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New Year New Visions: Finding Inspiration in Native Art and Leadership

Blog written by: Sheridan Noelani Enomoto, Research Specialist, Redbud Resource Group

We are creating new patterns…creating new patterns with our feet firmly planted.”

-Corine Pearce from (Steps to LandBack: Middletown Art Center)

Photo: Taylor Pennewell (left), Corine Pearce (middle), and Trelasa Baratta (left), 2022 at "Earth, Sky, and Everything in Between."

As we begin 2023, Redbud Resource Group is moving ahead with new visions for building community. We’re excited to empower and strengthen Native communities through storytelling.

Photo: Display of traditional regalia, with traditional abalone, pine nut, and shell beadwork pieces, 2022.

These new visions are inspired by a Native curated art exhibit that took place last July through October at the Middletown Art Center (MAC) in Lake County. The Middletown Art Center is a public space that provides opportunities for all ages and backgrounds to learn about the connection between art, culture and the environment.

Lisa Kaplan, Art Director of MAC believed it was necessary to open up MAC for Native communities to showcase their artwork and share their own stories. Rather than curate the exhibit herself, Kaplan, who is non-Native, hired Pomo educator and weaver Corine Pearce as co-creator and lead artist of the exhibit. Thus, the Native-curated art exhibit “Earth, Sky and Everything in Between” came to life, featuring Native American art created from a Native point-of-view.

Photo: Wanda Quitiquit (left), Corine Pearce (middle), and Lisa Kaplan (right), 2022.

“It was a group effort to come up with “Earth, Sky and Everything in Between” because I feel like that really represents who we are. Like we are standing here. Right in the middle,” describes Corine Pearce. “Almost every aspect of Native identity is either misrepresented in mainstream culture or simply misunderstood.” This exhibit is an example of how community collaboration can empower Native communities to tell their stories while at the same time, prevent Native cultural erasure.

Photo: Wanda Quitiquit with Gourd Art, 2022.

Redbud Resource Group’s mission is to improve public health outcomes for Native American communities through education, research, and community partnership. Collaborations, such as the MAC exhibit, motivate our staff to continue “creating new patterns” or mutually beneficial partnerships across Native and non Native communities.

For more inspiration, check out Redbud Resource Group’s video, Steps to LandBack: Middletown Art Center and Native-Curated Art Exhibits, on our Going Beyond Land Acknowledgements Resource page or view the video below:

You can also visit the MAC website for a view of the Native curated art exhibit “Earth, Sky and Everything in Between”

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