Native talent recognized at Museum of Northern Arizona’s Junior Indigenous Art Exhibition and Competition

Michelle Billy holding her piece, The Beach (Photos/Museum of Northern Arizona)

Michelle Billy holding her piece, The Beach (Photos/Museum of Northern Arizona)

FLAGSTAFF — The Museum of Northern Arizona’s annual Junior Indigenous Art Exhibition and Competition saw a record-breaking number of 35 art pieces submitted by Native artists from the Colorado Plateau.

Among the talented group were two young artists who were recognized for their talents, Viviana Keediibaa Porinchok and Michelle Billy.

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Viviana Keediibaa Porinchok holding her piece, Snow Bath (Photos/Museum of Northern Arizona)

Viviana’s piece, “Snow Bath,” earned her the first-place Youth Cultural Arts award. Meanwhile, Michelle’s “The Beach” earned her second place in the Youth 2D & 3D Fine Arts category.

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Michelle Billy holding her piece, The Beach (Photos/Museum of Northern Arizona)

The judges, Janet Yazzie, Jonah Hill, and Curtis Quam evaluated the entries on style, technique and creativity. The museum said it was difficult deciding the winners, as all the submissions were of exceptional quality. Curtis Quam, a museum technician and cultural educator of the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center, commented that “each artist is an important part of keeping our identities going,” and he hopes to see these young artists continue to express themselves through art.

The Junior Indigenous Art Exhibition and Competition has a rich history dating back to 1931 when it was started by Museum of Northern Arizona co-founder and Curator of Art Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton. Today, the competition is open to young Native artists from the Colorado Plateau, and the awards are given in two age groups — Youth (ages 12 and under) and Young Adult (ages 13 to 18) - across two categories, 2D Fine Art and Cultural Art. Information about the 2024 competition will be announced Fall 2023.

For a complete list of award winners, gallery of all 35 submissions and more information, visit musnaz.org/juniorart.

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