Native American Youth Art exhibit at museum for 2nd year

Photos courtesy of the Museum of Northern Arizona/Dan Otts<BR><BR>
“Desert in the Morning” by First Place Winner in watercolor Carl Yazzie from Chinle High School, Grade 12

Photos courtesy of the Museum of Northern Arizona/Dan Otts<BR><BR> “Desert in the Morning” by First Place Winner in watercolor Carl Yazzie from Chinle High School, Grade 12

FLAGSTAFF -- There's still a chance to view the artwork of a new generation of Native American artists from reservation schools at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Native American Youth Art (NAYA), open since February, runs through this weekend.

During NAYA's second year, six Saturday Morning Programs have added cultural enrichment through workshops for school children, with the final session slated for March 25.

On Sunday, March 26, the public is invited to meet the artists and teachers at a free closing ceremony.

About the exhibit

More than 100 selected drawings, paintings, and 3-D work from 11 schools across the Colorado Plateau are on display, sharing with visitors the talent and inspiration of students and teachers living in this region. NAYA is produced in association with Flagstaff's Youth Celebrate Art and Culture Month.

This exhibit enlivens a long-standing tradition of fostering emerging Native American youth art and exhibiting their work that was begun in 1931 by museum co-founder Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton. Today, MNA continues to support native youth art by encouraging students to hone their skills in the contemporary expression of traditional art forms and encouraging teachers to bring out the best in their students.

Students have written stories to accompany their artwork. Theses stories and a map showing each school's location give the work a greater sense of identity and place, and give non-native visitors the opportunity to learn about native people and art of the Colorado Plateau.

Saturday events

• 10 a.m.-noon, Honoring Museum Co-founder Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton's 117th Birthday

• 10 a.m.-noon, drawing workshop with Joella Jean Mahoney, ages 10 and up/$6; accompanying adult/free.

• 12:30-1:30 p.m., "The Life of Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton," by Susan Deaver Olberding included in museum admission.

Pre-registration is required, as only 20 spaces are available per class. To register, contact Anne Doyle at 928-774-5211, ext. 275 or

Closing ceremony

NAYA provides a public forum for reservation school children and their Flagstaff peers to establish connections, with each other and communities beyond their own.

On Sunday, March 26 from 1-4 p.m., the free closing reception will include traditional Navajo flute player Kelvin Bizahaloni, refreshments will offer a chance to meet the exhibit artists and teachers. Winners will receive ribbons and awards.

The 12 art teachers and 11 schools participating in NAYA include:

• Caren Coo, Chinle High School in Chinle;

• Beth Olsen, Ganado High School in Ganado;

• Pat Natseway, Hopi Day School in Kykotsmovi;

• Pat Natseway;Hotevilla Bacavi Community School in Hotevilla;

• Mike Franklin, Kayenta Middle School in Kayenta;

• Terry Lietz, Many Farms High School in Many Farms;

• Georgina Badoni, Moenkopi Day School in Tuba City;

• Carol Bennally, Pinon High School in Pinon;

• Richard and Cedric Dawavendewa , Tuba City High School;

• Marti McQuade, Wide Ruins Community School in Chambers;

• Herrin Othole, Zuni High School in Zuni, N.M.

About Mary-Russell

Showing children's artwork as a tradition began in 1931 with the first of Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton's Junior Art Shows. This original exhibit was open to all schools in the northern half of the state, including Indian schools, with prizes awarded for various categories.

In 1947, the exhibit format changed and Indian schools became the only schools eligible. She based all such endeavors on her premise, "Éart education is a basic necessity, not a mere cultural frill." In designing art programs to which school children would respond with enthusiasm, her concern was to "teach the child to see."

"A thorough art education, starting when we are very young, is of the greatest benefit to every human being," Ferrell Colton said. "We do not have to wait to see whether our child has talent -- that is not at all the point. It does not matter what career he or she may adopt in later life; training in art appreciation means an increased ability to see beauty in the world about you and a facility for creating things with your hands; these things are a great asset and add immensely to our joy in lifeÉwe unconsciously carry our acquired knowledge of form, color, and composition into our everyday lives."

About the museum

MNA seeks to inspire love and responsibility for the beauty and diversity of the Colorado Plateau. It is located three miles north of historic downtown Flagstaff on Hwy. 180.

The museum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $5/adult, $4/senior, $3/student, $2 child (7--17) and always free to members. For more information about NAYA and MNA, call 928/774-5213 or visit


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