This fall, nineteen undergraduates in the Art History Museum Object class under the direction of Associate Professor Kristin Dowell are developing the exhibition Interwoven: An Exploration of Native American Basketry, to open Thursday, November 8 at 5 pm in the WJB Gallery. The exhibit explores the art, history and culture of Native American basket weaving, featuring works from the Mary Douglas Lewis North American basket collection housed at the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts.
You can help support the exhibition by making a donation through SparkFSU, a university platform that allows students to initiate and design innovative and entrepreneurial projects with financial support garnered from alumni and friends. Donations to the campaign will help these students gain maximum benefit from the experience of marketing, budgeting, planning, and fundraising, all valuable skills for future professional success.
Taught by Dr. Kristin L. Dowell, Associate Professor of Contemporary Native American Art and Indigenous Film, the Museum Object course is the culmination of the Museum Studies minor offered by the Department of Art History for undergraduates at FSU. This course examines the history, philosophy, practice, and implications of acquiring, researching, and displaying objects in art museums and gallery spaces in the modern era. The course provides students with hands-on experience in every aspect of designing and mounting a show in a gallery setting.
Woven baskets have been central to Native American identity as a highly skilled artistic practice and as intricately constructed utilitarian objects. Across North America, basket weaving techniques have undergone changes that mirrored the upheaval within the weavers’ lives, through contact with European settlers to the loss of traditional territory and removal to reservations. Our class has curated a selection of baskets from FSU’s Museum of Fine Arts which were collected by Tallahassee native Mary Douglas Lewis between 1910 and 1950. These baskets are an embodiment of historical, social, and artistic changes as baskets shifted from cultural objects to tourist souvenirs to forms of contemporary art. In the midst of this dynamic change Native American women relied on basket weaving as a means of continuity and survival to maintain cultural ways of life, economic livelihoods, Indigenous identities, and individual artistic expression.
Museums employ more than 400,000 people in the United States. Your gift gives these students an experience which can prepare them for a rewarding career in this industry, as well as marketing, budgeting, planning, and fundraising skills applicable to any future position.
The campaign is open through November 27. Individuals who make a donation prior to October 22 will have their names included in the acknowledgements panel in the exhibition.
Your gift will allow our students to:
· Present informational labels and placards
· Create installation settings to display the baskets
· Produce an exhibition catalogue
· Promote exhibition to the FSU and Tallahassee communities
· Host a documentary film screening in connection with exhibition opening