State Native American Art Exhibit at The Atrium Gallery

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) proudly features

the State Native American Art Exhibit on display at the Atrium Gallery from August 21-Sept 29, 2017.

A Gallery Night Providence reception will be held on Thursday evening, September 21st from 6:00-8:30pm.

The evening will feature artwork from a variety of artists and live musical performances allowing you to immerse yourself in Native American art and culture. The State-run gallery is located at One Capitol Hill, State’s main administration building on Smith Street in Providence, RI.

This exhibition will feature work that represents traditional and contemporary approaches to Native American art in a variety of mediums including painted gourds, traditional/contemporary quilled textiles, Wampum bead making, embroidery, portraits and sculptures.

Artist Exhibiting:
Geraldine Barney- mixed media art, layering imagery and patterns, reinterpreting traditional Navajo motifs.
Willow Casanova- ribbon dresses
Nancy Brown Garcia – beaded jewelry, and leather belts
Graham Gruner- pencil portraits
Eleanor Dove Harris contemporary mixed media artwork
Heebe-Tee-Tse-Lee- embroidered glass beads and crystals on various textiles, including a pair of intricate canvas sneakers.
Emily Manning- finger weaving
Julia Marden- with twined bags, traditional painted gourds and male Eastern Woodland Doll
Nycole Matthews- watercolor
Deborah Spears Moorehead- mixed media artwork
Angel Beth Smith- colored pencil portraits, and weavings.
Yolanda Smith- Curator, sculptural ceramic pieces and traditional leather bags
Loren Spears- finger weaving with shells, cedar wood and deer antler.
Robin S. Spears Jr.- deer antler fan

Dawn Dove from the Tomaquag Museum, will be opening with a special blessing at 6:30pm.

Yolanda “Yani” Smith, of the Seaconke/Wampanoag Tribe, is the curator for the Native American State Art Exhibit. Yani, an artisan of North Eastern quill and beadwork, mixes traditional and contemporary art forms to connect the past and the present. Yolanda’s attention to detail and collaboration with the previous curators have given way to this synergetic exhibit that similar to her artistic approach combines the past with the present. Her work has been sold, demonstrated and exhibited at numerous Native cultural events throughout New England. In 2014, she was the featured artist of the Warwick Museum’s “Love Medicine” exhibit, and has been showcasing her work in RISCA’s annual Native and cultural exhibitions in the Atrium Gallery since 2013.

We would like to thank the previous Native American curators whose wisdom, commitment, and expertise have made this event so special. Their heart-felt appreciation for the Native American Art and Culture is evident by their continual support and guidance for the next generation of artists and curators.

Deborah Spears Moorehead is an internationally known visual and performing artist from the Wampanoag Tribe nation, who has been drawing since she was a child. From colored pencil studies to beautiful oil paintings her work focuses to assert the existence of the East Coast Woodland Native American past, present and future. She is a descendant of Massasoit through his daughter Amie and also Narragansett, Pequot, Mohegan, Nipmuc and Mohawk. Her group, Nettukkusqk, is an all-native woman Traditional Eastern Woodland singing and performance group that will be performing as part of our opening Gallery Night night celebration.

Loren M. Spears is an educator, essayist, artist and two-term Tribal Councilwoman of the Narragansett Tribe, member of the State Council on the Arts, and Executive Director of the Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, RI. The Tomaquag Museum is dedicated to sharing and preserving Indigenous arts, culture, and history.

Dawn Spears of the Narragansett/Choctaw Tribe, is the Executive Director of Northeast Indigenous Arts Alliance (NIAA), formed from her prior role as the Native Arts Program Manager for New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) in Boston, MA. This newly formed organization works to support the Native American artist population regionally by sharing resources and artist opportunities, addressing artist needs and seeking ways to increase the visibility in the northeast. In 2016 NIAA partnered with IFAM and the Mashantucket Pequot Museum bringing the first large indigenous market to the east with “IFAM East”. Dawn has recently joined the staff at the Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor, ME to produce the inaugural 2018 Abbe Museum Indian Market.

Angel Beth Smith, of the Narragansett Tribe, is a multifaceted artist with more than 30 years of experience providing artistic content, teaching, and marketing support to academic institutions, churches and private organizations. As graduate of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Angel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Textile Design She creates intricate weavings and meticulously detailed images using various mediums including pastels, conte crayon, and watercolor as a means of expression.

Traditional music will be showcased during the opening event on Thursday, September 21st between 6-8:30pm.


Eastern Medicine Singers are an Algonquin Drum Group from Providence, RI. The Eastern Medicine Singers are dedicated to keeping the eastern woodlands American Indian culture alive.


Nettukkusqk is an intertribal Native American Traditional music-singing group.


Geraldine Barney is an artist and musician whose music is featured on the Smithsonian Folkway label. She has performed at the Department of the Interior Celebration for Native American Awareness Day in Washington, D.C.

About RISCA:
The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is a state agency supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders.

Gallery Night Providence#MyGalleryNight

About Atrium Gallery:
The Atrium Gallery was developed by RISCA to exhibit the work of Rhode Island artists in the State Capitol Complex. It hosts exhibits on a rotating basis, in partnership with community artists and art organizations from across the state. The contemporary gallery frequently showcases artwork from a variety of diverse groups including Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Native American community among others.

For additional information contact: Elena Calderon- Patino, Community Arts Program Director,

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