The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County is hosting its second annual “Still Here, Still Native” Exhibition, created in partnership with the Cumberland County Schools Office of Indian Education, along with a series of cultural events in celebration of National Native American Heritage Month.
On Oct. 31, 2023, an official proclamation declared November 2023 to be National Native American Heritage Month–urging all Americans “to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities”–and the Arts Council has several plans to do just that.
According to the Arts Council’s own description of “Still Here, Still Native,” “this exhibition offers a remarkable glimpse into the rich and diverse art and cultural practices of indigenous tribes hailing from different regions across the vast expanse of North America.
Through a captivating blend of original artwork and traditional crafts, this showcase provides an immersive experience that celebrates the unique heritage and traditions of these tribes with great respect and authenticity.”
On Fri., Nov. 10, for the “Still Here, Still Native Exhibition Opening Reception” at The Arts Center, there was a private Artists Reception from 5 to 6 p.m., followed by a free Public Reception from 6 to 9 p.m. The opening featured live music and dance performances by the Cumberland County Culture Class, as well as light refreshments.
Most pieces on display will be for sale, and many prints may be ordered unframed at a reduced price. The exhibition will remain open to the public during normal gallery hours through Jan. 6, 2024.
This exhibit’s curator, Savanna Davis, shares her own aspirations for “Still Here, Still Native”: “I hope people walk through the exhibit and learn something, that they start having conversations with other people in the gallery whom they wouldn’t have an opportunity to talk to otherwise. I hope they rethink the story they’ve been told about the country they live in. I also hope they see that these are real people with real stories, and sometimes there’s real trauma that people have to unpack.”
Amidst this cultural exhibition of fine art and regalia, there will also be a resource wall, with QR codes linking to all types of Native-made content–such as books, movies, TV shows, and a podcast–to support other Native artists beyond just the exhibit.
On Sun., Nov. 19, the Arts Council will be hosting “Corn Husk Doll Make and Takes,” a free hands-on event where attendees will have the opportunity to learn about, make, and take home corn husk dolls.
Coinciding with that come-and-go event, on Sun., Nov. 19, the Arts Council will be hosting “Dr. Suzanne Cross Lecture on Residential Schools,” a free one-hour lecture/presentation in the Main Gallery between 2 and 3 p.m.
Dr. Cross is a featured “Still Here, Still Native” artist, so her work will be on display in the gallery, as well.
Her lecture/presentation is on a heavier topic, but the Arts Council is welcoming children to attend, as there will not be any graphic content. Dr. Cross has asked that no photos or videos be taken during her presentation.
From Nov. 20, through Dec. 1, the Arts Council will also be hosting the final leg of the “Indigenous Dress Tour”– organized by April Whittemore Locklear in honor of her mother, Sandra Whittemore. Fayetteville is significant to their family, because it is where Sandra Whittemore met her husband and settled down to live for more than 40 years.
Thirteen unique pieces of regalia, made by Sandra Whittemore over the years, will be displayed on mannequins in The Arts Center’s gallery during regular gallery hours (closed on November 23 and 24).
Finally, from 12 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 2, the Arts Council will be hosting a free craft-activity event.
During this come-and-go event, the craft will be “Lumbee Pinecone Patchwork Quilt Make and Takes,” and attendees will have the chance to learn about and make their own pinecone patchwork quilt squares. From 2 to 3 p.m., they will also be hosting a local Native storyteller.