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September Issue 2010

Pickens County Museum of Art & History in Pickens, SC, Features Works by Cherokee Carvers

The Pickens County Museum of Art & History in Pickens, SC, will present the exhibit, Cherokee Carvers: Tradition Renewed, featuring the works of sixteen Cherokee artists, on view from Sept. 11 through Nov. 11, 2010.

This exhibition will examine different aspects of late 20th and early 21st century Cherokee carving. It will include ritual objects, functional wares and pieces designed to be sold to tourists and collectors. The exhibition will include both stone and wood carvings and focuses on artists working in Western North Carolina today.

James Bud Smith

Artists included in the exhibition are Davy Arch, Irma & James Bradley, Amanda Crowe, Virgil Crowe, Butch Goins, John Grant, Virgil Ledford, Pete Long, Freeman Owle, Joel Queen, James Bud Smith, Stan Tooni, Jr., Stan Tooni, Sr., Charlie Watty and Fred Wilnoty.

Amanda Crowe

Of these, Amanda Crowe (1928 ­ 2004) was a major influence on contemporary Cherokee artists. She earned degrees from DePaul University and the Art Institute of Chicago and later received a fellowship to study in Mexico with sculptor Jose de Creeft at Institute Allende. In 1953 she was employed by the Cherokee Historical Association as an instructor at Cherokee schools and held that position for nearly 40 years. Many of the artists in this exhibition studied with Crowe.

This exhibition was organized and curated by the Asheville Art Museum and is sponsored by RTCAR (Revitalization of Traditional Cherokee Artisan Resources), Cherokee Preservation Foundation, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Western Carolina University.

In conjunction with this exhibition, the Pickens County Museum will, on Oct. 23, 2010, from 1-4pm, host the artist, Freeman Owle for a lecture on Cherokee art & culture followed by stone carving demonstrations.

Freeman, one of the artists featured in this exhibition, grew up in the Birdtown community. He says that, "Every young man had a knife in his pocket from the age of seven," so naturally he learned to carve wood at an early age. Well known in the Cherokee community, Owle serves on the board of directors of the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual and is a coordinator for the Cherokee Heritage Trails project of the Blue Ridge Heritage Initiative. He is one of the featured storytellers in the book, Living Stories of the Cherokee, and he also appears in the video documentary Cherokee: The Principal People, which aired on public television in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Kentucky.

The Pickens County Museum of Art & History is funded in part by Pickens County, members and friends of the museum and a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings or call the Museum at 864/898-5963.

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