Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • Kick up your boots at Cowpokes & Cocktails benefit, Saturday, April 28

    by Samantha Roll, marketing & communications intern | Mar 28, 2018

    In 2017, we reimagined the annual Eiteljorg fund-raiser benefitting the museum’s education and public programs departments. Cowpokes & Cocktails was born and what a resounding success it was with increased attendance and contributions. This year’s iteration will once again be an exciting, high-end fundraiser and guaranteed night of fun.


    The second annual Cowpokes & Cocktails heads to Fitness Farm – a new venue that offers lots of room under a large party tent, with ample parking and speedy checkout for auction items. Guests are encouraged to abide by the “Cowboy Optional” dress code, and to wear attire conducive for walking on plush grass. We are very grateful to Fitness Farm and Joan SerVaas for the opportunity to share this beautiful space.

    The night will kick off under the main tent with the return of the cocktail contest featuring High West Bourbon, and food stations with a variety of offerings from Kahn’s Catering. The silent auction and fund-a-need opportunity officially open at the start of the event, and will be powered by BidPal, so guests can conveniently bid in real time from their smart phones. However, BidPal will have people onsite to help those who may not have a smartphone.

    Forty-three silent auction items are available this year, all sure to pique the interest of any guest. The Visual Arts Package is predicted to be among the most popular, offering the winner passes to IMA-Newfields and the Indiana State Museum, a private tour for four at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, and a gift certificate to Tinker Street restaurant. The Performing Arts Package also will be in demand, with tickets to The Cabaret, Dance Kaleidoscope, the Indianapolis Opera and Indiana Repertory Theatre and a Cunningham Restaurant Group gift certificate. Other big ticket items include a Sun King Brewery Tour, A West Fork Whiskey Distillery Tour and these one-of-a-kind pieces of Native art and jewelry:

    Sterling Silver and Turquoise Pendant
    Artist: Erick Begay
    $330 value
    Starting bid $116

    A Maine Morning painting by Brain Woods
    $1,500 value
    Starting bid $525

    Inlaid Watch
    Artist: David Kuticka
    $400 value
    Starting bid $140

    Although bidding will not open until 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, the remaining silent and live auction items are available for view on the Cowpokes & Cocktails BidPal website, which can be accessed by clicking here.

    This year’s live auction will begin after the conclusion of the cocktail contest. Kristi Lee, news director and co-host of The Bob & Tom Show on Q95 and host of Kristi Lee Uninterrupted, will serve as the evening’s emcee and auctioneer.  A private two-hour painting workshop for a group of six with Eiteljorg artist in residence, DG House (Cherokee of Northeast Alabama) is up for grabs, along with a home-cooked dinner with Eiteljorg president and CEO John Vanausdall. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway package is also among the live auction items, and includes four tickets to the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500, four Silver Badges/Race Day credentials, four VIP tickets to the Carb Day concert and four more VIP tickets to the Legends Day concert.

    A chance to win a three-night stay at the Tickle Pink Inn in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, also will be auctioned off live.

    Join us on the evening of Saturday, April 28 at the Fitness Farm, 2525 West 44th Street, Indianapolis. At our core is the belief that all children should experience art, regardless of socioeconomic status, and the proceeds will directly benefit the museum’s education and public programs that are ever important and impactful.

    Sponsorships still are available. Entertain clients and reward employees all while supporting arts education. Sponsorships range from $5,000 to $20,000. Individual tickets are $200 per person or $1,800 per table of 10. Registration is required. Contact Mary Whistler for more information at 317.275.1316 or

  • Meet Paul Jones, our new assistant to the dir. of technology

    by Brittan Semler | Mar 21, 2018

    Technology has been a big part of Paul Jones’ life since he was a child. Paul, the Eiteljorg’s new assistant to the director of technology, said he first became interested in electronics “probably at a young age when I was sticking my hands in tube TVs and taking a chance on getting myself electrocuted trying to get the TVs to work. I think that’s where it all started. And then, later on, taking things apart and being able to put them back together.”

    Paul Jones

    Technology has been a big part of Paul Jones’ life since he was a child. Paul, the Eiteljorg’s new assistant to the director of technology, said he first became interested in electronics “probably at a young age when I was sticking my hands in tube TVs and taking a chance on getting myself electrocuted trying to get the TVs to work. I think that’s where it all started. And then, later on, taking things apart and being able to put them back together.”

    Paul grew up in Indianapolis alongside 13 brothers and sisters – “a whole basketball team,” Paul joked. He later earned a degree in electrical engineering through the ITT Technical Institute in Indianapolis and also spent four years serving in the United States Marine Corps, working as a military police officer and in the Staff Judge Advocate of the First Marine Division’s office as a chaser. After military service, he began as a contractor for the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, a job which eventually evolved into a full-time position lasting 29 years.

    Paul has been in the electronics field for more than 30 years, so he’s seen a lot of changes in the industry. Speaking about his constantly adapting responsibilities during the peak of the Digital Age, Paul recalled an amusing story from his Children's Museum days: “I remember when they actually brought a (computer workstation with) PageMaker up to the exhibits department, and how the whole staff swore up and down they’d never touch it." Once that initial reluctance was past, "we moved all the way from there to where everybody had a computer on their desk … a long way. So I just had to evolve as time went on and technology changed.”

    Before joining the Eiteljorg, Paul was semi-retired, helping his sister flip houses. On why he rejoined the workforce, he said, “I got the idea that I’d done that, and I’m not wanting to do that for the rest of my life. It was nice doing it when I did, but I had other things I wanted to be doing.” Beyond that, the quiet life of retirement just didn’t suit him. “You got to keep busy. I can’t just sit around saying ‘Maybe I do something today, maybe I don’t?’ So yeah, that’s what drove me to start looking for a part-time position.”

    Information technology isn’t the only thing that keeps Paul busy. In his free time, he also enjoys fishing and working on cars and motorcycles – doing bodywork, welding and painting. These hobbies aren’t easy; they require a wealth of patience, skill and precision. But for Paul, those are all welcome obstacles. “I look forward to challenges,” he said. “I’m looking for some more challenges, but I’m sure they’ll come around sooner or later. I should be careful what I wish for,” he said with a chuckle.

    Paul started his new part-time position at the Eiteljorg on Jan. 22. His responsibilities  include staff computer support, server maintenance and gallery installation and maintenance. Being able to work in a familiar IT job handling museum electronics combined with his previous knowledge of similar technology systems has led to a “pretty smooth” transition into the job, he said.

    Tom Coble, the Eiteljorg’s director of technology, knew Paul was the man for the position. “I had worked with him for 24 years, know that he has the right skill set, work ethic and personality for the Eiteljorg," he said. 

    Overall, variety is what Paul enjoys most in his position. “(I like) the different tasks where it’s not a set routine; it can vary from day to day as far as what you’re asked to be doing.”

  • "Interwoven" basketry exhibit is cover story in Native American Art magazine

    by | | Mar 21, 2018

    Thanks to Native American Art magazine and writer Michael Clawson for this cover story about the new exhibit Interwoven: Native American basketry from the Mel and Joan Perelman Collection that opens April 14 at the Eiteljorg.   Click to this link to see the story:

    Perelman Baskets Story - Native American Art

  • Grand and beautiful Native basketry exhibit reflects Perelmans’ generosity

    by | | Feb 22, 2018

    Perelman baskets exhibit

    A new exhibition at the Eiteljorg showcases the work of some of the most admired Native American basketmakers while celebrating two of the museum’s most generous supporters: Mel and Joan Perelman.

    The Perelmans recently gifted to the museum their collection of 147 baskets, cradles and bags spanning much of North America, with a particular focus on the Southwest and Far West regions. This gift is meaningful, as it fills gaps in the museum’s existing collections. A selection of objects will be featured in a special exhibit, Interwoven: Native American Basketry from the Mel and Joan Perelman Collection, in the Paul Gallery from April 14 to Aug. 5.

    “The Eiteljorg Museum has benefitted profoundly from the generosity of Mel and Joan Perelman over the past two decades,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said. “Their exquisite judgment in collecting fine art of Native America and the West is reflected in this outstanding collection, representing many cultures, that the public will be fascinated to see. In light of the extraordinary quality of this basket collection in particular, it’s appropriate that we share it with the public.”

    These baskets are symbolic of the resiliency of Native peoples and are primarily the works of women, including Louisa Keyser (Washoe), Lena Dick (Washoe), Elizabeth Juan (Tohono O’odham), Lucy Telles (Paiute), Magdelena Augustine (Chemehuevi) and others, some whose names were not recorded. The baskets contain the love, care, and knowledge passed down through multiple generations that contributed to the survival of many Native communities despite dramatic and traumatic transitions of the late 19th through early 20th centuries.

    Crucial to the continuation of these arts is the inter-generational transmitting of knowledge about what materials work best for specific purposes, where to gather materials and the proper care and harvesting of materials; while also leaving room for innovation and personal taste in form, designs, and incorporating new materials. All are woven into each item. While many of the baskets have utilitarian roots, they also represent adaptation to a market economy. Some were made specifically for sale, such as the Washoe degikup, a globular basket form, developed in the 1890s. Other baskets range from the grand — an Apache olla basket measuring 26 inches tall and 24 inches in diameter — to an incredibly intricate and diminutive Makah basket.

    While the collection is mainly of baskets, it also encompasses Lower Klamath River basketry hats and other forms of woven items such as a Hoopa cradle and Nez Perce twined bag. The Perelmans also collected the work of living artists from numerous communities who continue the traditions and innovations seen in these earlier works.

    Love, care, and knowledge: These words not only apply to the many Native artists and their creations within the collection, but also to the Perelmans themselves. The Perelmans are among the museum’s most active supporters, and Mel serves on the board of directors. A previous Eiteljorg show, Spirited Connoisseurs in 2004, featured Western paintings and Native pottery, baskets and Katsina figures the Perelmans collected. The museum’s expansion wing, which was built in 2005 and doubled the size of the building, is named for them.

    To honor Mel and Joan Perelman for their support of Native fine arts and the museum, the Eiteljorg will host a special gala celebration Thursday, June 21. If you would like to join us in recognizing the Perelmans’ generosity, please visit or email for information about reservations.

    Interwoven: Native American Basketry from the Mel and Joan Perelman Collection
    Gerald and Dorit Paul Gallery, Eiteljorg Museum
    April 14–August 5

    Gala celebration, 6 p.m. Thursday, June 21, presented by Oxford Financial Group, LTD.
    Co-chairs of the gala are John and Sarah Lechleiter.

    Image Caption: 

    (From left to right) Feather and yarn Tubatulabal basket, ca. 1905; Apache olla, 1918; feather basket by Rose Anderson (Pomo); two quilled birch bark containers by Bernard Parley (Burt Lake Band of Ottawa and Chippewa), 1995; beaded Pomo basket, ca. 1870.
    Gift of Mel and Joan Perelman


    This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Storyteller magazine.


  • Meet our new librarian, Kristin Stout

    by Samantha Roll, marketing & communications intern | Feb 19, 2018

    Kristin Stout is an Indianapolis native and a veteran in the library science field, but her new position at the Eiteljorg Museum’s Watanabe Family Library and Stephen and Sharon Zimmerman Resource Center is affording her completely new opportunities. “Much of what I have been doing is well beyond the traditional roles of a librarian, and that in itself is exciting,” she said.

    Kristin Stout

    With more than 10 years’ experience as a professional librarian before joining the Eiteljorg, Kristin earned her MLS from Indiana University. She has background in Native American studies, women’s studies, history, and anthropology through her undergraduate education at Ball State University. After earning her masters, she moved to Savannah, Ga., where she worked as a full-time reference and instruction librarian at the Lane Library at Armstrong State University.

    Kristin brings a quirky sense of humor to the Watanabe Family Library. A lover of film, live music and comedy, she is excited to be back in Indianapolis to explore those in the city where she grew up, along with finding ways to share those interests with her three-year-old son. She is also a fanatic of Native jewelry. “I need to stay away from the gift shop upstairs,” she said of the museum store. “It’s a very dangerous way to spend a 15-minute break, I don’t recommend it – or maybe I do.”

    With an interest in Western history and Native American cultures, Kristin previously served as an intern at the Golden Spike National Historic Site with the U.S. National Park Service in Utah. She spent a summer at five different Native American reservations across Arizona and New Mexico with a team from Ball State University, conducting a cultural anthropology field study on contemporary issues facing Native peoples.

    “I think all of my personal interests and experiences with Native cultures as well as the fact that the Eiteljorg was looking for a librarian made this seem like the perfect fit,” she said.

    As the librarian at the Watanabe Family Library, Kristin succeeds Dana Duffy, who left to pursue a new position as education manager for the Monroe County History Center in Bloomington. Kristin’s main role at the Eiteljorg is to assist the general public during the library’s open hours. She is available to help with research and finding materials or information on Native American and Western art topics. With the help of volunteers, Kristin also manages the sale of materials donated to the museum that the library is unable to use.

    The bulk of her work is concentrated on serving the needs of the institution by assisting various museum departments.  “One thing that makes this site so special is that we are a shared system location with the Indianapolis Public Library. That allows me to communicate and collaborate with the 50 other branches from all over Marion County,” she said.

    Kristin’s largest and most exciting project has been working with James Nottage, the vice president and chief curatorial officer and Gund curator of Western art, in organizing and cataloging a recent donation of 1,400 books to the Watanabe Family Library.

    “There are aspects of the job that are a fun challenge for me and a great opportunity for me to grow as a librarian,” she said. “I’m most excited just being able to utilize the Native culture background that I have with what I do as a librarian.”

    Make sure to stop by the Watanabe Family Library to welcome Kristin as the newest member of the Eiteljorg Museum team.
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