Originally Published: July 6, 2011 9:55 p.m.
Native American artists of all genres will bring their works and their passion for what they create to the 14th annual Prescott Indian Art Market Saturday and Sunday at the Sharlot Hall Museum.
When master artist and Choctaw-Cherokee Judith Durr-Kull of Cave Creek stands before her easel with her oils and brushes, she paints Native American subjects. Her canvas will become a scene with beaded moccasins, pottery or rugs in a background with artifacts or perhaps a kachina.
Her passion "is to paint my heritage," she said. "It's a great honor. It's inspiring."
Rocks "speak" to artist David Morris, who does modern petroglyphs using stone tools just as prehistoric Native Americans did.
He searches the desert around his Arizona City, Ariz., home for small boulders left from basaltic volcanoes. "When I see the rock, it tells me what's supposed to be there," he said. And symbols that stir his vision might be the "protective" sun, "because it's the highest and watches over all of us," an animal figure or perhaps the popular kokopelli design.
Morris, a Oklahoma Chocktaw, used to be in the landscaping business and got into his art form when he needed an accent piece for a client's landscape. He had always been fascinated by petroglyphs and thought he might be able to produce one.
The gentleman whose yard he was designing liked it, and so did his neighbor who wanted one, too.
"It became an endeavor I enjoying doing," he said.
Morris will bring a boulder to work on throughout the Prescott Indian Art Market, and Sandy Lynch, who produces the two-day show, said people always line up to watch him.
Wallace Ben, a full-blooded Navajo who grew up on the reservation in Shiprock, N.M., learned his sandpainting art and its ceremonial rituals from his grandfathers, who were both medicine men.
"I know the colors. I know the symbols. I know the chants," he said.
"It's all by my fingers," he said of his works of art. "The sand trickles through my fingers."
He will be demonstrating and explaining his Navajo traditional ceremonial sandpainting art at the museum's event and, as people watch him, "they will be amazed," he said.
The sand he uses represents earth colors, he said, another aspect of sandpainting that he learned from his grandparents. And, he added, "Every color and every symbol has a spiritual name.
"My work represents spiritual significance. It's exposing your feelings through your heart and mind to another person's heart and mind."
Nearly 100 artists representing a wide array of Indian tribes will exhibit jewelry, metal sculpture, painting, needlepoint, pottery, glass-blowing, stained glass, photography, clothing, home accessories, folk art, baskets and much more during the market, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for the general public and $3 for museum members. Children will get in for free.
When the museum planned the first Prescott Indian Art Market 14 years ago, less than 50 artists signed up for the event, Lynch said. "We have never had to worry about artists ever since," she said. "Prescott people really like and appreciate American Indian art. That's what it tells us."
The dragging economy has made it difficult for artists to get their materials at reasonable prices and pay for gas and other travel expenses to get to marketplaces, Lynch said.
But, when they do reach shows, "People have been there for them," she said. "Come out and say hello."
The two-day market will also feature entertainment in the outdoor amphitheater by Native American dancers, singers and musicians, and the ever-popular Navajo fry bread.
"We say, 'Come for the fry bread and stay for the art,'" Lynch said.