MNA's 72nd Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture

Photo courtesy of MNA
ÒUncle of the Corn Dancers,Ó 2004 by Anthony E. Honahnie.

Photo courtesy of MNA ÒUncle of the Corn Dancers,Ó 2004 by Anthony E. Honahnie.

FLAGSTAFF -- When Donald Wadsworth creates ceremonial sashes, belts and garments, he entwines color and design with hundreds of years of Hopi weaving tradition and the hope the art will continue.

No longer practiced as much as it once was, textile weaving is integral to the Hopi ceremonial process for encouraging rain and fertility. Each part of a piece has meaning, such as shapes representing clouds and fringe representing flowing rain. Wadsworth learned his craft from his elders and now teaches eager young weavers living on the Hopi reservation.

Wadsworth's students will join him at the Museum of Northern Arizona to encourage Hopi weaving by demonstrating and discussing this tradition at the 72nd Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture on July 2 and 3 in Flagstaff.

Oldest Hopi art show

The oldest Hopi art show in the world also features a display of the museum's weaving collection, other weavers demonstrating their skills, and expert-led weaving discussions during a weekend designed to provide insight into all Hopi art forms.

More than 50 booths of fine arts and crafts, music, and dancing fill the museum grounds, lively with demonstrations of weaving, pottery, overlay jewelry, basketry, paintings and sculpture, food and other cultural items. In an effort to represent artwork created by an even greater number of artists, the museum increased its collection trips to the Hopi reservation this year and will sell items submitted by individual artists who might only have a few one-of-a-kind items to sell.

Plus, new educational programming, Heritage Insights, sponsored in part by a grant by the Arizona Humanities Council, provides an in-depth introduction to Hopi culture by "introducing a rich and varied set of presentations on Hopi world views, linguistics and philosophy," says MNA Director Robert Breunig. "Our goal is to move the Museum visitor beyond just seeing beautiful objects, by placing those objects in a broader cultural context."

Insightful journeys

Dorothy Ami takes visitors on a journey of Hopi pottery making by demonstrating and discussing how she collects materials and builds, decorates, and fires her pottery pieces. Ami creates pottery in the traditional Hopi way, from gathering the clay to using sheep dung to fire her creations. She paints her pots using all natural pigments. At 9 a.m. on Sunday, Ami will demonstrate the firing process.

Other enlightening programming includes "Hopi Basketry" with Hopi basket weaver Ruby Chimerica, "The Flower World Talk and the Hopi Connection to Mesoamerica" with Dr. Kelley Hays-Gilpin, and "500 Years of Weaving on the Hopi Mesas" by Dr. Laurie Webster. The native language is highlighted by Emory Secaquaptewa and the history of music finds focus with KUYI's Station Manager Lisa Youvella. Modern Hopi culture is discussed by both Hopi Foundation Executive Director Barbara Poley and Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, Cultural Preservation Officer for the Hopi Tribe.

Demonstrators offer a taste of piki and a bite of bread baked in a traditional Hopi bread oven. Hopi medicine woman Theodora Homewytewa offers tours along the Rio De Flag, explaining Hopi uses of local flora. Kachina carver Clark Tenakongva not only focuses on "The Importance of the Kachina," he also plays flute accompanied by his daughters on drums, filling the courtyard with Hopi music and conveying the heart and spiritual landscape of this ancient people.

Music, dancing

Three times a day, eagle and rainbow dancers from the Lomayaoma Dance Group delight audiences, while those looking for a more modern sound can catch Casper and the 602 Band performing Hopi reggae on Saturday. Hopi rocker Tyrone Duwyenie and his Living on the Ledge Band take the stage on Sunday. The LaRance Intertribal Dancers also perform.

Kids can get in the music scene too by singing along in English and Hopi with Ferrell Secakuku and Anita Poleahla's new Hopi children's songs CD, "Teaching Through Hopi Songs" to be released at the festival. Susan Secakuku reads from her new children's book, "Meet Mindy." All ages can enjoy the Creative Corner where they can make a take-home culturally-inspired craft.

Hopis live in northeast Arizona at the southern end of the Black Mesa. Art is integrated into daily life and is a way the Hopi communicate their view of the world. Hopi people are direct descendants of Hisatsinom, or San Juan Anasazi Basket makers, who once occupied ancient abandoned prehistoric pueblos of the Southwest.

Experience this year's Hopi Festival at the Museum of Northern Arizona. The Museum is at 3101 N. Fort Valley Road, three miles north of historic downtown Flagstaff on Highway 180. Festival hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and admission is $5/adult, $4/senior, $3/student, $2 child (7-17) and is free to members.

Become a member today in time to attend the Hopi Festival Members' Preview, Arts Award Ceremony, and Silent Auction on the Friday evening before the event. For more information, go to or call 928/774-5213.

Hopi Foot Race

The Nuvatukya'ovi 5K Foot Race and 2-mile Run/Walk on Sunday, July 3 is a way to join a community of runners in an adventurous race on the museum's 225-acre Flagstaff campus, nestled at the base of the San Francisco Peaks.

Nuvatukya'ovi means "snow-capped mountain." The Foot Race is designed to honor the native tradition of running and attracts runners from across the nation, including a healthy representation of runners from the Navajo and Hopi reservations. Weave your way through scenic trails and earn yourself a Foot Race T-shirt.

Entry fees are $15 for early registration and $18 registration after June 25. Race day registration starts at 6:15 a.m. with the race underway at 7 a.m.

Local sponsors

This year's community support for the 72nd Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture includes locally-sponsored awards. Assisting the Museum's efforts to create a resurgence of certain cultural art forms, native arts businesses such as Thunder Mountain Traders, Jonathan Day's Indian Arts, Winter Sun Trading Company, Cameron Trading Post and Tsakurshovi on Second Mesa on the Hopi reservation are offering their financial support by sponsoring art awards and this list of supporters keeps growing. People or businesses interested in sponsoring an award may contact Diane Rechel, Heritage Program Manager, at 928/774-5211, ext. 273.

In addition, this year marks the first Memorial Award, honoring the life and work of a native artist who has been a longtime participant of the Heritage Program and has passed away within the previous year. The 2005 Memorial Award celebrates the life, legacy, and baskets of award-winning Hopi basket weaver Sarah Gashwytewa, by bestowing a $500 award on a basket maker who has made the best wicker plaque basket, representing Gashwytewa's talent and traditions. The winning basket will be entered into the Museum's collections.

Hopi Days are here

In association with the Museum of Northern Arizona's 72nd Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture, Flagstaff downtown galleries are featuring Hopi Days, with kachina carving, basket weaving and pottery demonstrations.

Carving demonstrations begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 1 at Jonathan Day's Indian Arts, Thunder Mountain Traders, Painted Desert Trading Company, Puchteca Indian Goods and Winter Sun Trading Company and continue through the weekend, coinciding with an array of Hopi cultural events at the Museum.

"When it's Fourth of July weekend, it's time for Hopi Days," said Jonathan Day, owner of Jonathan Day's Indian Arts.

The 2005 Heritage Program sponsors include by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Annetta and William Arthur, the Arizona Humanities Council, the City of Flagstaff, Coconino County, Flagstaff Cultural Partners, Fred Nackard Wholesale Beverage Company, the National Endowment for the Arts, Radisson Woodlands Hotel, Flagstaff and Verkamp's Store.


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