The new Tuscarora and Friends Art Gallery (formerly the OH! Gallery), located in the Lewiston Opera Hall at 736 Center St., Lewiston, now features the artwork of outstanding Native American and regional artists. Special exhibits, presentations, workshops and demonstrations are all part of the summer activities planned for the gallery.
Currently, the gallery is host to a special exhibit of student artworks from the Tuscarora Indian School. Tuscarora ancestral designs are featured in multimedia artworks, in clay, paint, pastels, inks and crayon created by kindergarten, fourth and sixth grade students at the school.
This is the next generation of talented Tuscarora artists who demonstrate their skills in pottery, sewing, beading, painting landscapes and traditional paper designs seen on Iroquois clothing. The kindergarten students used repoussé and chasing techniques to create texture to represent their individual clans on a large cooperative mural piece. An imaginative and inspiring eco-friendly exhibit depicts sea creatures, created out of recycled plastic bottles by students of art teacher Kristin Wilson.
Stop by out front to watch the "Three Sisters Garden" grow. According to Iroquois legend, corn, beans, and squash are three inseparable sisters who grow and thrive together. This tradition of interplanting corn, beans and squash in the same mounds, widespread among Native American farming societies, is a sophisticated, sustainable system that provided long-term soil fertility and a healthy diet to generations. Without the traditional knowledge of planting, harvesting and processing these crops, Europeans could not have survived in the Americas and the Tuscaroras are known throughout the Americas for their agricultural knowledge.
From now until November (Native American Month) the public is invited to participate in the creation of the "Seven Generations" hand print wall mural that will be on exhibit at the gallery. This individual or family activity uses handprints representing the seven generations teachings. To maintain a sustainable world, decisions about the future need to consider the impact on the next seven generations to come. The mural is a fundraiser for the gallery and there is a $5 fee to participate.
Gallery artists Simon Brascoupe, Rosemary Hill and Karen Hodge Russell will be this year's artists-in-residence during the Lewiston Art Festival Aug. 11 and 12. From noon to 4 p.m. each day they will offer hands-on activities and demonstrations inspired by the theme "Nature and Tradition." Western New York floral and medicinal plants will be the inspiration for artistic expression in fiber, bead work and printmaking.
Internationally known beader Hill from the Tuscarora Nation has created a magnificent beadwork piece that will be on exhibit, and she will also demonstrate her beadwork techniques for the public.
Hodge Russell of Acadian/Mi'kmaq ancestry will demonstrate weaving of floral and medicinal plant designs using an upright traditional loom and organic and locally found materials She'll also be on hand for a free "make and take" activity using real branches woven with found and natural materials for anyone to create and take.
Brascoupe, born and raised at Tuscarora, will create prints using stencils inspired by traditional medicinal plants and his grandmother's beadwork patterns. The public will be invited to make their own prints using stencils created by Simon for this program.
The three artists have worked collaboratively this past winter and spring to produce artworks in beading, fibers and prints, inspired by local and medicinal plants that will be part of an exhibit during the Art Festival. The artist-in-residence program is funded in part with a grant from Arts Niagara Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts administered through the Tonawandas' Council on the Arts Carnegie Center.
The gallery artists currently offer a schedule of classes for beginners and experienced students that runs through October. Make your own cornhusk wreath, tapestry work, beading and painting, taught by master artists/teachers from Tuscarora and Friends Gallery.
Contact Hodge Russell for more details about classes at 432-0438.