Students from the Tacoma School of the Arts, (SOTA), and the Science and Math Institute, (SOTA), met together for 12 days in January in a Spirit of Art mini-term class which focused on Native American art, history, culture, and legends, with a heavy emphasis on our own Puyallup Native Americans. We were blessed to spend time with Shaun Peterson, a Puyallup artist of a great variety of mediums, one of his most recent being the Welcome Figure at Tollefson Plaza in Tacoma. His art became a solid example of the Salish style.
The students began by first copying one of Mr. Peterson’s styles, then going on to draw something from their own life, or to illustrate a legend or poem that they had come up with, being sure to include many of the symbols that were common to Salish artists. For many students, this was their first time in a high school art class, and we think they did a marvelous job. We’ve included mostly art today, with a few legends or poems, due to a fabulous gift of a color page from the Tacoma Weekly staff. We’d like to thank them for being generous and agreeable to this idea. As you peruse the art, I think you’ll quickly see why we wanted to go with color.
Outside of the classroom we were also honored to get to hear from Connie McCloud and Isador Tom at the Puyallup Tribe’s new youth center on Levee Road. Connie shared her own life story, as well as her heart’s dream for the Puyallup youth, and how they would find hope through this great building. Mr. Tom shared much about spirituality, and how it is a part of our lives.
Further down the road, students were given a tour by Gabriel Landry of the Puyallup Tribe’s Clinic, Spirit House, and the outside of the Elder’s Building, as Shaun Peterson had done the artwork on the door. We felt so grateful to all of these people for giving our students their time and wisdom. ~ SAMI instructors for this class were: Mary Mann (art), Amy Hawthorne (Humanities), and Shari Shelton (Creative Writing).