Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • Navajo Rugs, Buckaroo Bash and a Halloween Event Just for Adults | October Calendar of Events

    by Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art | Oct 02, 2014

     October gives visitors plenty of chances to learn, play and party at the Eiteljorg!

    Dawn Dark Mountain (Oneida of Wisconsin), Beneath the Ever Growing Tree 

    Oct. 4
    1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

    Meet Artist-in-Residence Dawn Dark Mountain (Oneida of Wisconsin)
    Dawn specializes in transparent watercolors. In addition to her paintings, she creates linoleum and wood-block prints that are then completed with watercolor. Visitors can learn about Dawn’s culture and watch as she demonstrates her techniques.

    Navajo Rug Auction at the Eiteljorg Museum

    Oct 4
    Navajo Rug Auction

    9:30-11:00 a.m.    Preview 
    11:30 a.m.            Auction Begins
    Navajo rugs in traditional and contemporary designs from the R.B. Burnham & Co. Trading Post in Arizona will be auctioned. Prices range from less than $100 to $10,000. 
    Quest artist Heide Presse, When Thou Art Gone to Western Land, 2014, Oil on Linen, 26 x 26 inches
    Oct. 5
    Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale closes at 5 p.m.  

    DG House (Cherokee of NE Alabama), Ancestors Yet to Come
    Oct 11, 18 and 25

    1 p.m. – 4 p.m. 

    Meet Artist-in-Residence DG House (Cherokee of NE Alabama)
    Contemporary Native American artist, DG House, will share her art and culture. Guests may also watch her demonstrate her mixed media and painting techniques.
    Oct. 18
    10 a.m. – Noon
    Ledger Art Workshop
    Join artist-in-residence, DG House, for this one-of-a-kind workshop and learn about the history of ledger art explained through the story of the Battle of Little Bighorn. With DG’s guidance, participants will create their own personal ledger art to take home. Materials Fee: Non-Members $12. To pre-register by Oct.11, call 317.275.1370.

    Oct. 18
    7 p.m.
    Leather and Lace |The 17th Annual
    Buckaroo Bash
    The Buckaroo Bash is one of the Eiteljorg’s biggest fundraisers. Proceeds from the event purchase art supplies for visiting students and support education programs such as artists in residence, gallery interpreters, and Eiteljorg Museum to the Classrooms: Stories of Diversity. RSVP by Oct. 10. by calling 317.275.1333. Price: $200

    Day of the Dead/ Dia de los Muertos at the Eiteljorg Museum

    Oct. 25

    11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

    Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos (photo attached)
    This year NOPAL (an Indianapolis Latino arts and culture organization), is partnering with the Eiteljorg to provide an upbeat experience during the Day of the Dead celebration. The event will include festive and thoughtful ofrendas (altars that honor deceased loved ones); art created by local artists; a mercado; and a Katrina fashion show. Entertainment will be provided by NOPAL Musicians and Anderson Ballet Folklorico. Guests may visit with New Mexican tin artist Richard Gabriel, Jr., and local contemporary papel picado artist Beatriz Schlebecker. Guests will get to create their own papel picado and tin ornament to take home.

    Oct. 31
    8 p.m. – Midnight

    Freiteljorg with the ICO and DJ Kyle Long (an adult Halloween party)
    Celebrate the opening of New Art 2.0 by partying until the witching hour in your most haunting attire. Enjoy grown-up trick-or-treating, while grooving to an unforgettable live mash-up of modern DJ experimental sounds featuring DJ Kyle Long and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Costumes mimicking Native Americans or people of other races will not be tolerated. Price: $20 for non Agave members, $30 at the door.
     Rick Bartow (Wiyot tribe of Northern California), Bird Hat, 2013, monoprint, edition 1/1, 30 1/8 x 22 1/2, Print courtesy: Crow's Shadow Press, Photography by Hadley Fruits. 

    Nov 1

    New Art 2.0 opens
    Dates: Nov. 1 –Jan. 4, 2015

    New Art 2.0 is an exhibition of prints by contemporary Native and Western artists, many of them Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellows. It is a blend of landscape, political and environmental statements as well as portraiture. Eighty limited-edition prints will be on exhibit. Prices range from $500 - $4,000. 

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  • INDIAN ENCAMPMENT at SUNSET a painting by Albert Bierstadt | The Rest of the Story

    by James H. Nottage, Eiteljorg vice president and chief curatorial officer | Sep 29, 2014


               Albert Bierstadt, Indian Encampment at Sunset, oil on canvas, ca. 1875, gift courtesy of Harrison Eiteljorg. 

                It is a small painting, just 14 inches by 20 inches wide. It rests in a gilded gold frame, possibly the original from the time of the painting’s creation. In the painting, orange-cast clouds reflect the rapidly receding yellow sunlight on the distant horizon while in the foreground trees and Indian teepees are embraced by growing night-time darkness. By the early 1870s, artist Albert Bierstadt was well-known for the moods conveyed in his Western landscape paintings.  He created grand canvases from his travels to Yosemite and other recognizable areas of the great West, but they were not precise documents. They were inspirational and often took liberties with scenes the artist viewed in person. Trees, rock formations, and bodies of water were subject to his rearrangement for the sake of aesthetics.

                 Certainly it was the beauty of Indian Encampment at Sunset, along with the importance of the artist, that drew Harrison Eiteljorg to collect this work in the late 1970s. The inside story is that the hundred year history of the painting was fairly well documented at that time although there was a critical error in the record. Eiteljorg obtained the painting from a gallery in Maryland. According to the gallery, a woman named Marian Townsley sold the painting in 1976, but had inherited it from her mother, Mrs. M. Howland Townsley in 1925. In turn she acquired it from her mother, Florence Little King Howland in 1910. She acquired it, as the story goes, from her “first husband” after his death in 1901. The man who died in 1901 was actually her son, the famed American explorer and geologist, Clarence King. 


                Clarence King was the first director of the U. S. Geological Survey and among his many accomplishments was best known for exploring the Sierra Nevadas. For six years beginning in 1867 he led expeditions to survey the 40th U. S. Parallel. He also exposed a famous hoax that claimed the discovery of diamonds in Colorado, and published notable geology texts. At first, King did not trust the paintings of Albert Bierstadt, because of how the artist depicted geological features.  By 1872, however, the two were exploring the Sierras together and King reported in August that Bierstadt would “give me liberty to copy any or all of his studies” for his report. Bierstadt’s field work that summer also became the basis of a number of important large paintings. 


                It is possible that the Bierstadt sunset painting was acquired by Clarence King at this time. That the artist was inspired by scenes viewed alongside King is clear from his paintings. King was equally inspired, writing that “I found it extremest pleasure to lie there alone on the dizzy brink, . . . watching that slow grand growth of afternoon shadows. Sunset found me there, still disinclined to stir, and repaid my laziness by a glorious spectacle of color. At this hour there is no more splendid contrast of light and shade.” (Clarence King, Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, Boston, 1872).

              Oh, and the deeper part of the story? It seems that the great explorer, Clarence King, led a double life for the last 13 years of his life. He posed as an African American railway porter named James Todd - having a common-law wife with whom he had five children. Read about the fascinating story of King and his family in Martha A. Sandweiss's masterful book, Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line. New York: Penguin Press, 2009. Oh, and take a look at Indian Encampment at Sunset in the Eiteljorg's Gund Gallery of Western Art.


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  • "Putting Martha Stewart to Shame" | Leah and Steve's Perfect Eiteljorg Wedding

    by Sarah Bean, Eiteljorg director of catering and events | Sep 24, 2014

    I first met Leah and Steve in January of this year. I had the honor of touring them through the event space during our Jingle Rail exhibit. I have to admit, it is rather hard to envision our ballroom with luscious floor length linens, pillars of luminous lighting and stunning chavari chairs when you have mountains of miniature buildings and an array of trains running throughout.


    Leah liked the indoor space but her heart was set on the outdoor gardens. Even with the snow covered trees and ice laden walkways I could tell she could envision exchanging vows in the warm afternoon sun and watching her guests dance the night away under the stars. So we set out to make that happen.

    For eight months I worked with Leah, her mom, Steve and Jessica Dum to help create that vision she had always dreamed of. Leah needed zero guidance.  As she and her mom dove head first into personalizing the wedding she had one goal in mind. “I want to put Martha Stewart to shame” Leah said.  And that she did!


    Unfortunately, the day of, with threats of rain and high humidity it was decided to move the dinner indoors. Thanks to proper planning we were able to convert the lighting to create an effect that gave the guests the impression of dining under a canopy of trees. 

    I truly enjoyed working with Leah and Steve along with some of the industries finest – Kahn’s Catering, Jessica Dum Wedding Coordination, Alan Trisler/Audio Magic Entertainment, Empty Vase, Stacy Able Photography and Unique Heart Productions.

    Leah and Steve are a match made in heaven and I wish them both many years of true marital bliss.

    Have a question about hosting an event at the Eiteljorg?  Please contact our event planning team at:
    • 317.275.1340
    • 317.275.1329
      Or complete a rental inquiry form here.  
    • You may also visit the rentals section of our website.
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  • Eiteljorg Museum Experiences Record-Breaking Attendance Following Ansel Adams Exhibit

    by DeShong Perry-Smitherman | Aug 14, 2014

    Ansel Adams, photograph by Jim Alinder

    The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art announced that Ansel Adams, the exhibit featuring 80 hand-picked images by the iconic photographer, was the museum’s best attended show in its 25-year history. Ansel Adams helped attract nearly 88,000 visitors from March to August – a 40-percent increase from Guitars: Roundups to Rockers, the museum’s previous exhibit attendance record holder.

    “I'm thrilled to see our museum hit such an extraordinary milestone during its 25th anniversary,” said John Vanausdall, president and CEO of the Eiteljorg." Ansel Adams appealed to lots of regular visitors, but the shows we had to complement it – like Blake Little: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo and Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison, really gave our guests a welcomed and unexpected surprise.”

    Blake Little, which featured dozens of photographs from gay rodeos from 1988 to 1992, closed in July. Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison is the first comprehensive retrospective of a key Native American modernist. It runs until Sunday, September 21.

    The museum’s next major summer exhibit, Gold! Riches and Ruin, opens in spring 2015. This exhibit will explore the historical and cultural significance of gold in the American West. It will feature objects and images that tell the stories of people, their relationships with the landscape, and the gold they sought and took from it.

    But visitors will not have to wait six months for another unforgettable experience at the Eiteljorg. This year is chock full of exhibits and events for everyone from new and experienced art collectors to families, couples and “culture vultures.” Here’s what visitors will find from now through December:

    Date: August 23
    6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
    Cost: FREE for Agave members. $20 for non-nembers (pre-sale) and $30 at the door.

    Enjoy performances by local bands and singers, including Shimmercore, Kenney Garmon and Sam Lawton., plus free food and drinks on the museum's terrace. JORGSTOCK 2014, hosted by Agave, the Eiteljorg's young professional auxiliary group, is a summer celebration of local talent, vendors and of young Indiana residents. This year, Agave is teaming up with the Indiana chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to be the official after party for its annual “Festiv-ALE” Celebration.

    Quest for the West® Art Show & Sale Opening Weekend
    Dates: September 5-7
    Art work is on exhibit until Sunday, October 5.

    Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale offers coveted work from 50 of the nation’s top Western artists. As the museum’s signature art sale, Quest captures the spirit of the American West. Last year’s event helped raise more than $1.2 million for the artists and the Eiteljorg. There is a $250 - $500 fee for Opening Weekend depending on the package a visitor selects.

    Beyond American Indian Stereotypes: A Symposium for Educators
    Date: September 13
    9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    Fee: $10

    Define, discuss and learn to recognize stereotypes about American Indians. Guests will hear from nationally-known educators, including Adrienne Keene, Ed.D. (Cherokee), writer and creator of Native Appropriations blog and Melodie Lopez (Hopi/Navajo/Pueblo/Mexican), president of Indigenous Strategies. They will also participate in interactive breakout sessions. Attendees will leave with a toolkit of resources to incorporate information about American Indians in interdisciplinary studies. Call 317.275.1310 to register.

    Meet Artist-in-Residence, Dawn Dark Mountain (Oneida of Wisconsin)
    Dates: September 20, 27 and October 4
    1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

    An Oneida artist specializing in transparent watercolors, Dawn has also been experimenting with painting “outside the box,” creating work extending beyond the painting’s surface. In addition to her paintings, Dawn creates linoleum and wood block prints that are then completed with watercolor. Visitors can meet Dawn and learn about her art, culture and watch as she demonstrates watercolor techniques.

    Pendleton Trunk Show
    Date: September 27
    10 p.m. – 5 p.m.

    For one day only a Pendleton representative will be in the Basile Museum Store. Guests can see the latest in Pendleton accessories and giftware for the coming holiday season. Plus, they’ll be able to purchase current fall jackets, sweaters and accessories.

    Meet Artist-in-Residence, DG House (Cherokee of NE Alabama)
    Dates: October 11, 18 and 25
    1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

    Meet contemporary Native American Artist DG House and learn about her art and culture, as well as, watch her demonstrate her mixed media and painting techniques.

    17th Annual Buckaroo Bash
    Date: October 18, 2014
    7 p.m.
    Price: $250

    The Buckaroo Bash is the Eiteljorg Museum’s biggest fundraiser. Funds from the Bash go toward purchasing art supplies for visiting students and supporting education programs such as artists-in-residence, gallery interpreters, and Eiteljorg Museum to the Classrooms: Stories of Diversity, a program that sends an interpreter to schools to share the stories of historic African-American figures.

    Day of the Dead
    Date: October 25, 2014
    11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

    Experience Día de Muertos/Day of the Dead at the Eiteljorg. This year NOPAL, a young Indianapolis Latino arts and culture organization, is partnering with the Eiteljorg to provide an upbeat experience including festive and thoughtful ofrendas; art created by local artists; a mercado; and a Katrina fashion show. NOPAL Musicians will entertain between performances by Anderson Ballet Folklorico. Visit with New Mexican tin artist Richard Gabriel Jr, and local contemporary papel picado artist Beatriz Schlebecker. Guests will get to create their own papel picado and tin ornament to take home.

    Freiteljorg with the ICO
    Date: October 31, 2014
    8 p.m. – Midnight
    Price: $20 for non Agave members, $30 at the door

    Guests can celebrate the opening of New Art 2.0 by partying until the witching hour in their most haunting attire. They will enjoy grown-up trick-or-treating (sample drinks from local vendors), while grooving to an unforgettable live mash-up of modern DJ experimental sounds and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. There will be an instrument “petting zoo,” costume contest and ghoulishly good food. (Costumes mimicking Native Americans or people of other races will not be tolerated.)

    New Art 2.0
    Dates: November 1 –January 4, 2015

    New Art 2.0 is an exhibition of prints by contemporary Native and Western artists, many of them Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellows. It is a blend of landscape, political and environmental statements as well as portraiture. There is something for everyone in this culturally and aesthetically diverse group. Approximately 80 limited edition prints will be on exhibit and available for sale with prices ranging between about $300 - $4,000. This exciting display of contemporary art is reasonably priced to help grow and nurture young museum patrons and collectors. Attached photo: Wendy Red Star (Crow), The (HUD) a two-color lithograph with archival pigment ink photographs on Rives BFK white. Paper size, 30’’ x 22 3/8’’. Collaborating printer, Frank Janzen, TMP. Edition 12.

    Running Bravely through Life: Olympian Billy Mills comes to Indianapolis
    Date: November 8, 2014
    1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

    Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills’ has led an incredible life. His journey started on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota in 1938. That journey took him from the reservation to the Olympic medal platform at the 1964 Tokyo Games, where he won the 10,000 meter run – the first Native American to ever win a gold medal. On  Saturday, November 8, the Eiteljorg Museum will present Running Bravely Through Life. The event will first feature "Running Brave," the movie about Mills’ journey to the Olympics. Following the film screening, Mills will take questions from audience members surrounding the movie, his fight against racism and his work as a humanitarian for Native American causes. Mills will also sign his book, Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding.

    Meet artist-in-residence, Shirley Brauker (Little River Band of Ottawa)
    Dates: November 8, 15, 22
    1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

    Shirley Brauker teaches pottery, traditional crafts, wilderness emergency survival, campfire cooking and traditional storytelling at Indian Village camps in Manistee, MI, an outdoor wilderness program for troubled Native youth. Shirley has also taught Native crafts, language and pottery workshops at Anishinabe Language Camp and at the Ziibiwing Cultural Center. Meet Shirley and learn about her art and culture on several Saturdays in November.

    Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure
    Dates: November 22 – January 18, 2015

    Enter a locomotive wonderland --a network of trestles, bridges and tunnels with chugging trains and wrapped up in holiday trimming. Jingle Rails is a journey to the Great American West – the real West and the West of the imagination. Watch seven trains wind past the local treasures of downtown Indianapolis, including the Eiteljorg, Monument Circle and the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The exhibit also features natural materials like twigs, moss and nuts that are molded and shaped into local sights and national landmarks like Mt. Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite Falls, Old Faithful and more.

    Thanksgiving Weekend
    Dates: November 28 – November 29
    Time: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

    Celebrate Thanksgiving Weekend at the Eiteljorg Museum. Watch artist demonstrations, listen as Teresa Webb (Anishinaabe) tells stories, create art, and see the museum’s annual holiday exhibit, Jingle Rails.

    Winter Market
    Date: December 6
    Time: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

    Shop the season’s best regional art market with handmade art from more than 30 artists. Winter Market features activities for the whole family.

  • Interning at the Eiteljorg | Heidi Brueckmann

    by Heidi Brueckmann | Aug 05, 2014

    My name is Heidi Brueckmann and I am a 21-year-old student at Indiana University. I will be a senior in the fall with majors in History of Art & Hispanic Literature and minors in Portuguese Language & Nonprofit Management. After graduation my goal is to attend graduate school so I can get my Masters in either Museum Studies or Art History. I have always been in love with any/all art museums and I know that a museum is where I want to be working when I start my career. When I found out that the Eiteljorg offered all different kinds of internships, I immediately sent in my resume. I was chosen, along with a recent IU grad, to be a Social Media Intern, working with Hyacinth Rucker.

    My time at the Eiteljorg started right before Indian Market & Festival, one of our largest annual events. Along with helping to update all of our social media channels during the event, I was asked to create and follow through with my own social media project for the weekend. I wanted to do something that showed creativity while also being relevant in today’s social media atmosphere. I am an artistic and visual person so I knew that I wanted to do something with photography, but I also wanted it to be something more than just taking photos of the event. As soon as I realized that I wanted to do something with photos, my mind immediately went to the ‘Humans of New York’ blog. I love the intimacy of the ‘Humans of New York’ photos and how the photographer is able to showcase so much of someone’s personality in one photograph. I came up with my project, titled ‘Humans of Indian Market,’ and spent the two days of the event walking around and talking to different visitors, guests, volunteers and staff members. I was thrilled with all of the feedback I received from Eiteljorg staff and event patrons. It was an amazing first experience putting my own content on our social media channels.

    After Indian Market & Festival things quieted down a little bit at the museum, but we were still hard at work in the social media department! I was put in charge of our Twitter, while still occasionally contributing to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Using Hootsuite, I was able to schedule tweets in advance, giving me the chance to think more strategically about what contest to post and at what times. For example, I initiated sending tweets to conventions in town and inviting them to the museum and I initiated tweeting about concerts/events at White River State Park, an easy promotion for our neighbors.

    I learned a lot at the Eiteljorg and felt like I was able to grow as a young professional through this internship. I had experience working with all different social media channels while also being given the opportunity to write a press release, work with video and photo editing, and more.

    The staff members at the Eiteljorg are some of the most genuine, kind, appreciative and helpful people with whom I have had the pleasure of learning and working with them. I always felt like I could talk to anyone about their position, even if it didn’t fall under my specific intern duties. I was able to work with the entire Marketing Department while also learning little bits and pieces about many different aspects of running a museum.

    Working at the Eiteljorg has been an amazing experience. I felt like my work was appreciated, my opinions were valued and my insights were taken into consideration. I highly recommend that any young professional take advantage of all of the volunteer opportunities and internships that the museum has to offer because there’s no telling where the connections and networking possibilities may take you in the future.

    Thank you to everyone at the Eiteljorg, but especially to the wonderful Marketing Department members - Hyacinth Rucker, Tamara Winfrey Harris, DeShong Perry-Smitherman and Bert Beiswanger.

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