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Native Skywatchers

Earth - sky - connections

on view: June 4 - 29, 2018

Native Skywatchers – Earth Sky Connections traveling art exhibit brings together professional artists and community artists to share their compelling visual stories, both personal and cultural, about multidimensional relationships to earth and sky.

With the support of three back-to-back Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB) grants, the Native Skywatchers team has designed and delivered approximately forty hands-on art making workshops to native and non-native communities and schools since 2014. Workshop venues include locations throughout the state of Minnesota: Mille Lacs Indian Museum, Fond du Lac Cultural Center, the Stearns History Museum, the Goodhue Historical Center, the Duluth Art Institute, Perpich Center for the Arts, Elk River High School, Fond du Lac Clinic, Nay Ah Shing Ojibwe School, Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, Carleton School, etc.

The Native Skywatchers (NSW) initiative was founded in 2007 by mixed race native astronomer- artist A. Lee. Six years of NASA funding supported the science-focused branch of Native Skywatchers which was well received especially by educators through the state. Educator workshops and resources created by the NSW team are supported by the Minnesota Department of Education and other educational institutions. Two native star maps: Ojibwe Giizhig Anung Masiinagaan and D(K)akota Makoce Wichanpi have been tremendously popular since created in 2012. In 2015 A. Lee and W. Wilson were offered tobacco by a representative of the Ininew nation, Wilfred Buck, to paint the Ininew star map. In 2016, A. Lee and W. Buck working with, D. Pantalony, co-curated an indigenous astronomy exhibit for the national science museum in Canada, “One Sky-Many Astronomies”.

The over-arching goal of the NSW initiative is to revitalize our human connection with earth and sky, starting with our own communities – Ojibwe and D(L)akota. The NSW initiative weaves together art, science, and culture with authenticity and meaning. This work is truly interdisciplinary and inclusive. With growing momentum, this community based research and programming is at the cutting edge of defining indigenous STEM and what it means to work at the art/science nexus.

The NSW art programming looks to our cultural knowledge as a springboard to widening participation in the arts by native artists and community members. In this way we are all inspired to strengthen or rekindle our relationship to earth and sky...and our place in the above and below. Kapemni.


Gallery Hours:

Monday - Thursday, 10am - 4pm

1530 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404