ‘Reawakening the Great Basin’ event at Reno art museum to honor Native cultures

Special to First Nation's Focus
The first "Reawakening the Great Basin: A Native American Arts and Cultural Gathering" event took place last year.
Courtesy Nevada Museum of Art

RENO, Nev. — For the second-straight year, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony will come together with the Nevada Museum of Art this month to celebrates Native American art, culture, community and tradition.

“Reawakening the Great Basin: A Native American Arts and Cultural Gathering” 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. Admission is free.

The event 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 multigenerational, multicultural crowd.

“In our inaugural year, Reawakening flourished beyond our expectations,” said Arlan D. Melendez, Chairman of the RSIC. “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.

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 RSIC 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.

This article was provided by the Nevada Museum of Art. Go to to learn more.


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