TAHLEQUAH, OK - The Cherokee Heritage Center is celebrating the best of Cherokee art by presenting the Cherokee National Treasures exhibition running now through April 3. The exhibit is a tribute to Cherokee master artisans and is held at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, OK.
A variety of award-winning art pieces are currently on display ranging from basketry, pottery and bow making to flint knapping, traditional clothing and carving. Featured Cherokee National Treasures at this year’s exhibition include Anna Huckaby, 1991, pottery; Nadine Wilbourn, 1997, basketry; Jane Osti, 2005, pottery; Shawna Cain, 2006, basketry; and Roger Cain, 2007, mask; Bill Glass, Jr., 2009, pottery; among others.
“The Cherokee National Treasures exhibition is a celebration of Cherokee talent and art form,” said Carey Tilley, Executive Director at the Cherokee Heritage Center. “It’s an opportunity to honor and share the work of proven Cherokee masters. Hopefully, their work will serve as inspiration to younger Cherokee artists as well as the general public.”
The Cherokee National Treasures award was born from the Lost Arts Project and took shape following standards set for Indian art by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1988. The award showcases Cherokee artists that are actively involved with the preservation and revival of Cherokee cultural practices and have shown exceptional skill and historical knowledge of Cherokee arts and crafts. Since 1998, 71 Cherokee artists have been honored and recognized as National Treasures. Each winner has a special talent and craft that is preserved for future generations.
The 2011 Cherokee National Treasures will be announced at the 58th Annual Cherokee National Holiday over Labor Day weekend.
The Cherokee Nation is currently asking the public for nominations to consider for this year’s Cherokee National Treasure award. Nomination forms are available on the Cherokee Nation website at www.cherokee.org.
“The Cherokee National Treasures exhibition touches on all three aspects of the Cherokee Heritage Center mission to preserve, promote and teach Cherokee history and culture. It is a way to give these acknowledged cultural leaders a voice that will be heard by the larger public. Their work is truly remarkable,” added Tilley.
The Cherokee National Treasures exhibition opened October 4, 2010, and runs through April 3, 2011. The public is invited to meet some of the National Treasures at a reception on March 12 at 11 a.m. National Treasures will be speaking and talking about their artwork. This reception is offered in partnership with the Cherokee Native Art and Plant Society and the Cherokee Nation.
About Cherokee Heritage Center
The Cherokee Heritage Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the premier cultural center for Cherokee tribal history, culture, and the arts. Located in the heart of the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, Okla., it was established in 1963 by the Cherokee National Historical Society to preserve and promote the Cherokee culture. The Cherokee Heritage Center is also home to the Cherokee National Archives, which is the Nation’s foremost collection of historic tribal related documents and artifacts from the 1700s through present day. The Cherokee Heritage Center is situated on the grounds of the original Cherokee Female Seminary, which is one of the first institutions of higher learning for women west of the Mississippi and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service has designated the Center as the interpretive site for the western terminus of the Trail Of Tears for the Cherokees and other tribes forcibly removed to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, during the 1800s.