‘Reawakening The Great Basin’ Celebrates Native American Art for Artown

Reawakening the Great Basin: A Native American Arts and Cultural Gathering, takes place from 10 am to 5 pm Saturday, July 14 at the Nevada Museum of Art

This summer, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony comes together with the Nevada Museum of Art to celebrate Native American art, culture, community, and tradition. The day will feature a variety of Native American artists, dancers, storytellers and musicians sharing traditional and contemporary culture and art from a variety of cultures including Paiute, Washoe, Shoshone, Pala, Patwin and more. The event takes place from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday, July 14 at the Nevada Museum of Art, 160 West Liberty Street in downtown Reno. Admission is free.

Reawakening the Great Basin is designed to bring together a variety of Native American cultural traditions, while also celebrating contemporary interpretations rooted in those traditions. Throughout the day, numerous performing artists will demonstrate a variety of dances and song, including the traditional Grindstone Patwin Dancers, Pala Band of Mission Indians from Southern California, Owens Valley Paiute War Dancers, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Pow Wow Club, Hoop Dancing by Sage Romero, and Eagle Wings Pageant Dancers. Traditional and contemporary musical performances, like Young Chief and the all-female drum group The Mankillers, will inspire and excite the multi-generational, multi-cultural crowd.

“For thousands of years, the Native Americans of the Great Basin have owned a beautiful, adaptive culture through ancient languages, songs, and dance. In 2018, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony is thrilled to partner with the Nevada Museum of Art to share our authentic American Indian arts with the public in this remarkable venue with the support and assistance of the distinguished, professional Museum staff. For the last three years, the RSIC has steadily grown our Artown event, and this year, we are organizing one of the largest, most comprehensive and inspirational Native American gatherings in the West,” said Arlan D. Melendez, Chairman of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony.

During this free Artown event, the public is invited to meet several established and emerging Native American visual artists from across the region who will be selling their traditional and contemporary artworks, crafts, and culturally-inspired objects, and sharing their knowledge. Representatives from the Great Basin Native Artists, including Jack Malotte, Ben Aleck, Melissa Melero, and Phil Buckheart, will join dozens of artisans in a festive marketplace in the Reynolds Grand Hall. Handcrafted works including beaded items, pillows, and blankets and other wares by local and regional artisans will be available for purchase. Great Basin basket weaving and Tule duck decoy constructing demonstrations will take place in the Founder’s Room of the Museum, so that attendees can not only watch and learn about the practical use of these ancient items, but also purchase the authentic treasures from the artists.

“The Nevada Museum of Art is deeply honored to work alongside the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, and hope it will be the first of many collaborations,” said Nevada Museum of Art Chief Executive Officer David Walker. “Nevada’s rich and varied cultures and unique geography inform what we do every day at this Museum. Nevada’s Native American traditions and culture informs the art of our region, the conversations we have about culture, and our interdisciplinary exhibition and education programs. We honor the history and vibrant culture of this place, especially the culture of Nevada’s indigenous peoples, because the story of Nevada resonates globally.”

Sara Paschall, a visiting Pyramid Lake Paiute artist, will lead hands-on workshops for children inspired by the Great Basin Tribes; they will make pictographs on slate. Other activities include RSIC Language and Culture Youth Storytellers sharing Great Basin Creation stories, Native American Royalty greeters, gallery talks, and more. Food and drink will be available for purchase, including Indian Tacos prepared by Natalie Smith, and Star Village Coffee.

Reawakening the Great Basin: A Native American Arts and Cultural Gathering, presented by the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony in collaboration with the Nevada Museum of Art is a free family-friendly event. This Artown gathering presents an opportunity for people from all backgrounds, spanning multiple generations, to come together to learn, listen, shop, participate, and celebrate Native American culture during this very special community day.

Reawakening the Great Basin takes place from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday, July 14 at the Nevada Museum of Art, Donald W. Reynolds Center for the Visual Arts, E. L. Wiegand Gallery, located at 160 West Liberty Street in downtown Reno, Nevada. More info and detailed schedule of events at http://www.nevadaart.org/calendar/2018/07/14/.

Hospitality sponsorship for this event is provided by Grand Sierra Resort and Casino. Additional support from the City of Reno Arts & Culture Commission.


The RSIC was established in 1917 with the Bureau of Indian Affairs purchase of 20 acres which became the core of Colony. In 1926, the addition of a contiguous parcel increased the land base to 28.8 acres. The first formal council of the RSIC was organized in 1934, and the election for the adoption of the Constitution was held on December 16, 1935. Located in Reno, Nev., the RSIC consists of over 1,150 members from three Great Basin Tribes – the Paiute, the Shoshone, and the Washoe and provides essential services to over 7,000 Natives. Today, the reservation lands consist of the original twenty-eight-acre Colony located in central west Reno and another 15,263 acres in Hungry Valley, which is nineteen miles north of the Colony and west of Spanish Springs, Nev., nestled in scenic Eagle Canyon. Learn more at rsic.org.


The Nevada Museum of Art, Donald W. Reynolds Center for the Visual Arts, E. L. Wiegand Gallery is the only art museum in Nevada accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). A private, nonprofit organization founded in 1931, the Reno-based institution is supported by its membership as well as sponsorships, gifts and grants. Through its permanent collections, original exhibitions and programming, and E.L. Cord Museum School, the Nevada Museum of Art provides meaningful opportunities for people to engage with a range of art and education experiences. The Museum’s Center for Art + Environment is an internationally-recognized research center dedicated to supporting the practice, study, and awareness of creative interactions between people and their environments. The Center houses unique archive materials from more than 1,000 artists working on all seven continents, including Cape Farewell, Michael Heizer, Walter de Maria, Lita Albuquerque, Burning Man, the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Ugo Rondinone, and Trevor Paglen. Learn more at nevadaart.org.

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