Third Annual Discovery Youth Exhibit on display at MNA

New Diné Discovery summer program offers Navajo students exposure to Navajo art, culture and natural science

Children take part in the Museum of Northern Arizona’s Discovery summer program. Photo/Marci Wills

Children take part in the Museum of Northern Arizona’s Discovery summer program. Photo/Marci Wills

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.-Summer art projects, science explorations, and stories from outdoor adventures come together in the vibrant, third annual Discovery exhibit, open October 13 through December 2, 2012 at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff.

Discovery 2012: The Exhibit features unique takes on the region's natural and cultural landscapes by youth.

Watercolor paintings inspired by the works of MNA cofounder Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton, cyanotype prints of native plants, multimedia sculptures of found objects, and hands-on geology experiments are woven together in a colorful display. This exhibit connects visitors to the excitement and creativity of summer camp, and acknowledges the hard work, inventiveness, and growth of 2012 Discovery summer campers.

"Displaying the work of Flagstaff's youngest scientists and artists illustrates MNA's look to the future," said Discovery Manager Caitlin Evans. "Through Discovery summer programs, today's youths are learning about critical contemporary issues, as they develop the skills and connection to local landscapes that will allow them to succeed as tomorrow's leaders in this region. This exhibit highlights the growing voices and capabilities of our youth.

New last summer, the Museum of Northern Arizona and Flagstaff Unified School District partnered to offer Diné Discovery for local Navajo students. In addition to an emphasis on developing and maintaining Navajo language skills over the summer, Diné Discovery provided exposure to Navajo art, culture, and natural sciences, as well as an emphasis on team-building skills, community, and environmental stewardship. Students traveled to Canyon de Chelly for a two-night excursion, painted at the edge of the canyon, and hiked to ancient cliff dwellings and sites of cultural significance.

As a group, the Discovery students decided to write postcards back to the Museum, reflecting on their summer camp experience. Visitors to Discovery 2012: The Exhibit will be invited to write a postcard response to the campers and the postcards will be incorporated into the display.

The Flagstaff Community Foundation, Geo Fund, Forest Highlands Foundation, Flagstaff Rotary Foundation and the Still Water Foundation sponsored the 2012 Discovery season. Flagstaff Cultural Partners also provides funding to MNA to support educational programs, including Discovery.

MNA has a long and illustrious history and evokes the very spirit of the Colorado Plateau. It serves as the gateway to understanding this region, with nine exhibit galleries revealing Native cultures, artistic traditions, and natural sciences. MNA's Discovery programs provide hands-on experiential learning opportunities for youths that highlight the natural and cultural landscapes of the Colorado Plateau. The Museum is located three miles north of historic downtown Flagstaff on Highway 180, scenic route to the Grand Canyon.

For more information, call (928) 774-5213 or visit to musnaz.org. MNA is on Facebook at Facebook.com/musnaz or at http://twitter.com/MuseumofNAZ.

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