Center of Southwest Studies receives award for PIVOT: Skateboard Deck Art exhibit

The Center of Southwest Studies was recently awarded the 2022 International Guardians of Culture and Lifeways Outstanding Project Award by the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) in recognition of “PIVOT: Skateboard Deck Art (Photo/Center of Southwest Studies)

The Center of Southwest Studies was recently awarded the 2022 International Guardians of Culture and Lifeways Outstanding Project Award by the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) in recognition of “PIVOT: Skateboard Deck Art (Photo/Center of Southwest Studies)

DURANGO, Colo. — The Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College has been awarded the 2022 International Guardians of Culture and Lifeways Outstanding Project Award by the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM).

This award was given in recognition of PIVOT: Skateboard Deck Art, an exhibition featuring 114 works of art on skateboard decks by Indigenous artists that was guest curated by Duane Koyawena (Hopi) and Landis Bahe (Diné), with exhibition manager Sam Honanie (Hopi/Diné).

The other Outstanding Project Award was given to the Library of Congress for "Living Nations, Living Words: A Map of First Peoples Poetry," a signature project of the first Native U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo.

Center of Southwest Studies curator Elizabeth Quinn MacMillan accepted the award on behalf of the Center on Oct. 26 at the ATALM annual conference in Temecula, California.

As Quinn MacMillan noted, “It is such an honor to be recognized for a collaboration we are so proud of – working with Duane, Landis, Sam, and so many artists to bring PIVOT: Skateboard Deck Art to the Center and Fort Lewis College. Sharing this exhibit with our campus and local community was such a joy during a challenging time and to receive this award from ATALM just means so much.”

The PIVOT exhibition, which was on display at the Center of Southwest Studies from March 25, 2020 to March 12, 2021, was designed to celebrate contemporary Native art while acknowledging the traditional cultures that shaped the identities of the artists who participated.

As Koyawena and Bahe explained, "This exhibition reflects our lives – unique yet universal. PIVOT refers to the quick transitions we make between our traditional and day-to-day lives. We often work in cities while continuing to contribute to our ancestral communities and homelands. As individuals, we’ve learned to shift between these incongruous societies and to integrate them within ourselves. As artists, we’ve developed motifs melding traditional themes with contemporary experiences. … We chose our tools – brush or knife, paint or ink – then created, with the same agility that we use to navigate through the maze of days and between cultures. At any moment, we can switch directions. At any moment, we can change the picture, paint over, sand back to bare wood, transform what was into what will be. We balance here in this moment, between where we’ve been and where we’re going, placing our mark in the pivotal “now.” Art reflects life. We hope this art can also inspire."

As an academic museum, archives, and library dedicated to the diverse cultures, histories, and environments of the Southwest, the Center of Southwest Studies provides collections-based learning opportunities and internships for undergraduate students, preserves and provides access to its diverse research collections, and offers exhibits and educational programs for the College and the public. During COVID, the Center turned to social media to make connections between the public and artists participating in PIVOT, producing a number of interviews that expand on themes explored in the exhibition, including family, community, respect, cultural identity, loss, and hope for the future.

Information provided by Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College.

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