Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • Hoops, flutes, strings and stories will electrify the Indian Market stage

    by Bryan Corbin, editor, Storyteller Magazine | Jun 02, 2017

    Over the years, some remarkable musicians, dancers and storytellers have graced the Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival stage: Robert Mirabal, Indigenous, Brulé, Pamyua, Nakota LaRance and many others. For the 25th annual Indian Market on June 24-25, two of the most requested acts make encore appearances: fiddle and flute player Arvel Bird, who performs as the “Celtic Indian,” and world champion hoop-dancer and flute player Tony Duncan. They each perform two sets both days.

    Arvel Bird (Southern Paiute) and Bearsheart Dancers (Lakota)

    The potent eclectic mix of music styles flying from the strings of Arvel Bird’s fiddle during his concerts will remind some listeners of epic Holly­wood films. “They can expect to see Braveheart meets Last of the Mohicans, at Woodstock,” Bird said of his performance on fiddle and Native American flute.

    Arvel Bird combines his dual heritage — Southern Paiute and Scottish — by fusing two music traditions into his original compositions. “I sing what would be classified as folk rock tunes, so you’ve got the instrumental element which is sweeping emotional kind of music, blended with songs of my Celtic and Native heritage,” he said.

    Arvel Bird (Southern Paiute), 2017 Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival performer - photo courtesy of Michael PawlukWith classical training on violin, Bird performed in country music, was a member of Glen Campbell's touring band for several years and was based in Nashville. Bird was deeply influ­enced by Appalachian and Creole fiddle, but later he discovered a Native American fiddle style, Métis — named for an Indigenous group that spans Canada and the United States who descend from the intermarriage of European, Cree, Ojibwe and other Indigenous ancestors to form their own distinct culture. In Métis social dancing, fiddle became the central instrument, he said, replacing the drum. “So (onstage) I tell the story of the evolution of Native fiddling, how it started, how it spread, who introduced it to different parts of country.”

    His series of Animal Totems CDs were suggested by fans who heard his onstage perfor­mances of unrecorded songs and urged him to record them. “The stories (the fans) tell me of their experience of my music is what’s rewarding for me; it reaffirms and validates why I’m on the road and why I’m bringing my music to the people and why I have chosen to play my own music instead of being in someone’s band and playing their music,” he said.

    Now based in Cottonwood, Ariz., Bird noted concert fans tell him his fiddle performances inspired them to take up violin lessons or resume playing the instrument after giving it up. “Music is what connects us, I believe, to the natural world, to the unseen world, to our higher selves,” he said.

    At this year’s market, Arvel Bird will be joined onstage by Bearsheart Dancers, who perform traditional and non-traditional Sioux dance styles and drumming.

    Arvel Bird performs at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on both Saturday June 24 and Sunday June 25 at the Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival.

    Tony Duncan (Apache/Arikara/Hidatsa)

    Mesmerizing is the only way to describe Tony Duncan’s hoop dancing. Onstage, his high-energy sequences of moves combine multiple spinning hoops to tell stories depicting shapes of animals and parts of nature. Duncan was a featured dancer in pop singer Nelly Furtado’s 2012 music video “Big Hoops,” and he toured with her in Europe and Asia. “The hoop dance is basically storytelling through dance,” Duncan said. “It’s definitely a very fun and energetic dance, but it also has a lot of meaning.”

    Tony Duncan (Apache, Arikara, Hidatsa), performer and hoop dancer at 2017 Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival, photo courtesy of Tony Duncan ProductionsHis performances mix hoop dance styles and flute playing. Having recorded several flute albums on Canyon Records, Duncan recently released his new CD, Purify, where he switched from his longtime instrument, the river cane flute which has high birdlike melodies, to playing bass cedar flute, which has a deep tone “that just resonates right into your soul,” Duncan said.

    From Mesa, Ariz., Duncan recalled how performing cedar flute at the Grand Canyon inspired the new recording. “I think back to that time when all the visitors were gone and I got to play the flute right at the edge of the Grand Canyon, and looking into the canyon and watching all the hawks soaring in and out, catching the breeze. So while I’m in the studio, I think of those memories that brought me balance.”

    At this year’s Indian Market, Duncan will teach some basic hoop-dancing moves. “It’s basically a way to celebrate life and to show our appreciation and gratitude for our ancestors and spread that ‘good medicine’ to the people,” he said of his performances.

    Tony Duncan performs at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on both Saturday June 24 and Sunday June 25 at the Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival.

    Both performances are included with regular admission to the 25th annual Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival on June 24-25 at 500 W. Washington St. Indianapolis. Please visit for more information and advance discount adult tickets.






  • Adams bequest continues to enhance richness of museum exhibitions

    by Bryan Corbin, editor of Storyteller magazine | May 01, 2017

    This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Storyteller magazine.

    During the three-month special exhibition Titan of the West: The Adams Collection of Western and Native American Art, thousands of Eiteljorg visitors were amazed by the Western paintings and Native objects that Houston busi­nessman Kenneth S. “Bud” Adams bequeathed to the museum in his will. The depth and breadth of the Adams bequest continues to enrich the museum’s exhibits and will inspire visitors for many years to come.


    Frank Tenney Johnson (American, 1874-1939)
    On the Camarillo Rancho, 1938
    Oil on canvas
    Bequest of Kenneth S. “Bud” and Nancy Adams

    In 2013 the museum inherited from Adams approximately 400 objects, including paintings, pottery, beadwork, weavings and other cultural items, the highlights of which were on public display during Titan of the West. Though the Adams exhibition closed Feb. 5, many of the works will be exhibited in the museum’s core galleries and elsewhere.

    First out of the gate is the Adams collection’s signature painting, the Frederic Remington oil entitled A Buck-jumper, ca. 1893. It will be on loan to the Denver Art Museum and then the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for The Western: An Epic in Art and Film beginning in May and running through early 2018. A Western action scene filled with movement as the cowboy rider strains to stay atop a bucking horse, the Remington painting is related to the artist’s exploration of the battle between nature and man as expressed in his iconic sculptures. 


    Frederic Remington
    A Buck-jumper, ca. 1893
    Oil on canvas
    Bequest of Kenneth S. "Bud" and Nancy Adams

    All of the other paintings from the Adams collection will stay at the Eiteljorg and many have been incorporated into the Western galleries. Some of the works are being con­served through a project made possible in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

    This is prelude to an even bigger change: By November 2018, the Western art galleries will be completely reinstalled, embracing the best of our collection from Harrison Eiteljorg, George Gund, Bud Adams and other donors to offer the public a much more exciting view of the Art of the West. 

    Among the many Adams collection works scheduled to go on exhibit are paintings by Frank Tenney Johnson, Charles Schreyvogel, William R. Leigh, Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt, Joseph Sharp and more. These striking paintings will complement other works exhibited in the Western galleries and will help visitors appreciate the increasing scope and quality of the museum’s collection as a whole. The Bud and Nancy Adams collection will have a continuing impact on Eiteljorg exhibitions; notably the Native American objects in the Adams gift will be incorporated into plans for changing the second-floor exhibits.


    Joseph Henry Sharp (American, 1859–1953)
    Shelling Corn—Taos, 1937–1938
    Oil on canvas
    Bequest of Kenneth S. "Bud" and Nancy Adams

    An enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, Bud Adams grew up in Oklahoma, attended Culver Military Academy, became a wealthy business executive in the Texas oil in­dustry and shaped professional football as a founder of the American Football League and owner of the NFL Tennessee Titans. An avid collector in his later years and proud of his Cherokee heritage, Bud Adams had an eye for paintings reflecting iconic Western scenes as well as Plains Indian art, while his wife Nancy Adams was particularly fond of landscapes of the West. 

    After Bud Adams’ death in 2013 at age 90, his unannounced bequest of his entire collection to the Eiteljorg came as a thunderbolt of good fortune to the museum. As the Eiteljorg gears up to redo its Western galleries in 2018 and Native American galleries by 2021, the Adams collection will play a significant role in the transformation of these exhibitions.

    When visitors streamed through the Titan of the West exhibition from Nov. 12 to Feb. 5, their sudden appreciation for the Adams’ generosity was reflected in their comments and long lingering pauses to gaze at paintings and objects, at times with unspoken awe. If you have not yet seen the Adams works, then look for several of them in the Western galleries, and see the Titan of the West book available in the museum store. And if you enjoyed the Titan of the West exhibition, visit the Eiteljorg again to get reacquainted with a few of these remarkable works.


    Thomas Moran (American, born in England, 1837-1926)
    The Grand Canyon, 1917
    Oil on canvas
    Bequest of Kenneth S. "Bud" and Nancy Adams

    Note: The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

  • Nde'bwe'twa - Place, Relationships, and Ceremony - By Artist Jason Wesaw (Pokagon Band of Potawatomi)

    by Curator Brie Stoltzfus | Dec 02, 2016
    In December, the City Gallery, in partnership with the Eiteljorg Museum and Sagamore Institute, will celebrate Indiana’s Bicentennial year with a show entitled “Nde'bwe'twa - Place, Relationships, and Ceremony.” On display will be works on paper by Potawatomi tribe member and artist Jason Wesaw. As part of the Pokagon Band, he is a member of the unique group of the Potawatomi who have remained on their traditional lands in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan.

    Because of their ability to remain on traditional land, Jason says, “the land itself is a direct connection to our ancestors...They lived here, died here, and are buried here. This place is home--we've continually inhabited these lands for many hundreds of years. And because we believe the spirits of our ancestors still roam around here and help us, we have a metaphysical means by which to re-learn our language, ceremonies, old songs, etc. These things reside in the rustling leaves in the woods, the gentle trickling of the water in the rivers, the way the birds sing talk to each other...this land teaches us who we are, just as much as human or story.”

    Artist Jason Wesaw

    The story of Indiana’s land extends even farther back in history than its two hundred years as a State; the Pokagon Band’s stories differ on how long they have been on their lands, but in the early 17th century European explorers recorded seeing the Potawatomi in the Great Lakes region.1

    Wesaw’s art celebrates the interconnection of his Tribe’s spirituality, worldview, and ceremonies by reinforcing how physical land is interwoven with the spiritual and non-tangible parts of life. His works on paper are strikingly modern, which is part of what drew me to his work as I researched potential artists for this show; Wesaw describes his work as a “minimalist re-interpretation” that “bridges traditional tribal craft and contemporary art.” Bright blocks of color, geometric shapes, and three-dimensional elements like tassels create mesmerizing visuals.

    Artist Jason Wesaw

    In abstracting and modernizing Tribal beliefs and symbols, Wesaw celebrates the ways that his ancestor’s knowledge “will continue to change as the world around us changes...but also how the ancient traditions and ceremonies of my people remain vital in the fast-paced world we live in today.” In this way, he pictorializes the ways ancient beliefs endure and adapt throughout time.

    In conjunction with the City Gallery Show, Wesaw will be the Eiteljorg Museum’s resident artist from November 29 through December 3, where he’ll be creating a couple of pieces inspired by his time in Indianapolis, which will then be included in “Nde'bwe'twa - Place, Relationships, and Ceremony.”

    As curator, I had the pleasure of getting to see the thoughtfulness and sincerity with which Wesaw approaches his craft and the excitement he has to share his heritage with others in a beautiful way; it’s been an honor to help bring these pieces to the City Gallery.

    Along with the City Gallery, Eiteljorg Museum, and Sagamore Institute, I invite you to learn more about an integral part of Indiana’s history, culture, and people, on December 2.

    Bio: Brie Stoltzfus, on behalf of the Sagamore Institute, worked as curator to develop this Indiana Bicentennial event at the City Gallery.


  • Quest for the West artist Doug Hyde

    by The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art | Oct 04, 2016

    Hyde 2016

    Doug Hyde

    Born 1946 in Hermiston, Oregon; lives in Prescott, Arizona

    Daybreak Star
    2016, bronze, edition of 21, 24 x 12 x 10 inches

    Daybreak Star, a Nez Perce woman named for the morning star. A blessing prayer as she faces the new day dressed in her finest clothes. “Great Spirit, hear me, four quarters of the world. A relative I am. Give me strength to walk the earth softly. May I walk the good road.” This promise is repeated daily to give thanks.

    INSPIRED BY THE LORE he learned as a youth from his grandfather and other tribal elders, Doug Hyde, whose heritage includes Nez Perce, Assiniboine, and Chippewa, expresses Indian mythology and spirit through his sculpture. Hyde attended the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in the early 1960s, and then the San Francisco Art Institute on scholarship. He enlisted in the Army and was seriously injured during his second Vietnam tour. During his convalescence, he learned to use power tools to cut and shape stone.

    When he returned to Santa Fe in 1972 to teach at IAIA, he brought with him the ability to transform his ideas into three-dimensional objects. Sculpting in stone and bronze remain the passion and focus of his life. In 1998, one of his sculptures was installed at the White House. In 2008, his bronze, Little Turtle, was purchased for the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s Cultural Resource Center. Hyde has focused most of his efforts in the past decade to help Native American tribes tell their stories with sculptures for their cultural centers. He is also sponsoring a mentor program with these tribes to work with him in his studio.

    Notable Awards and Achievements

    2014       Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Quest for the West, Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award
    2014       Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Quest for the West, Cyrus Dallin Award for Best Sculpture
    2013       Gilcrease Museum, Collectors’ Reserve, Williams Award for Best Sculpture
    2013       Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Quest for the West, Eiteljorg Keepsake
    2012       Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Quest for the West, Cyrus Dallin Award for Best Sculpture
    2011       Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Quest for the West, Artist of Distinction Award
    2011       Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Quest for the West, Patrons’ Choice Award for People
    2011       Autry Museum of the American West, Masters of the American West, Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation Award for Sculpture
    2009       Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Quest for the West, Cyrus Dallin Award for Best Sculpture
    2008       Autry Museum of the American West, Masters of the American West, Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation Award for Sculpture


    National Sculpture Society, Fellow and Member, Board of Directors

    Gallery Representation

    Berlin Gallery, Phoenix, Arizona
    Claggett/Rey Gallery, Vail, Colorado
    Hayden Hays Gallery, Colorado Springs, Colorado
    The Legacy Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Jackson, Wyoming
    Medicine Man Gallery, Tucson, Arizona
    Nedra Matteucci Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico

  • Quest for the West artist Karin Hollebeke

    by The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art | Oct 04, 2016

    Hollebeke 2016

    Karin Hollebeke

    Born 1949 in Wolfsburg, Germany; lives in Vernal, Utah

    Tall Tales Retold
    2016, oil, 24 x 30 inches

    The wagon was the cowboy’s home away from home. It was the center around which trail drives and roundups operated during a time when fences were few and grass was free. As evening falls, the men gather around the fire and time is spent yarning tales, when surprising wit is revealed in the most reluctant cowhands who have played the strong and silent part all day. The campfire seems to kindle the humorous twist of mind, and the expressiveness unique to the cowboy’s speech reveals itself. Stories may run from the eloquent to the nonsensical, perhaps Tall Tales Retold.

    A WESTERN PAINTER and sculptor for more than thirty years, Hollebeke lives, paints, and ranches in Utah. There she experiences a frontier lifestyle as exciting as her paintings, which depict events in the Old West. She finds that ranching life helps her capture authentic details in her dramatic scenes.

    Hollebeke first became interested in art while in her teens. After her family moved from Germany to El Paso, Texas, she learned about ranch life firsthand, an experience that sparked her interest in Western art.

    To pursue her interest in sculpture, Hollebeke studied with sculptor Ed Fraughton, an opportunity she describes as “learning the basics from the best.” Tom Lovell, another veteran Western artist, influenced her painting style. She found his candor “devastating” but found that his advice helped her find her own style, which has earned her international recognition.

    Gallery Representation

    The Legacy Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Jackson, Wyoming

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