The doors of Washington State History Museum will be open for free admission to everyone Aug. 11, as the museum’s seventh annual In The Spirit Northwest Native Arts Market and Festival takes place all day in the outside courtyard and inside the museum. It will be a full day of events featuring vendors showcasing goods from local Native American artisans – weavers, printmakers, carvers and beaders – in addition to demonstrations, dancers, musicians and storytellers scheduled to perform in the museum’s 300-seat outdoor amphitheater.
A new feature this year inside the museum will be demonstrations on basket weaving with master weaver and Puyallup tribal member Karen Skyki Reed (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.); carving with Makah artist Alex McCarty (2-6 p.m.); and how to make a dream catcher with artist Brenda Gallo Paul (noon to 4 p.m.), which kids in particular will enjoy. All artists participating in the festival are skilled masters of their craft and offer adults and children alike this introduction to generations of knowledge and tradition. More festival activities take place inside the museums as well.
Capping off the museum’s “In The Spirit” exhibition of contemporary Native American art that runs through Aug. 26, the festival and free museum admission make the perfect opportunity for visitors to see this incredible collection of art before it closes.
“We have a few free days during the year, but have never done this day free before,” said Lynette Miller, head of collections at Washington State History Research Center. She noted that at 5 p.m. an awards ceremony will take place at the festival where several of the exhibit’s pieces will be announced as winners of award including People’s Choice, Pendleton Award, Legacy Gallery Award (courtesy of Legacy Gallery in Seattle, acknowledged by many museums and collectors as the nation’s foremost source of traditional Northwest Coast Indian and Alaskan Native Art, both historic and contemporary) and Washington State Historical Society Purchase Prize.
In The Spirit Northwest Native Arts Market and Festival will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The museum is located at 1911 Pacific Ave. See the full schedule of events accompanying this article for more information.