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  • Eiteljorg employee makes a difference just by playing the banjo

    by Jordan Stout, Eiteljorg visitor experience assistant | Jun 10, 2013


    This banjo - usually housed in a storage drawer - helped a 9-year-old boy with disabilities celebrate one of his best birthdays ever.

    A little boy came to the Eiteljorg Saturday afternoon. Turned out I knew his favorite songs on the banjo, "Baby Beluga" and "Old Dan Tucker." When I played for him he danced until he burst into tears from laughter. Then when I asked him if he wanted to play he didn't take the pause needed to say yes before picking it up and starting to figure out how. At this latest - his mother froze, looking shocked. I hadn't noticed until then that the boy had limited use of his arms and wrists. His mother never imagined he could do something like play an instrument, but there he was playing away and laughing. So I quickly ran to grab others and an hour later I still couldn't have pried my ukulele away from him if I dared.

    Turned out, Saturday was his birthday. He had just turned nine. He said it was one of his best. He was unhappy to leave the museum but his mother said he and their family had a wonderful experience.

    Happy birthday little dude! Come back to the museum anytime and we'll jam to any song you want.
    The Eiteljorg later received a wonderful email from the boy's mother - grateful about her son's experience and his time with Jordan:

    "...Our family met one of your employees named Jordan Stout. Mr Stout not only wowed us with his musical talents on the banjo and uke but he was patient, informative and kind with my kids, one of which has a disability called Williams Syndrome. My husband and I both agree, meeting Mr Stout and being entertained and educated by him, was definitely the highlight for our family's trip to your museum..."

    Jordan Stout (pictured above) is a visitor experience assistant at the Eiteljorg. He has a deep love for playing music, especially ukulele and banjo. He enjoys the opportunity to play whenever possible for families who visit the Museum's RB Annis Experience located on the Canal level.

    Each Saturday from noon to 2 p.m., children and adults can take free guitar lessons at the Eiteljorg. If you don't own an instrument, no problem. We have 19 guitars and ukekeles from which to choose in our Guitars! corral. And don't forget to check out Guitars! Roundups to Rockers, where more than 100 instruments are on exhibit, including this 2013 Cutaway Tenor Ukulele (loan courtesy of Mya-Moe Ukeleles).

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  • The mating advantage of male musicians - Why all guys should play guitar

    by Zach Brown, Eiteljorg marketing/PR intern | Jun 05, 2013

    As a 20-something single guy, I’ve heard the old adage of “chicks dig a man who can sing” plenty of times. But does playing an instrument or musical ability really make a man more attractive to an interested woman? According to a study in France, it actually does, and later on I’ll tell you where to get free guitar lessons and be on your way to winning that lucky lady’s heart.

    In this particular experiment, a 20-year-old man was instructed to approach 300 women on the shopping streets of a medium-sized French city (population roughly 70,000) and ask for their phone number. The man was carrying a guitar case, a sports bag or nothing at all. The study showed that 31 percent of women gave the man their phone number when he was carrying the guitar case, while only 9 percent gave their number when he held the sports bag. When the man was empty-handed, 14 percent complied with his request.

    The conductors of this research hypothesized that the guitar case condition would yield a more favorable response from the women whom the man approached. Their hypothesis was not only supported by the results, but by me as well.

    There are plenty of ways that guys use to capture the heart and attention of lady, whether he’s good with music, sports, animals or kids (kudos to the guy who brought his son on the season premiere of ABC’s The Bachelorette). However, musical ability is special because it exudes a unique combination of confidence, compassion and intellect. In addition, the musician or “rock star” image is appealing because some woman my associate it with wealth and status (PSmag.com).

    I know what you might be thinking now: “What about sports guys? They get wealth and status, too!” Indeed they do, but the ability to play guitar lasts longer than the ability to throw a football or dunk a basketball. Athletes may also have the task of dispelling the wildly inaccurate “dumb jock” stereotype, a generalization to which I refuse to subscribe.

    The bottom line is that a music guy may be more likely to make a deep, emotional connection than someone who can’t play a note to save his life (i.e. - Me). According to Tom Jacobs of Pacific Standard, ladies see a musician as someone who is potentially willing to practice and work at something. To me, this could mean willingness to put in the effort for a relationship.
    So gentlemen, if you have musical ability, use it. You can thank me later. And to those of you who don’t, never fret (10 Cool Points if you got the guitar pun), there’s still time to learn! You can get guitar lessons from 12-2 p.m., every Saturday during the run of Guitars! Roundups to Rockers, at the Eiteljorg by Benito DiBartoli (pictured here) of the band Black Voodoo. He's an expert player who works with anyone interested in learning. Lessons are free with the price of admission. And the Museum has plenty of extra guitars if you don't have your own! Don’t forget to check out our Guitars: Roundups to Rockers exhibit as well.


    Zach Brown is an Eiteljorg marketing/PR intern and a senior at Ball State University. He is single.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    References:
    "Men's Music Ability and Attractiveness to Women in a Real-life Courtship
    Context." Psychology of Music (2013): 1-5. 1 May 2013. 28 May 2013

    Jacobs, Tom. "The Mating Advantage of Male Musicians." Pacific Standard. Psmag.com, 6 May 2013. 28 May 2013.

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  • Inside Indian Market & Festival: Meet Native artist Jody Naranjo

    by Guest post by Jody Naranjo (Santa Clara Pueblo) | May 31, 2013
    Two-time Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival Best of Show winner Jody Naranjo offers a glimpse inside Market from an artist’s perspective. 


     

    The third weekend in June has become a significant time for me. Not only have I been fortunate with awards and sales, it’s a reunion for artists, collectors, museum volunteers and the Eiteljorg staff. Many of us travel a long way in hopes of selling our work and creating new connections with collectors. We also hope to have fun. The wonderful “Hoosier hospitality” definitely makes us feel welcome – and favorites like the Slippery Noodle and St Elmo help us feel like we’re home away from our homes.

      

    I am an 8th generation potter from Santa Clara Pueblo located in Northern New Mexico. I make a contemporary form, but still use traditional materials and techniques. We dig our clay from ancestral ground, burnish with a river bed stone and fire using wood and cow manure. 

    From Contemporary Native American Artists by Suzanne Deats
    Photograph by Kitty Leaken

    Last year, for the 20th anniversary of the Eiteljorg Indian Market, I was honored to be the signature artist. My drawing, Native Art Goes to Indy, was my interpretation of the annual market: a Native American jeweler, painter and potter stand in front of a vibrant Indianapolis skyline. I was inspired after seeing the skyline used on Superbowl posters and pins. The outlines of the buildings reminded me of pueblos. I was proud to see Native Art Goes to Indy in ads and on the programs and also to see my animals, which were used on the t-shirt and at the hands-on family activity area.

      

    Over the years, the Eiteljorg Market has grown, but it maintains the reunion feeling. It is great to see old friends and to make new friends. We artists are grateful to be so openly welcomed.

    Thank you Indy!

    Jody 

    Come meet Jody and other artists on Saturday and Sunday, June 22-23 at Indian Market and Festival! Purchase your $8 tickets on our website by clicking this LINK.

     

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  • "But what about Van Halen?" A peek at how we assembled GUITARS

    by Johanna Blume, Assistant Curator of Western Art | May 30, 2013

    guitars on display
     Guitars! Roundups to Rockers runs through Aug. 4 at the Eiteljorg Museum.

    It’s hard to believe Guitars! has been open for nearly three months! Since the opening, it’s been great to watch visitors interact with the exhibit, and to hear their comments and feedback. One oft-asked question is why we don’t have certain guitars in the exhibit. There are many reasons why you’ll see some guitars when you visit the Eiteljorg, and just as many reasons why you won’t find others. It's a complicated process that involves hunting, hoping, rejection and triumphs!

    THE HUNT...

    As a curator, I hunt for objects to include in an exhibit. Our team began with a dream list of all the guitars we would include if we had our pick of every guitar ever made. There were literally hundreds of guitars on that list, spanning time periods, geography, and genre. Of course, all exhibits are produced within limits on the time, budget, and space. So while our dream list was quite expansive, we knew we couldn’t accommodate every one of those guitars. And there was never any guarantee we’d even be able to find, let alone secure many of those instruments as loans. Obtaining an object for an exhibit is a complicated, multi-step process that requires finding the objects through research, filling out detailed loan paperwork, and arranging for objects located around the country to be shipped here to Indianapolis. It took more than a year for our dedicated exhibit team to work through all of these steps.

    THE HOPE and REJECTION...
    We spent months running down leads in the hope of securing guitars representing greats like Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana, Billy Gibbons, Eddie Van Halen, and Joni Mitchell. In some cases, we were never able to make contact with an artist in order to make “the ask.” But even when we did connect, the answer wasn’t always “yes.” Many artists use all of their guitars on a regular basis. To be parted from them, even for six months, was not possible. In some cases, important guitars are held by other museums and are crucial components of their own exhibits and programs. And some guitars have simply disappeared over time.

    THE TRIUMPH!
    But for all of the dead ends, “No ways!” and missed connections, there were just as many triumphs. One of my most exciting moments came when I stumbled across the email address for the management company of the band The Decemberists. I’d been hoping to include one of their guitars in order to talk about guitar music today, and the thriving music scenes in the Pacific Northwest.

                                              G&L Electric Guitar; Loan courtesy of Chris Funk.

    It seemed like a long shot, but I wrote up a request detailing what the exhibit was about, and sent it. After all, the answer is always no until you ask. Within two hours I’d received a warm note from their manager expressing Chris Funk’s enthusiasm for the project and willingness to loan a guitar. While  it took time to finalize the details of the loan and shipping, we had the guitar confirmed by the end of the week. As you can see from the picture, I was excited to finally unpack Chris Funk's guitar! 

    That’s just one example of how we obtained the instruments you’ll find in Guitars! We were incredibly fortunate to work with private collectors and museums over the course of our search. There wouldn’t be an exhibit without their willingness to loan the amazing objects you’ll find in the gallery. While the process certainly had its ups and downs, I’ve never had as much fun working on an exhibit as I have had with Guitars! In the end, we hope that we can create engaging, exciting exhibits that appeal to our visitors and deepen their appreciation of the art, history, and cultures of the American West.

    Johanna Blume
    Assistant Curator of Western Art

    Go comment!




  • Inside Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival: How artists are selected

    by Jaq Nigg, Eiteljorg festival and events manager | May 27, 2013
    Indian Market includes an evening opening party and two full days of performances, food, cultural activities and, of course, art sales. We always point out that artists must be Native American and selected into the show, but what exactly does that mean?


    Artist: Darance Chimerica (Hopi)

    Being “Indian”
    Artists have to show a tribal enrollment card or an authorized letter from their tribe to prove they’re Indian. There’s a law. The Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, enforced by the U.S. Department of the Interior, was introduced to protect Indian artists from non-Indians trying to capitalize on their cultures by making it illegal to offer for sale any product that falsely suggests it is Indian produced. Legally, “Indian” is defined as “a member of any federally or state recognized tribe or an individual certified as an Indian artisan by a recognized tribe.” There are uncomfortable gray areas involving historical tribes that are no longer legally recognized. An example close to home is the Miami Indians of Indiana. Simply put, organizations like the Eiteljorg have to follow the law.


    Artist: Judy Tafoya (Santa Clara Pueblo)

    The fun part: artist selection
    Each February, a crack team gathers to review a couple thousand slides representing all of the artists hoping to be selected to Market. The team is made up of Eiteljorg curators, a jury of experts in Native art and the Eiteljorg festivals team (you know, to order coffee and bring snacks). Artwork is judged for craftsmanship and originality. The selectors must assign a score from one to five, without the option of a three. Over the years, I’ve learned so much just listening. Toward the end of the day discussions can get silly, but most offer master-class-level commentary on art, history and cultures. I am lucky to be a fly on that wall.


    Artist: Dallin Maybee (Northern Arapaho/Seneca)

    Math is Hard
    Once the selectors have done their work, I tabulate the scores for each division. We get more submissions in some categories than in others so we use a curve. For example, a higher percentage of jewelry artists apply so they must receive higher scores to be accepted. It’s a very selective process and many great artists don’t make the cut. We encourage those artists to try again.


    Artist: Ernest Benally (Navajo/Diné)

    What comes next?
    We work all year on Market, but once the artist letters go out, the countdown really begins. They keep us on our toes with questions and suggestions. They want the market to be successful and prosperous for themselves and for us. We do everything that we can to make sure they are taken care of. I always say one of my favorite parts of the market is that, although the artists are our guests, the Eiteljorg and the artists come together to host our visitors.

    Don’t miss your chance to meet this year’s selected artists on June 22-23 in Military Park! For more details, visit the festivals and events section of our website.  


    Artist: Marty Gradolf (Winnebago of Nebraska)

    See you there!
    Jaq Nigg
    Eiteljorg festival and events manager



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