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  • From Slave to Cowboy | Nat Love's story comes to life this Saturday at the Eiteljorg

    by Eiteljorg Museum Public Programs | Feb 17, 2014
    Join us at 1:30 p.m., this Saturday, Feb. 22, to experience storyteller Rochel Coleman as he recreates the life and times of African American cowboy Nat Love in a series of stories based on Love’s autobiography. 


    Nat Love, born a slave in Tennessee, went west at the age of 15 to seek freedom and equal opportunity. He earned the name "Deadwood Dick" on July 4, 1876 by being the best cowboy in a competition which included roping, riding and shooting. Nat took on all comers and was the best at every event in the competition. He was also called "Red River Dick" when he was instrumental in heading cattle drives from Texas to Kansas. He had the distinguished position of chief brand reader, which ranked him as an outstanding cattleman. He was one of the most prominent black cowboys in the early history of the West. The attitude regarding race relations between cowboys were non-existent at that time. For most people, a cowboy was a cowboy. "Deadwood Dick" was a bronco-buster, sharpshooter and one of the most trusted cowboys of his era. In his days as a cowboy, he was befriended by many of the noted ‘bad men’ of the time, such as Billy the Kid, the James Brothers, and Bat Masterson. He was also adopted by more than one Indian tribe.

    About Storyteller Rochel Coleman
    Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Rochel started singing professionally at

    the age of nine. With the Men and Boys’ Choir of Christ Church Cathedral and then with the Berkshire Boys’ Choir, he distinguished himself as a soloist, performing with Pablo Cassals, King’s College Choir, and the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood. Opening the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, he had his first taste of acting. He toured with the show for two years, ending the run at Lincoln Center in New York City. Rochel continued to study music and drama at Indiana University and toured several operas under the direction of the Indiana School of Music. From St. Richard’s School, to Brebeuf Preparatory School, and finally at Colorado College, he continued to have an interest in drama, participating in regional productions. Rochel worked on a number of daytime dramas. When the opportunity came to study at Trinity Repertory Conservatory, he moved to Providence, RI. Rochel continues to expand his achievements through writing and directing.

    Source for this post:
    Supplemental curriculum guide for teachers for Rochel Coleman's performance of "I, Nat Love | The Story of Deadwood Dick."

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  • Stories of Cultural Diversity | Meet Storyteller Joanna Winston

    by Linda Montag-Olson, Eiteljorg public programs manager | Feb 13, 2014

    Joanna Winston
     
    Two historical characters of the West spring to life as actor/storyteller Joanna Winston shares their stories with delighted audiences. Winston is part of the Eiteljorg Museum to Classroom project, made possible with funding from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and Citizens Energy Group. Through the generosity of our sponsors, there is no charge for schools hosting Winston in the classroom.

    Winston’s engaging performances, in which she transforms to “Stagecoach” Mary Fields or mountain man James Beckwourth, include singing, sign-language, and many more surprises.

    “Stagecoach” Mary Fields was the first female mail carrier hired in the US, and she delivered mail in the Montana Territory from 1895 to 1903. Born a slave in Tennessee, Mary’s strength, courage and intelligence shine as Winston tells her story.

    “Mary proved that even though she was African American and a woman, she was just as smart, and strong, and stubborn as any white man,” said Winston. “It’s such an honor to portray her life.”

    Trader, trapper, trail blazer, James Beckwourth, is another character in Winston’s repertoire. Born the son of a white captain in the Revolutionary War and a black slave woman, he spoke three languages, lived with and fought with Crow Indians, and discovered a place for early pioneers to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountain range.  Beckwourth Pass is still in use today as part of a California highway. 
     
    “When I perform the Beckwourth story, I get to share my own experiences about growing up in a biracial household,” said Winston, the daughter of a white mother and an African American father. Joanna Winston“My hope is that my story resonates, and helps listeners to connect the lives of those past and present.”

    Students and families, at the museum and at schools in the Indianapolis area, are amazed to find out that the West was so diverse. Through Eiteljorg curriculum, they also learn that at least 30 percent of cowboys were African American.

    A Butler fine arts graduate, Winston shines during each performance. See her Saturday afternoons at the Eiteljorg. Classroom visits can be arranged for Thursday and Friday mornings through May 23 by calling 317.275.1350.

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  • Eiteljorg Throwback Thursday | THE GREETING Installation in 1989

    by Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art | Feb 12, 2014

    In June 1989, George Carlson's two-ton bronze sculpture, The Greeting, was lowered into place at the museum's main entrance. There are over 90 examples of the artist's work in the museum's collection. Carlson, was one of Harrison Eiteljorg's favorite artists.
     
    George Carlson, The Greeting, 1989, cast bronze

    George Carlson, American, born 1940
    The Greeting, 1989
    cast bronze, edition 1/3

    About the artist
    Renowned artist George Carlson was born in Illinois in 1940 and studied art in Chicago. He is an Academician of the National Academy of Design and a Fellow of the National Sculpture Society. The subject of this work is a Blackfoot man welcoming visitors; he holds an eagle wing fan up in a gesture of friendship. The work is an allegorical expression of welcoming friendship. Carlson has been the subject of numerous exhibitions and publications, is represented in many public and private collections, and has received many awards at major shows across the country.
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  • Eiteljorg Insider | 5 Questions with Mary Downey, our Longest-Serving Employee

    by Jaq Nigg, Eiteljorg Festivals and Markets Manager | Feb 07, 2014


    Eiteljorg bookkeeper/office assistant Mary Downey on a fishing trip with her family in 1989, the year the Eiteljorg opened.

    Celebrating her 25 year anniversary along with the Eiteljorg is bookkeeper/office assistant, Mary Downey. She’s been here since the very beginning and has had many roles. She saw the original building built, knew Harrison Eiteljorg and has been part of every exhibit and event the museum has produced. She’s a great team member, and one of the people everyone on staff knows they can go to with a problem with the copier, finding obscure budget information, remembering something or someone from years ago, knowing how things used to be done and having great ideas for changes that could be made. Mary knows where all the bodies are buried!  [hahahahaha] We thought it would be great to hear from her for this week's Eiteljorg Insider!

    If you weren’t a bookkeeper, what would you be?
    That question still is not answerable. I’m not sure. Whatever God has planned is what I will be. I enjoy my job and all the folks I work with. We have a great team working here.

    What inspires you?
    Jesus inspires me. His love for all of us and how we should love one and other. My family, friends, nature…Life

    What should we ask you about your life that you want us to know about?
    I enjoy building puzzles. I love being in water either canoeing or swimming. My dog loves the water, too, so when we’re camping she becomes my swimming partner now that my two children are grown up.

    What was it like at the Eiteljorg 25 years ago?
    The building was not finished yet and we worked in another office building. One of my first jobs was helping answer phones for the executive secretary. There were not a lot of staff back then and we shared a large room with some cubicles. When we moved into the building, it was still under construction and noisy. We had earplugs so we could concentrate. Then we opened, and it has been changing ever since.

    What have been your favorite changes at the Eiteljorg in the last 25 years?
    Way better technology. I don’t want to date myself, but back then the letters on the computer screens were orange. Bigger building and the Annis Center with the stage coach. My very favorite time is Jingle Rails. I would love to have a set up like that in my house if I had a house that would hold it. There have been so many exhibits and events that it is hard to address them all, but I like Quest and Indian Market. I look forward to New Art starting up again. I can’t wait to see what is coming up in the next few years! Also, I now have my own (BIG!) office space – yahoo! (Pictured: Mary, with coworkers Dee and Lezlie).

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  • The Black Cowboy, Storytelling Saturdays and an Ansel Adams Preview

    by DeShong Perry-Smitherman, Eiteljorg public relations manager | Feb 04, 2014

    EITELJORG MUSEUM FEBRUARY EVENTS 
     
    Blake Little: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo

    New exhibit now open
    Blake Little  features 41 black-and-white images of cowboys and cowgirls from the gay rodeo circuit, taken by award-winning, Los Angeles-based photographer, Blake Little. The Seattle native became captivated by the gay rodeo scene in 1988 and began documenting the lives of its contenders, victors and their devoted fans.  Blake Little and associated public programs, at the Eiteljorg are a part of the museum’s Out West series. The series, created and produced by independent curator Gregory Hinton, illuminates the many contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities of the American West, and celebrates the diversity of the region. Please visit www.eiteljorg.org for details. Photo credit: Blake Little, Chute Dogging, Phoenix, Arizona, 1989, Image courtesy of Blake Little.

    The Girl of the Golden West
    Film Screening
    Saturday, Feb. 15
    1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    In preparation for the Indianapolis Opera’s performance of David Belasco’s The Girl of the Golden West on March 21 and 23, the Eiteljorg will host a screening of the 1938 film starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.


     I, Nat Love: The Story of Deadwood Dick
    Storytelling
    Saturday, Feb. 22
    1:30 p.m.
    Storyteller Rochel Coleman will bring Nat Love’s story to life. Born a slave in Tennessee, Nat headed West in search of freedom and opportunity at age 15. He became one of the most famous Black cowboys of his time.


    Ansel Adams
    preview partywright_0985-2_adams2
    Exhibit preview
    Friday, February 28
    7:30 p.m.
    $45 members, $55 nonmembers

    Ansel Adams exhibit opens, Saturday, March 1.
    Ansel Adams is a collection of more than 80 of this legendary photographer’s personally-chosen photographs. The photographs focus largely on the vast spaces of the American West, ranging from Yosemite to the Pacific Coast, the Southwest, Alaska, Hawaii and the Northwest. Referred to as The Museum Set, this lifetime portfolio includes many of Adams’ most famous and best-loved photographs, including architectural studies, portraits and magnificent landscapes. Photo credit: Ansel Adams in Owens Valley, photograph by Cedric Wright, courtesy of the Colby Memorial Library, Sierra Club.

    Storytelling Saturdays throughout the month
     
    Stories of the West

    Saturdays                                 
    1, 2, 3 & 4 p.m.
    Hear the amazing true stories of two prominent African Americans in the West, Stagecoach Mary Fields and mountain man, Jim Beckwourth, as told by actress and storyteller, Joanna Winston.


    Storytelling

    Saturdays
    1p.m. – 3p.m.
    Meet Teresa Webb (Anishinaabe) and hear about Native American cultures through stories and songs, accompanied by flute, drum and rattle.


    Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014, presented by Oxford Financial Group, LTD, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western art seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the indigenous peoples of North America. The museum is located in Downtown Indianapolis’ White River State Park, at 500 West Washington, Indianapolis, IN  46204. For general information about the museum and to learn more about exhibits and events, call 317.636.WEST (9378) or visit www.eiteljorg.org.


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