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Creative Nations Sacred Space and Native Artists Exhibition Opening
September 16 @ 6:00 pm
The Dairy Arts Center is happy to announce the opening of the Creative Nations Sacred Space–a permanent, dedicated space for Indigenous artists at the Dairy Arts Center–on Friday, September 16th from 6 PM to 8 PM. The opening will begin with a traditional blessing officiated by Harvey Spoonhunter to officially open the space at 6 PM. The Sacred Space Opening will also feature a Native Art Exhibition curated by Robert Martinez and Bruce Cook, featuring works by Arapahoe, Cheyenne, and Ute artists. The art will be on display in the Sacred Space, which is free and open to the public, on view through November 2022. Robert Martinez and Bruce Cook will give a live art demonstration for attendees. Refreshments will be available for purchase.
Founded by five Indigenous artists representing the Hunkpapa Lakota from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Diné, Oglala Lakota, Mnicoujou Lakota band of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Southern Ute, Pyramid Lake Paiute, and Duckwater Shoshone, Creative Nations is a collective of Indigenous artists whose guiding principles include: providing an accurate representation of Native arts in Colorado and surrounding areas; creating opportunities, resources, and platforms for emerging artists and youth through exhibitions, performances, and mentorship; and fostering empowerment of women and relatives through Indigenous cultural traditions to bring about a balance between the masculine and feminine.
“The concept for Creative Nations began during the Dairy’s pandemic closure when many of us witnessed horrific injustices and ongoing manifestations of historic power imbalances across the nation,” states Dairy Arts Center Executive Director Melissa Fathman. “The Dairy prides itself on presenting programs that champion a variety of cultures and art disciplines each year and yet the very people who used to live here, who were murdered or forced off the land the Dairy now occupies, have never been invited into this community. Acknowledging ancestral lands is important and I am glad more organizational leaders are choosing to do that, but I wanted to do more. I wanted to also acknowledge people and their creations. I cannot give back the land, but I can give indigenous artists a dedicated space at the Dairy to reconnect and come together in healing, celebration, and creation.”
During its first year, while the Sacred Space was being built, Creative Nations produced many programs in the Dairy’s galleries and theaters, including
An exhibition that brought awareness to the legacy of violence perpetrated against Native women and children.
Several live events including an Indigenous People’s Day Art Market featuring Native artisans with traditional social dance and music performances.
A sold-out Native comedy showcase; a touring production of Bear Grease, a Native take on the nostalgic film, Grease.
A Navajo blues guitarist concert featuring Levi Platero.
Creative Nations continues to grow and flourish with the recent hire of Marty Strenczewilk as Creative Nations’ first Managing Director. Strenczewilk is an emerging Ojibwe playwright and co-founder of an NYC Off-Broadway theater company, who is offering his skills to launch a Native Playwright series, the only opportunity of its kind in the state of Colorado. Through this initiative, Native playwrights and storytellers will see their work come to life in full productions at The Dairy, creating job opportunities for native crew, performers, and production teams behind the scenes. The new Sacred Space provides exhibition space, rehearsal space, and an intimate setting for readings and workshops, while Creative Nation’s access to every theater at The Dairy at no cost provides opportunities for full-scale production and world premieres of new work.
“The opening of the Sacred Space is an important moment for Colorado-based indigenous artists, as a tangible action toward Land Back to the first peoples of this land,” said Marty Strenczewilk, Managing Director of Creative Nations. “This space will provide real opportunities for Native artists to create new work and share it with the people of Colorado.”
Upcoming programming that Creative Nations’ artists are excited to bring to the Dairy includes the annual Indigenous People’s Day Weekend Art Market. The market will be open from October 7-10th, where patrons can purchase art from native vendors and food from native restaurants. The weekend will also feature traditional native dance groups, native music, a reading of a new native play, a native fashion show, and screenings of native films throughout the weekend.
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