New art group Great Basin Native Artists to exhibit regionally
This story was first published in the inaugural edition of First Nation's Focus in February 2017.
RENO, Nev. — The Great Basin Native Artists is a group that meets quarterly. The GBNA group also has formed a website resource directory for Native American fine artists residing in or originally from the Nevada and the California Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range.
As the founder (I am Fallon Paiute-Shoshone/Fort Bidwell Paiute), I worked closely with local artist Ben Aleck (Pyramid Lake Paiute and previous director of the Pyramid Lake Museum) to form the group and exhibit group shows throughout the Great Basin.
After co-curating the “Under One Sky” exhibit at the Nevada State Museum in 2001, we did not have a chance to exhibit together in the region again until the 2012 Nevada Museum of Art exhibit, “The Way We Live,” in Reno.
It seemed like we had very limited opportunities to exhibit our work regionally and our own community were not aware of all of the amazing cultural resources we were surrounded with. We knew there were a lot of Native artists in the surrounding Nevada and California areas, but it seemed difficult to locate us for Native art exhibits or educational projects in the community.
In November 2014, we decided to put together the group called the Great Basin Native Artists. This collective group of artists wanted to be available to the public in one resource center and available to each other for professional support by providing a:
• Great Basin Native Artists website directory and Image Gallery online
• Exhibiting opportunities as a group for local, national, and international Native exhibitions
• Art business workshops for professional and emerging artists
• Forum for Native artists and interested community members to connect
• Online presence for rural Native American artists and opportunities to document artwork
I think it is so important to display our Native arts in the community. It benefits our youth, especially because it gives them motivation to create and the opportunity to continue our Native culture and Native arts.
There have been very few Great Basin focused Native art exhibits in this community and throughout the U.S., and this kind of Native contemporary art will be an education to many about how Great Basin Natives are still alive and very active in their Native arts. This group will unite and motivate existing Native artists to focus in on their skills as well as educate the public on Natives in their area and throughout the country.
The group has been received by the art community positively and has been working closely with our local arts organizations and museums to create venues to exhibit more work. We have had an unexpected amount of offers to show in the community in the brief amount of time since we officially started meeting as a group.
We have shown at the Nevada State Museum (2001), the Nevada Museum of Art (2012), Stewart Boarding School, Carson City (2014), and the Imago Mundi, International exhibit in Italy.
Other venues GBNA have shown are:
• Pyramid Lake Museum, Nixon
• Northeast Nevada Museum, Elko
• University of Nevada, Reno Knowledge Center/Library
• Sierra Arts Foundation and Gallery, Reno
• Churchill County Museum, Fallon
• Maidu Museum and Cultural Sites in Roseville, Calif.
For information, visit www greatbasinnativeartists.com and contact us if you are interested in seeing more of our exhibits and getting on our mailing list.
We are in the process of setting up a comprehensive directory of Native artists in all mediums of artwork including: visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, digital and video arts, arts and crafts, photography, sculpture, beadwork, and basketry.
Contact Melissa Melero-Moose at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After gold was found in California, silver was discovered in Virginia City, and the Comstock bonanza lured those seeking riches onto Washoe terrain. The settlers viewed the land as an object of financial opportunity. In a very short time, pine nuts, seeds, game and fish had been overused. The harmonious rhythm that the Washoe had maintained was broken.