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Northern Arapaho artists put work on display

Dec 16, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

The artwork includes beading, drawings, pottery, mixed media and photography.

The first Winter Art Show at the Wind River Hotel and Casino opened Dec. 2 with a collection showcasing a variety of art forms from local Northern Arapaho artists.

An opening reception in the Northern Arapaho Experience Cultural Room unveiled James Dewey's beading, Myron Friday's drawings, Zoe Friday's photography, Judy Groathouse's pottery and Jackie Sevier's mixed media.

The artists

Dewey strayed away from his usual jingle dress beading work to create a unique 1910 beaded McClelland Cavalry Saddle with matching Arapaho style saddlebags and horse mask. He said he used the lazy stitch style of beading on smoked brain tanned buckskin. The Arapaho saddlebags, war mask and trophy saddle sat atop a wooden horse in the center of the floor during the reception to give example of how it would look.

"This is the first time I tried something different," Dewey said, explaining he usually beads Northern and Cheyenne style dresses.

Dewey didn't just jump into the idea. He said he first did some research, especially for the mask. Beading has always been a part of his family, he said. When he was a child, he would see his mother bead for his father, and it wasn't until he got older and got married that he started to do his own beading.

"Beading is a way to relax," he said.

It took him about six months to make the mask and longer to make the saddle. He took second place at the Black Hills Art Expo in Rapid City, S.D., with the same display in 2011. Also in 2011 he received the Best of Show award at the Casper Art Show. Besides being a Northern Arapaho Tribe member, Dewey said he is also a direct descendant of Chief Sharpnose, who was the last warrior chief of the Northern Arapaho Tribe.

Sisters

Groathouse briefly presented the artwork of her sister Sevier who could not attend. Groathouse said Sevier entered a pastel landscape on embossed paper with gold leaf paint and mixed media paper, with acrylic and gold leaf paint.

Groathouse said she became a potter after taking her first independent art class. She said she has been doing pottery for 15 years and started by doing only hand-build work without throwing the clay on a wheel. Groathouse said dug up the clay from a family farm to create the sets she called "Wild Horses," "Prairie Power" and "Peril." She said she has enjoyed using the art rooms at Central Wyoming College.

Drawing

Myron Friday's drawing consisted mainly of eagles, horses and other wild animals. He said he started drawing at the age of 7. His ink work also is for sale.

Photography

Zoe Friday, who said she is a direct descendant of Chief Friday, is the granddaughter of Angeline Spoonhunter and Alvena Friday. She was raised in Ethete and started taking photos at an early age. She recently received a certificate from the New York Institute of Photography and is studying media arts in California. Friday said she likes to focus on youth and culture, because they are both important to her and easier to catch. Her skills developed over time and she said she found pride in seeing her work on paper. What began as a hobby to her later developed into something more serious, and she began to travel to take photos.

She said there's no need for a "fancy camera" to take great photos, and anyone could come to enjoy the art of photography.

Future shows

Experience room manager Irene Lawson encourages other Northern Arapaho artists to enter their artwork because the casino plans to have more shows.

"We're anxious to see what we're going to have next," Lawson said. "Whether they're young or old, it's their chance to showcase their work."

Lawson said artists could enter one or several pieces.

The show will be open until February.

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