Hopi Festival canceled for first time in 70 years
Museum of Northern Arizona announces limited reopening July 2

The Museum of Northern Arizona celebrates Hopi culture during the 2018 annual Hopi Festival Arts and Culture. (Ryan Williams Photography)

The Museum of Northern Arizona celebrates Hopi culture during the 2018 annual Hopi Festival Arts and Culture. (Ryan Williams Photography)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — For the first time since WWII, the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) announced it will not hold the Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture, or any of the heritage festivals for the Navajo and Zuni, this year because of the continuing spread of COVID-19.

“After months of trying to reimagine the annual summer festivals, celebrating indigenous arts and culture in a way that they could safely continue, we have determined that we must cancel the festivals for this year completely,” said Kristan Hutchison, director of Marketing for MNA. “We make this decision with heavy hearts, recognizing that these festivals are important to the community, and particularly to the artists who depend on the sales they make at the festival.”

Hutchison said initially the museum had worked on the idea of rescheduling all the festivals for one event in September with the idea that the pandemic would have been under control by then.

“Unfortunately, with the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state and the nation, and the vulnerability of Native populations, we realize that it’s unlikely we can hold a large gathering in September, even if it was going to be outdoors and dispersed,” Hutchison said.

Economic impact on artists

About 300 artists participate in the three arts and culture festivals for the Hopi, Zuni and Navajo throughout the summer. Amelia George, public programs manager for the museum said that the decision to cancel the even was not made lightly, but the health and safety of all visitors, staff, volunteers and artists who participate in the event was paramount.

“Given the ever-increasing rate of COVID though out the state and on the reservations, we could see a sure way to hold such a large scale event safely,” George said.

But the cancellation comes at a cost for the artists.

Depending on the artists, most average $2,000-$3,000 over the weekend of the festivals.

A few of the artists take home closer to $5,000 or $10,000 and a few sell their entire inventory in one night, according to Amelia George, public programs manager for the museum.

“We are very concerned with the economic loss this cancellation will have on Native artists who rely on these kinds of events for their livelihood,” George said.

MNA is working right now to update the artist lists on its website from this year’s heritage festivals with information that will link visitors straight to an artist’s website or social media.

“In this new world we find ourselves in, virtual sales are becoming more and more important,” George said. “I would encourage anyone who is interesting in supporting Native art to seek out artists online, follow them on social media, check out their websites and buy directly from those artists. Even if it is something as simple as buying a $5 sticker, every dollar we can give to support Native art really does make a difference.”

Museum of Northern Arizona will reopen on a limited basis starting July 2

After more than three months of closure, the Museum of Northern Arizona will reopen on a limited basis starting July 2 on Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m,

The museum will only be open for pre-booked visitors who mush purchase tickets and reserve their visit time in advance online at the at the following link found on musnaz.org https://1737.blackbaudhosting.com/1737/page.aspx?pid=213&tab=2&txobjid=0852dd40-17d8-473f-bea3-db43f96cef49.

This requirement is necessary so the museum can limit and spread out the number of visitors in building at any one time — up to 10 people will be permitted to enter the museum each half hour.

The last booking time for visitors to enter the museum will be at 2 p.m.

For non-members, admission tickets will be $12, with no discounts or refunds. Members will need to reserve a visit time online, but won’t need to pay anything additional for their ticket. However, guest passes will not be accepted. Children ages 9 and under will be free, but also must reserve a ticket and be counted as part of the 10 person limit.

The museum has made a number of changes to enhance the safety of visitors, following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and consulting with the Coconino County Health Department:

All museum visitors will be required to wear a mask while inside the exhibits building and are encouraged to bring their own mask. Visitors who don’t bring a mask will be able to purchase one at the front desk. All museum staff will be wearing masks as well.

Visitors are also encouraged to bring their own water bottles, since the museum drinking fountains are shut down, following the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control.

Visitors will be offered individual styluses to use when interacting with touch screens or pushing buttons that are part of museum displays. Individual activity packets are available for children, replacing the activity tables. Hand-sanitizer stations have been placed at strategic locations, including in the lobby and by the kids Discovery Area.

A one-way route has been identified to keep people moving through the museum with appropriate spacing between groups.

During closure the museum was deep cleaned from the rafters to the floors. Frequent cleaning continues with the partial reopening.

The museum shop will be open as well, and is always open online at shopmusnaz.org.

The museum also continues to provide programs online, including artist demonstrations, garden talks, education for kids, and more. More information and to watch videos of past programs is available at https://www.facebook.com/musnaz/.

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