For many of us, flipping the calendar to a New Year means a fresh start and new resolutions. Those annual traditions can take a creative turn at the Warwick Museum of Art (WMOA), as they are hosting an Eastern Woodlands Native Art exhibit that runs now through Feb. 27.
An opening reception for the exhibit will take place Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m., and will feature an Elder Prayer and tribal music. Guests will be given the opportunity to find the visual connections between the traditional and more modern artworks.
"This is a chance for visitors to meet the artists and talk about their work," said WMOA program director Jessica Caldarone. "It's also a nice opportunity for the artists to meet up, exchange ideas and inspire one another."
WMOA exhibits always include a free reception with light refreshments that is open to the public.
Eastern Woodland Native Arts will showcase original works by 14 artists from regional tribes. The works range from traditional forms like quilts, pottery and illustrations to more contemporary pieces like colorful oil paintings, serene ceramics and even painted sneakers. The exhibit was originally suggested by Ward 3 Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson "to introduce Warwick residents to the rich diversity of regional tribal arts," and it marks the first-ever collaboration between Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum (TIMM), WMOA and the Warwick Diversity Commission.
Loren Spears, director of TIMM that is located in Exeter, was an enthusiastic collaborator. She said “the exhibit creates greater awareness of the culture and traditions of the indigenous people of this region. The artwork connects their history and spirituality to contemporary issues and events throughout Indian country."
Three large paintings by contemporary artist Robert Peters reflect this idea, as he used vibrant colors to depict actual events from his youth in intricate detail. Visitors expecting soft, Southwestern-style works will be surprised and delighted by these bold and very personal canvases.
Spears, who has an extensive background in arts education, will lead a two-hour “Dream Catcher Workshop” for participants 10 years and older Feb. 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. It will include 30 minutes on the culture of the Eastern Woodland peoples (with artifacts from the TIMM collection), traditional music and dance with audience participation, and guided instructions on creating a personal dream catcher.
The workshop is $15 per person, which includes supplies. Class size is limited to 25, and reservations will be taken in the order they are received during regular business hours. Space can be reserved by calling WMOA at 737-0010.
To learn more, visit the WMOA on Facebook.
"It's hard to keep up with everything happening at WMOA," said Caldarone, "which is why Facebook is the best place to get information until we create a more user-friendly website."
Regular hours for the main gallery are Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30 to 8:30 p.m., and Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.