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On the blog: Native arts festival inspired by Passage of Wind and Water

Sept. 4, 2013
by Anna Huntington, community arts coordinator for The Sculpture Project

The Gathering of People, Wind and Water featured all of the above plus plenty of sunshine and outstanding Native visual and performing art last weekend at Main Street Square.

Lakota artist and gallery owner, Sandy Swallow, was inspired to create the celebration of Native American art and culture by sculptor Masayuki Nagase’s work, Passage of Wind and Water, and its theme of transformation.  Swallow says she hoped to build understanding and appreciation across cultures through the festival.

Swallow and an organizing committee invited a slate of the region’s best Native artists to display and sell their work — Martin Red Bear, Evans Flammond, Roger Broer, Gerald Yellowhawk, Jennifer White, Sandy Swallow, Don Montileaux, Quentin Maldonado, and Stephanie Hunter Sorbel.

Swallow also lined up excellent performances by the Lakota Singers drum group, Lakota Ways theatrical group, Jiiniikwe, and Lakota George, the flute player and maker. Bryant High Horse added fun and personality as master of ceremonies.

The event opened with a color guard procession honoring veterans and an honoring song and star quilt presented to Nagase. The artist says he was deeply touched by the gesture.

“I think that as a first time event it was very promising,” says participating Black Hills artist Don Montileaux. “The people who came to the event left with a better understanding of Native art and also were enlightened by the performers’ and the artists’ professional approach to their art. I hope that we can continue to have this type of event in Rapid City and Main Street Square.”

Denton Fastwhirlwind, among the event’s youngest artists, won the best in show award and $500 prize money. The first place $300 prize went to Jennifer Hunter Sorbel, the $200 second place prize to Gerald Yellowhawk and the third place $100 prize to Martin Red Bear. A panel of judges, including Nagase and Prairie Edge gallery curator Teresa Fugate, awarded the prizes.

Event supporters were Destination Rapid City, First People’s Fund, and Pine Ridge Chamber of Commerce. The event was also supported through a Sculpture Project Arts Programming grant.

The organizing committee included Mary Bordeaux, Wayne Morgan, Lori Pourier, Martin Red Bear, Merlene and Roger Broer, and Don Montileaux.

“It was great to see such talented artists at Main Street Square during the Gathering,” says Carmen Hansen, program officer at the Vucurevich Foundation and a member of the Sculpture Project Advisory Committee. “It was a great summer afternoon.”

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