Take caution and check for road closures due to wildfires in the North Cascades.
August 12, 2019

Christina Claassen, Marketing & PR Manager
Whatcom Museum

Whatcom Museum Showcases Contemporary Native Artists in New Series

The Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, WA is happy to announce a new ongoing series featuring Native American contemporary artists. “In the Spirit of the People: Native Contemporary Artists” will bring works by Coast Salish artists into the Museum’s galleries and public spaces on a rotating basis.

Executive Director Patricia Leach said the series allows the Museum to highlight outstanding contemporary artwork that will complement the ongoing exhibit “People of the Sea and Cedar" located in the Lightcatcher building.

“We want our visitors to experience the vibrant culture of Native communities, both through their traditions, as well as through contemporary artwork,” Leach said.

Raya Friday1

The series also provides the opportunity to work more closely with members of area tribes.

To kick off the series, Lummi Nation glass artist Raya Friday recently installed her piece “People of the Fire” in the Lightcatcher building lobby. The sculpture of glass, bronze and stone depicts a series of flames, each with a hand-carved face. Friday said the piece represents the spirituality of the elements and the idea that “everything in the natural world has its own energy, its own spirit.”

The Museum has plans to include artwork within the “People of the Sea and Cedar” gallery, including works by Lummi Nation glass artist (and Raya’s brother) Dan Friday.   

Victoria Blackwell, director of exhibitions and programs, said the “People of the Sea and Cedar” exhibit was originally designed to include a dedicated space to showcase the works of contemporary Pacific Northwest indigenous artists.

“The goal is to provide a venue that not only shows visitors the heritage and culture of the area’s First Peoples, but also celebrates the modern artists and their artworks that reflect their cultural history, their strength and unity today, and the resilience of their people,” Blackwell said.

Raya Friday’s sculpture will be on display in the Lightcatcher lobby through October 2019. 

About the Whatcom Museum
The Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., offers a variety of exhibitions, programs, tours and activities about art, nature and Northwest history for all ages. Its multi-building campus is located in the heart of Bellingham's downtown arts district. The Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora St., and Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St., are open Wednesdays – Sundays, Noon – 5 p.m. For more information about our exhibitions and admission, visit whatcommuseum.org.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
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