National Museum of the American Indian Announces Spring Programs

February 24, 2011
News Release

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian presents a dynamic lineup of public events to commemorate the spring season, including jazz performances, artist workshops, quilting demonstrations, a cherry blossom-inspired menu at the museum’s Zagat-rated Mitsitam Cafe, a two-day Hawaii festival and a theater series co-hosted by Washington, D.C.’s Capital Fringe Festival.

In honor of Women’s History Month, artist Margarete Bagshaw (Santa Clara Pueblo) will deliver an illustrated talk about her work and that of her mother, Helen Hardin (1943-1984), and her grandmother, Pablita Velarde (1918-2006), three generations of groundbreaking painters from Santa Clara Pueblo, N.M. The talk will be held Saturday, March 12, at 2 p.m. in Room 4018-19 and will be webcast live at Bagshaw’s work is currently featured in the exhibition, “Vantage Point: The Contemporary Art Collection,” on view through Aug. 7. This program received support from the museum’s National Council.

Master quilter Suzanne Traditional Woman (Diné) will embellish her latest quilt based on Plains-style ledger art Saturday, March 19, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. in the Potomac Atrium. A quilter since the age of 9, Traditional Woman specializes in star quilts and custom-art pieces.

As part of the D.C. Environmental Film Festival, the museum will host a special screening of Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change (2010, 56 min.), a documentary by Ian Mauro and Zacharias Kunuk (Inuit), director of Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), Sunday, March 27, at 2 p.m. in the Rasmuson Theater. The film—the world’s first Inuktitut language film on climate change—highlights the knowledge and experience of global warming among Alaska’s Inuit communities. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with both filmmakers moderated by a member of the Smithsonian’s Arctic Studies team.

To kick off Jazz Appreciation Month, the Larry Redhouse Trio, led by Navajo pianist Larry Redhouse, will perform Saturday, April 9. Based in Tucson, Ariz., Redhouse has been playing piano for more than 35 years and has performed alongside such jazz legends as Chick Corea, Terence Blanchard and Donald Harrison. Joined by Lenny Redhouse on drums and Kirk Kuykendall on acoustic bass, the Redhouse Trio will perform originals from its Spirit Progression album, as well as classic jazz standards by Miles Davis, Axel Stordahl, Paul Weston and Sammy Cahn, at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. in the Potomac Atrium. The performances will be webcast live at

Also in celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, contemporary artist James Lavadour (Walla Walla) will offer a fascinating look at the connection between his approach to painting and improvisational jazz Saturday, April 9, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 4018/4019. Lavadour’s work is featured in “Vantage Point: The Contemporary Native Art Collection.” This program received support from the museum’s National Council.

Beginning Friday, April 15, and continuing through Sunday, May 8, the museum will co-host Wattage: Illuminating Tradition and Survival, a performance series produced by Capital Fringe featuringworks of theater that explore issues of culture, tradition, environment and identity. The performances, which will include two Native plays by Robert Owens-Greygrass, will take place at the museum’s Rasmuson Theater and at The Shop at Fort Fringe, 607 New York Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. Tickets—$25 for the public, $20 for museum members or a four-show pass for $80—will be available online at at the Fort Fringe box office one hour before curtain, at the door or by calling (866) 811-4111. For details and show times, visit or

On Sunday, April 17, artist Rick Bartow (Wiyot) will lead a hands-on drawing workshop for teens and preteens in Room 4018/4019 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. Bartow creates drawings, paintings, sculpture and prints inspired by Northwest imagery and oral traditions. His work is featured in “Vantage Point: The Contemporary Native Art Collection.” This program received support from the museum’s National Council. Advance registration is required.

To commemorate Earth Day, the museum will host a special screening of the documentary River of Renewal (2009, 55 min.) Friday, April 22, at 12:30 p.m. in the Rasmuson Theater. Directed by Carlos Bolado and based on the work of author Stephen Most, the film explores the conflict between farmers, ranchers and local tribes over Oregon’s waterways through the eyes of Jack Kohler, a Yurok/Karuk Indian. Kohler and Most will take part in a discussion after the film moderated by Chris Palmer, director of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University. The screening is presented in partnership with the Center for Environmental Filmmaking.

“This IS Hawai’i,” a multisite exhibition displayed in collaboration with Transformer Gallery, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit arts organization, opens Thursday, May 19, and continues through July 4. The exhibition will feature new and experimental works of art that explore what it means to be Hawaiian in the 21st century. The work of Maika’i Tubbs will be shown at Transformer and the work of Solomon Enos and Carl F.K. Pao will be shown at the museum’s Sealaska Gallery. Artist Puni Kukahiko’s outdoor sculptures will stand at both sites.

“This IS Hawai’I” launches in tandem with the museum’s annual Hawai’i Festival, a weekend celebration of the island’s Native arts and cultures Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and May 22. Visitors can learn about the origins, importance and movements of hula, the island’s famous Native dance, take in a Hawaiian cooking demonstration, attend discussions about Native Hawaiian traditions and watch films about the island’s communities.

Dinner and a movie Friday, May 20, celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Directed by Na’alehu Anthony (Native Hawaiian), the documentary Papa Mau: The Wayfinder (2010, 57 min.) introduces master navigator Mau Piailug of the Island of Satawal in Micronesia, where a group of young Hawaiians traveled to revive the traditional Polynesian arts of canoe-building and wayfinding, non-instrument, celestial navigation. Cuisine from the Mitsitam Cafe will be available for purchase from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The screening will begin at 7 p.m. in Rasmuson Theater.

On Sunday, May 29, bring friends and family to the Potomac Atrium at 10:30 a.m. for a Youth Cultural Exchange and Friendship Dance. The Children of the Four Directions—Nations from the North, East, South and West—will sing, drum and tell of the ways of their tribe. At the end of this exchange, small gifts from each tribe will be presented to the museum representing the rich history of these nations. A Friendship/Round Dance will end the event.

All programs are subject to change, and free unless otherwise noted. For a complete schedule of public programs, visit

# # #