This weekend at the Washington State History Museum it’s the annual Native Arts Market and Festival. Held outdoors between the museum and the Bridge of Glass, the market is a great way to see local artists of many tribes in a variety of media: carving, weaving, glass, printmaking and more. There are storytellers and dancers, musicians and food vendors, and the outdoor stuff is all free.
With museum admission, though, you get to see “In the Spirit,” the exhibition component to the market. It’s a juried show, with prizes awarded and a People’s Choice award (which you can vote on until 5 p.m. this Sunday.) This year’s exhibit is smaller than in previous years, with more average and less high quality art, but it’s still worth a look.
With just 16 two-dimensional and 11 three-dimensional works, it doesn’t take long to make your way around the large exhibition room on the WSHM’s third floor. Amid the preponderance of rather sentimental batik prints and cheesy loud acrylics are some understated, well-wrought items. A lovely bentwood box by Pete Peterson (Skokomish), has pale and cleanly carved sides, the lid woven in warm red and yellow cedar bark by Lois Thadei. Two interesting quilts include “Sea Otter Family” by Alaina Capoeman (Quinalut), its indigo and black wool quilted into a bold cut-out design.
One of the best is “Happy Frog” by Margaret Morris (Tlingit) – an elkskin drum painted with a wonderfully cheeky female frog, feet delicate and turquoise, mouth an orange-lipstick smile.
“In the Spirit: Northwest Native Arts Market and Festival” runs 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 8 and noon-5 p.m. Aug. 9. Outdoor activities free, indoor exhibit admission$25 families/$8 adults/$7 for seniors/$6 students and military/free for age five and under. For information and schedule, see www.washingtonhistory.org/artsfestival