Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • Upping your art intake

    by Claire Quimby, Eiteljorg intern | Jul 02, 2013

    Climbing the stairs to the second floor at the Eiteljorg, you are likely to be drawn to the large steatite Buffalo Dancer sculpture by Doug Hyde before making your way to the main galleries. It’s easy to miss a very intriguing work located in this foyer. Tucked in the corner, like you used to see in the entry of every bar and restaurant, is a shiny cigarette vending machine.
    Did you do a double-take? Aren’t cigarette machines a thing of the past? And why would a museum be promoting tobacco consumption? This isn’t an ordinary cigarette vending machine – it’s an Art-o-Mat. The Art-o-Mat is a “fine arts vending machine,” refurbished and given a new purpose by artists Clark Whittington and Reed Maxwell. Whittington and Maxwell have reclaimed over 100 vintage machines and stocked them not with cigarettes, but small works of art for purchase.
    Clark Whittington unloading a machine to be refurbished.

    The machine itself is a beautiful piece of industrial design (check out a gallery of their machines here). What’s inside is equally cool. Spend $5, pull a knob, and the Art-o-Mat will deliver you a piece of mini art from one of ten featured artists – anything from prints and paintings to small ceramics, pendants, and even tiny quilts.

    A sampling of artworks for sale from the Art-o-Mat
    The inner workings of the Art-o-Mat

    It’s fun to pull the knob and claim your prize, but with the Art-o-Mat, you’re engaging in a different type of consumption from your typical vending machine purchase. Art feeds your brain and your soul. It’s good for you. And $5 in this vending machine isn’t just a monetary transaction. The Art-o-Mat helps disseminate the work of talented individuals. It also encourages people to appreciate something small but significant – a work that arose out of someone’s creativity and inspiration.artomat whittington
    Whittington helped found Artists in Cellophane, an organization dedicated to promoting art consumptions and making art more approachable.

    It’s amazing to see those kinds of benefits from an old cigarette vending machine. In fact, I think that’s the wonderful thing about the Art-o-Mat. Sometimes we think of art as being a thing you find within a museum or a gallery, something you see on a special outing, or something you have to go out of your way to experience. The Art-o-Mat is all about distributing art to the world through a mundane machine, making it commonplace and easier to enjoy. And we should enjoy art everyday – not just the days we spend in museums. If you can’t get to an Art-o-Mat (here’s a map of the 100+ machines nationwide), don’t worry. Here are a few ideas from our staff on other ways to get your daily dose of art:

     -          Scan the flyers and handbills posted at your favorite coffee shop. Local budding artists are always looking for new audiences.
     -          Step outside your usual routine and listen to a new genre of music.
     -          Stop to admire a public sculpture.
     -          Go the digital route and add a Daily Dose of Art to your Facebook newsfeed.
     -          Browse your favorite artist or medium online – many museums now offer access to their collections through their websites. (I like perusing the costume collection on the MET website.)
    -          Engage your inner artist and make something!

    Art is not something confined to a frame or inside a gallery. It is in everything and everywhere, but it is up to us and how we perceive beauty and novelty. – Paulina Constancia of


    Claire Quimby
    Eiteljorg intern

    Go comment!

  • Recapping the 2013 Eiteljorg Indian Market & Festival

    by By Jaq Nigg, festivals and markets manager | Jun 28, 2013

    Every June, the Eiteljorg brings gifted Native American artists and performers together with visitors for a celebration of Native American cultures. It’s a culmination of yearlong efforts as well as a “family reunion” for artists, museum staff and visitors. There’s always so much to see and do. Here are a few of the things I saw and did.

    Indian Market and Festival weekend started early Friday morning with artists arriving for judging and setting up in Military Park.

    Friday evening’s Preview Party is the official kick off of the weekend. Many of the artists were there and it was a wonderful and relaxed opportunity to spend time with them before the business of the weekend took over. The Best of Show Exhibit gave a chance to see all the prize winning artwork in one place, including Best of Show, Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award and the Helen Cox Kersting Award. Complete list of prize winners.

    Beadwork portrait, Gentleman Jim by Summer Peters (Saginaw Ojibwe Tribe of Michigan) won Best of Show. It was Summer’s first time at the Eiteljorg Indian Market!

    Potters, Pahponee (Kickapoo/Potawatomi) and Dominique Toya (Jemez Pueblo), admire the Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award winner, Love Gun, by Susan Folwell (Santa Clara Pueblo)

    Early Saturday morning, collectors and visitors lined up along the lovely canal path and West Street. Artists hurried to get to their booths and the sun warmed the day – but not too warm! A pleasant breeze and the shade trees kept things comfortable. As artists opened their booths and greeted each other, museum staff whizzed around on golf carts doing final tasks. Volunteers provided coffee, fruit, bagels and ice to the artists. The performers finished their sound checks. The food vendors started cooking and the media came for interviews. We were ready to open!


    Main admissions at 10am.

    I talked on camera to WTHR (NBC-Indianapolis) before Shelley Morningsong played her flute.

    The first stop for many visitors was the artist tents. Some artists sell out so it’s important to visit favorites early. Other popular destinations included the Dogbane Family Activity Area where kids of all ages created their own artwork to take home; the Delaware encampment and, of course, the performance tent.

    Rumors spread that artists seemed to be selling well: potter Jody Naranjo (Santa Clara Pueblo) only had two small pots left by Noon; Peter Boome (Upper Skagit) sold a bentwood box; sculptor Mark Fischer (Oneida) barely had anything left by the end of the weekend; jewelers Sharon and Richard Abeyta’s (Santo Domingo Pueblo) tables were always crowded; jeweler Jolene Bird (Santo Domingo Pueblo) charmed the Eiteljorg store folks with her sleek and funky inlay jewelry.

    Shoppers crowd the artist tents.

    Visitors discovered delicate jewelry, colorful kachina carvings, musical instruments, large sculptures and more. The food vendors kept busy throughout the day, selling Indian tacos, papusas, ice cream and, our favorites to cool down in the afternoon, lavender lemonade and Melmosas.

    The weekend was picture perfect – until about 3:30 pm on Sunday when ominous clouds in the West threatened and we made the tough decision to close the market early for the safety of visitors, artists, volunteers and staff.

    As artists packed up their artwork, they hugged lingering visitors goodbye; wishing them a great year until they return next June to see them again.

     If you missed this year’s Indian Market and Festival, make sure to mark your calendar for next year’s festival: June 21-22, 2014.

    Please share your own stories about the 2013 Indian Market and Festival. And, if you haven’t had a chance to fill out our visitor survey, please do.

    Festivals and markets manager, Jaq Nigg wants to say a big THANK YOU to all of the artists who come from so far and who are so wonderful; to all of the volunteers who work so hard and keep smiling; to all of our vendors who are the best at what they do and have my back when I forget something; and to the rest of the Eiteljorg staff who make being the Indian Market grand poobah the best job in the entire museum. A special tip of the cap to Erinn Wold and Lisa Watt who are crazy good at being my team.

    Go comment!

  • 2013 Indian Market and Festival signature artist Todd Bordeaux

    by Todd Bordeaux, 2013 Indian Market & Festival signature artist | Jun 19, 2013

    2013 Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival signature artist, Todd Bordeaux writes about the importance of art.
    todd bordeaux
    I have a hard time saying that I create anything, for grandmother earth creates everything necessary for life. I rearrange natural, synthetic and found objects to mold beautiful, historical and sometimes controversial ideas into what is called fine art. There is no word for art in the traditional Lakota (Sioux) language, and my own understanding of art has no single, simple definition.

    I view art as a gift, a privilege and a responsibility to the ancient ones to carry on our original philosophy; our indigenous ideas of spirituality; and to correct historical inaccuracies. Having the opportunity to tell the stories of the original peoples of Turtle Island is truly inspirational. My fertility poles are one example of how my art communicates the teachings of our elders. Where today’s dominant culture is often male-centric, original indigenous philosophy revolved around honoring women with ceremonies for their health and the health of generations yet to come. The fertility pole contains amulets imbued with power representing all four genders acknowledging and honoring our homosexual, lesbian, and transgender brothers and sisters. These original teachings existed long before Columbus.  They are ancient ideas that today’s mainstream culture is just starting to accept. My work allows me to express new and ancient ideas; opening a pathway for humanity to evolve in a natural way. Art can help forge a strong and healthy culture.

    Art is also important for individual development. I view art as a way of constructing our own reality. When I complete a piece and a viewer sees and feels my intention—when they really get it—that interaction is illuminating and satisfying.  I hang photos of my grandmas and grandpas over my work space so they can see what I am doing and so that I remember and honor them. I want them to be proud of me; they influence all of my work. Wanting to impress our elders, our mother, father, our teachers, this is a childish bliss, yet very important for personal growth I believe this is achievable through the arts.

    Great art is the marker of great cultures. The ancient ones possessed incredible art unprecedented even today, and on such a grand scale it completely bewilders the mind. Studying it – some of it 10,000 years old – humbles and teaches me. It resonates for millennia. When we study ancient cultures, what do we look at? We look at their art. Generations from now they will study us by reviewing what artists create today. Art resonates... it lasts, remember that.

    Aho hecetu welo!   
    Todd LoneDog Bordeaux                        

    Todd Bordeaux was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is of German, Polish, and Sicangu Lakota heritage. He lives and creates on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation on the same homestead where his father, grandparents, great grandparents, and great great grandparents lived. Bordeaux states that art has changed his life, and since starting his fine art career at age 30 he has won 50 major awards in juried shows, including the prestigious Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award in 2012.

    Stop by to visit – and have a deep philosophical conversation – with Todd at Indian Market and Festival, June 22-23.


    Go comment!

  • Insider tips for Indian Market and Festival

    by Claire Quimby, Eiteljorg festivals and markets intern | Jun 18, 2013

    It’s the final countdown to Indian Market and Festival on Saturday and Sunday June 22 and 23, and the tempo around the Eiteljorg festivals department is rapidly gaining speed. Surrounded by all the behind-the-scenes preparations, I suppose I ought to feel like an expert, but I’ve never actually been to Indian Market. I know I’m not the only one, so I’ve gathered together some insider tips from our veteran market-goers to share.
    Indiana market welcome packets
    1. Consider attending the Friday Night
    Preview Party.

    The Best of Show exhibit alone is worth the ticket price. This is the only opportunity to see all of the prize winning art on display. The food by Kahn’s Catering is fantastic and it’s fun to visit with the artists and their families before the weekend hubbub starts. Like, really fun. They’re cool and funny and a little punchy from traveling. You’ll also be granted VIP early bird shopping on Saturday morning, which is no small thing when you’re racing to get to your favorite artist’s booth before someone else snatches up all the best pieces. (2012 preview party pictures below)


    Indian Market preview party

    2. Use the event program to plan your day.

     You don’t have to miss a performance or get lost on your way to buy food tickets if you use the schedule and map in this handy guide. There are also in-depth profiles of several of the top artists as well as our performers. And lots of pretty pictures.
    indian market 2013 cover

    3. Come early to stake out seats in the entertainment tent.

    Things get going first thing with Brian Buchannan, Chief of the Miami Indians of Indiana offering an official welcome and prayer to the artists and visitors. Then it’s nonstop storytelling, music and dance until the gates close. Checkout the jam-packed schedule here.  

    4. Did someone mention food?

     Everyone says Indian tacos are a must for lunch. Check. But I need to plan out what to eat the second day of market or, realistically, as a mid-afternoon snack on the first day. I was told to look no further than the Mexican food vendor whose tamales, quesadillas and pupusas are beyond excellent. Apparently, the kettle corn is awesome too. And I’m sure I won’t be able to deny the lure of Baskin Robbins ice cream on an Indiana day in June. From all reports, you can’t go wrong with any of the food. And, if you’re looking for a shady retreat in between activities, the historic shelterhouse on the east side of the park is a great place to hang out with a cold drink – especially a frozen café melmoso from Hubbard and Cravens.


    5. Take time to chat with the artists

    Indian Market isn’t just a place to buy art – it’s an opportunity to engage with people with different cultural backgrounds and interesting knowledge to share. Even if you’re not planning to shop, the artists are really neat people and are excited to talk with you about what they do.

    6. The Dogbane Family Activity Area isn’t just for kids

    The Eiteljorg’s crack team in the education and public programs departments has come up with fun museum-based art activities for all ages to make and take home. You can color guitar fans and make guitar pick pendants, create ledger art and create sgraffito “scratch art.”


    7. The Eiteljorg Museum

    Not only does the Eiteljorg building offer the comfort of air conditioning and flushing toilets, there’s a lot to do and see inside the museum – and it’s free with admission to Indian Market. Check out the Guitars! exhibit; visit our western galleries, the contemporary art galleries and the Native American galleries; climb aboard a real stagecoach; get something to eat in the café; get your official Indian Market and Festival t-shirt in the store.

     8. Finally: buy your tickets in advance!

    Okay, this is my own tip, and I’ve already revealed my newbie status, but even an amateur knows that you shouldn’t pay more than you have to. You’ll pay $2 less per ticket than if you buy them at the gate. That’s $2 more for artwork and food. You can get them online here or at Marsh stores. 

    Claire Quimby
    Eiteljorg festivals and markets intern

    Go comment!

  • 2013 Indian Market and Festival schedule

    by Jaq Nigg, Eiteljorg festival and markets manager | Jun 17, 2013

    So Much to See and Do!

    This Saturday and Sunday (June 22 and 23), Military Park will be rocking to drums and Native American flute at the 21st annual Indian Market and Festival. It’s time to prepare.

    The sweet smell of frybread will fill the air, while artists show off their creations and kids frolic through the misting tent.


    Don’t miss a chance to browse the artist booths; make guitar pick jewelry in the family activity area; listen to the storyteller; rock out; and then get something to eat. Whew! It’s a lot, but you can do it! 

    The best way to head into the weekend is with an action plan. Here’s the entertainment schedule to get you started.

    Saturday and Sunday

    Main Stage

    10:30 a.m.       Welcome and Prayer
    11 a.m.            Fred Shaw (Shawnee), storyteller      
    Noon                Shelley Morningsong with Fabian Fontenelle
    1 p.m.              Tony Duncan and Estun-Bah
    2 p.m.              Twin Rivers
    3 p.m.              Shelley Morningsong with Fabian Fontenelle
    4 p.m.              Tony Duncan and Estun-Bah

    Cultural Presentations and Demonstrations
    All day             Delaware encampment         

    11–Noon          SD Youngwolf (Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokee), sculpture demo
    12–2:30           Daniel Bigay (Cherokee), cultural items demo
    12:30–1           Fred Shaw, storytelling          
    1:30–2             Todd Bordeaux (Sicangu-Lakota), beadwork demo
    2:30–3             Fred Shaw, storytelling
    3–3:30             Adrian Wall and Ed Kabotie, music demo

    Advance sale tickets are available at Marsh Supermarkets, at the Eiteljorg and on the museum website. Visit the Eiteljorg website for more information.

     Festivals manager Jaq Nigg will celebrate her 12th Indian Market & Festival on a golf cart; with a walkie talkie against her ear; and eating as many Indian tacos as is humanly possible. She has to, it’s her job.

    Go comment!
© Eiteljorg Museum. All rights reserved.