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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 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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  • The Fuss Over Fry Bread at Indian Market

    by Claire Quimby, Eiteljorg festivals and markets intern | May 15, 2013

    “It’s one in the morning, and I’m awake, thinking about frybread…”
    – from Frybread Dreams, a poem by Richard Walker

    Frybread picture from - mountainhomequilts.blogspot.com

    If you’ve ever been to any Native American event, you’re probably familiar with fry bread. If you’ve never tasted it, you are truly missing out. Fry bread is just what its name implies… dough that is fried in oil to create a puffy, delicious bread. Fry bread can be a sweet treat or the foundation of “Indian tacos,” topped with ground beef, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and salsa/chile.

    Images from chibbqking.blogspot.com and cookingclassy.com

     

    Every year at Indian Market and Festival, people happily wait in line at the Indian taco truck (rain or shine) for their fry bread fix. It’s so popular; the Eiteljorg staff looks forward to it each year as one of the highlights of the whole event.

    people wait in line at indian market for their frybread fix!

    Most of us agree that fry bread is super tasty. But the fuss over fry bread isn’t just about taste. It’s about history, tradition, survival and love.

    According to Frybread by Jen Miller (Smithsonian Magazine, July 2008), the origins of fry bread date back to 1864 and the Long Walk of the Diné (Navajo), when the U.S. government forcibly relocated thousands of Native Americans from their lands in Arizona to New Mexico. Removed from their traditional sources of food, the Diné had to rely on meager government rations. Many died of starvation. Fry bread was a food of survival, created from a few simple ingredients that the Diné had access to: flour, lard, baking powder, salt, water and powdered milk. For many Native Americans fry bread is a reminder of the conditions their ancestors endured, and how they created something from nothing to live another day.

    Many foods evoke strong feelings and memories, but you would be hard-pressed to find a better example than fry bread. Fry bread fans have created facebook pages, websites, poems, stories and cooking competitions. Most agree that love is a critical ingredient. How else would you turn rations and suffering into a food of survival and celebration?

    Fry bread is loved, but it has also been criticized. In an article in Indian Country Today, Suzan Shown Harjo railed against fry bread for the sorrowful history it represents, for its high calorie count, and for being a poor substitution for many other traditional Native American breads. Despite calories and history, however, Native America is still a strong supporter of fry bread, mockumentary film dedicated to it.

    Either in spite of its difficult history or because of it, the lines in front of the fry bread truck, during the Eiteljorg's Indian Market & Festival June 22 and 23, will continue to form this summer. No Native American gathering would be the same without it. 

    2013 indian market flyer


    Claire Quimby
    Eiteljorg festival and markets intern

    Go comment!




  • Images of the Indian: New installations in the Gund Gallery of Western Art

    by James Nottage, vice president and chief curatorial officer | May 07, 2013

    Eiteljorg vice president and chief curatorial officer, James Nottage, blogs about the new installations in the Gund Gallery of Western Art.
              
    Joseph Brant When the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York, asked about borrowing the Eiteljorg’s painting of The Burial of Uncas by N. C. Wyeth, we were happy to oblige.  The Fenimore is an important museum and they were producing a major exhibit on art of the extended Wyeth family.  Happily, several members of our staff went to graduate school in Cooperstown and had deep familiarity with collections of the Fenimore Art Museum.  One of their great paintings is by the artist best known for his portraits of George Washington.  We asked, while our Wyeth was in New York, if the Fenimore would consider loaning us their Gilbert Stuart portrait of an Iroquois Indian. Gilbert Stuart (American, 1755-1828) was one of the most famed portrait painters of his time.  In 1786 he visited England and was commissioned to paint a portrait of Joseph Brant (1742-1807). Brant was in England at the time.  He had led the Iroquois against Americans in the Revolutionary War, supporting the British. This portrait is considered to be one of the finest depictions of a Native American done in the 18th century.  It clearly reflects the British sense of the Indian as the “noble red man.” The statesman-like pose shows Brant wearing a feathered headdress and he is wrapped in a blanket with a silver decorated shirt.  Time is limited to view this important painting. The Eiteljorg will feature this work, from the collection of the Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Stephen C. Clark, from May 2 through September of this year. 

    In placing the Joseph Brant portrait on exhibit, we have taken the opportunity to more deeply explore the manner in which Native Americans have been portrayed by artists through the 1800s.  Visitors will see familiar portraits from our permanent collection by Charles Bird King, E. A. Burbank, and others.  We have also placed three other works in this section of the Gund Gallery that have not been shown.  The first is a new acquisition purchased with funds provided by the George Gund Foundation.  It is titled The Surprise, and was painted by American artist Louis Maurer in 1858.  Maurer had not traveled west or experienced Indian life in person.  In the 1850s, along with English painter A. F. Tait, he visited a library in New York to study books with Indian paintings by Carl Bodmer and George Catlin, who had traveled to the West in the 1830s.  Tait and Maurer created many paintings that were made into popular prints published by the firm of Currier and Ives.  These often violent images depicted Plains warriors as savages in mortal combat with frontiersmen.  Even though they were fictional, the prints created a fearful stereotype in the minds of pioneers headed west.  The Surprise was published by Currier and Ives in 1858. 

    Theodore Baur (American, born in Germany, 1835-1894)

    Two bronzes donated by Harrison Eiteljorg and newly conserved by a special intern, are being shown for the first time in many years.  Theodore Baur (American, born in Germany, 1835-1894), created Chief Crazy Horse, in 1885.  This heroic bust represents an important Lakota warrior known for fighting against U.S. forces at important battles including the Little Big Horn in 1876. Crazy Horse was killed by a soldier while trying to escape from imprisonment in 1877. Theodore Bauer originally conceived of this bronze as a portrait of Sitting Bull. When completed, it became an iconic representation of a sympathetically portrayed, but defeated Crazy Horse. 

    Adolph A. Weinman (American, born Germany, 1870-1952)

    Finally, we are pleased to present the Adolph A. Weinman (American, born Germany, 1870-1952), bronze of Chief Blackbird, cast in 1907.  Weinman’s depictions of the Indian are sympathetic and romanticized.  This bust portrait gives us the stereotype of the warrior-chief wearing an eagle feather headdress.  In the summer of 1902, the artist went to Coney Island and later to Madison Square Garden in New York to create images of Sioux members of Colonel Cummins’ Wild West Indian Congress.  Among them, Chief Blackbird and his wife were favorite subjects. The decorative bust of Blackbird is expressive of the artist’s observation that the subject was “a stoic, if ever there was one.”

    James Nottage
    Eiteljorg vice president and chief curatorial officer 

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