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High Desert Museum Now Accepting Submissions for the 2023 Waterston Desert Writing Prize - 01/05/23

BEND, OR — The High Desert Museum is now accepting submissions for the 2023 Waterston Desert Writing Prize.

The Prize honors outstanding literary nonfiction that illustrates artistic excellence, sensitivity to place, and desert literacy with the desert as both subject and setting. Emerging, mid-career and established nonfiction writers are invited to apply.

The Museum will award one writer with a $3,000 cash award as part of the Waterston Desert Writing Prize. The Prize also includes a reading and reception at the Museum in Bend on September 14, 2023 and a residency at PLAYA at Summer Lake, an arts and sciences residency campus located in Summer Lake, Oregon that sits on the edge of the Great Basin in Southern Oregon. The tranquil natural setting is a hidden gem for artists to focus on their work.

To learn more about the Waterston Desert Writing Prize and how to submit an entry, visit highdesertmuseum.org/waterston-prize. Submissions will be accepted through May 1, 2023.

The guest judge for this year’s Waterston Desert Writing Prize is Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest (Lummi). Her literary debut, Patriarchy Blues, was published in 2017. The poetry collection received the American Book Award. Priest holds a Master of Fine Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York and is the Maxine Cushing Gray Distinguished Writers Fellow at the University of Washington. Priest’s most recent book, Northwest Know-How: Beaches, is a love letter to 29 of the most beloved beaches in Washington and Oregon. Priest is the first Indigenous poet laureate of the state of Washington.

Inspired by author and poet Ellen Waterston’s love of the High Desert, a region that has been her muse for more than 40 years, the Prize launched in 2014 and annually recognizes the vital role deserts play worldwide in the ecosystem and human narrative. 

“The many gifted writers who submit their work expand how we think about deserts,” said Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “We look forward to how our perspectives will grow this year.”

The mission of the High Desert Museum’s Waterston Desert Writing Prize is to strengthen and support the literary arts and humanities in the High Desert region through recognition of literary excellence in nonfiction writing about desert landscapes, community interaction with the winning authors of the Prize, and presentations and programs that take place in association with the Prize.

In August 2020, the High Desert Museum’s official adoption of the Waterston Desert Writing Prize was announced. Since its inception, the awards ceremony has been hosted by the Museum. The mission and goals of the Prize complement those of the High Desert Museum, emphasizing the importance of protecting deserts and creating important conversations about the issues affecting them. 

“The Waterston Desert Writing Prize continues to grow in its fourth year as a High Desert Museum program,” said Ellen Waterston. “The Museum support of the literary arts has helped us reach new audiences.”

The winner of the 2022 Waterston Desert Writing Prize was Caroline Tracey. Her submission, “SALT LAKES,” is a collection of 18 essays providing a queer perspective on climate change in arid environments. Salt lakes make up approximately one third of inland waters globally and provide crucial wildlife habitat. These important bodies of water are shrinking and becoming more saline due to increased evaporation from a warming climate, secondary salinization from irrigation of desert soils and other factors. 

 

ABOUT THE MUSEUM:

THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence and was a 2021 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. To learn more, visit highdesertmuseum.org and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

 

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Natalie Kirk (Warm Springs) shows off one of the two baskets created for
Natalie Kirk (Warm Springs) shows off one of the two baskets created for
Native Artists Create Works for New Exhibition, Continued Use in Native Communities (Photo) - 01/04/23

BEND, OR — For many Native communities throughout the High Desert, what constitutes art spans beyond the walls of a gallery or a museum. Objects are alive, tied to purpose and intrinsic to thriving communities. Art is at once utilitarian and ceremonial, as well as part of the continuation of Native traditions.

Opening on January 28, 2023, Creations of Spirit will immerse High Desert Museum visitors in the Indigenous Plateau worldview, reflecting knowledge systems of tribes along the Columbia River and its tributaries.

Six Native artists commissioned for this new, original exhibition are creating artwork that will be used in Native communities before arriving at the Museum. A seventh artist is creating an interactive piece for the center of the gallery. Creations of Spirit will be a one-of-a-kind, celebratory experience featuring the stories of these living works of art. Videos, audio and large projections will immerse visitors in the landscapes and communities in which these objects are used, highlighting the theme of artwork as alive, full of stories and created for specific purposes and people. The original works will be supplemented with nine cultural items on loan from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

“The works offered by these deeply gifted and knowledgeable artists will be used in their communities to teach and share traditions,” said Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “And the objects will continue to be available to Native communities to use even after Creations of Spirit closes as part of the Museum’s collection. We plan for community members to continue to access these objects.”

The artists in Creations of Spirit have roots throughout the Plateau region. Acclaimed artist Joe Feddersen (Colville) is creating a basket that will be used to harvest roots in the spring. The contemporary sculptor, basket weaver, painter, photographer and mixed-media artist is well known for geometric patterns reflective of what is found in the environment, landscape and his Native American heritage. Feddersen is a member of the Colville Confederated Tribal Arts and Humanities Board. In 2001, he received the Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art award and is one of six Indigenous artists to be featured in the 2023 Renwick Gallery Invitational Renwick Gallery Invitational at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

RYAN! Feddersen (Colville), is a well-known regional artist working on the art piece for the center of the Creations of Spirit gallery. Feddersen grew up in Wenatchee, Washington and is now based in Tacoma. Her visual artwork utilizes metaphor, history, Plateau storytelling and pop culture influences. Her large-scale pieces have been shown at the Seattle Art Museum, Museum of Art & History Santa Cruz, Burke Museum and Portland Art Museum. 

Natalie Kirk (Warm Springs) is weaving two baskets that will be used to educate youth through schools and community programs. Kirk considers herself a contemporary weaver who has shown her artwork at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland.

H’Klumaiyat Roberta Joy Kirk (Wasco, Warm Springs, Diné) is creating regalia for young women to wear during special ceremonies. Kirk has spent her life sewing and beading since her family lost priceless family heirlooms in a house fire as a young girl. She passes down the intricate art of Plateau beadwork through classes and mentoring. Kirk was a recipient of the 2020 Governor’s Arts Award.

Phillip Cash Cash, Ph.D., (Cayuse, Nez Perce) is producing traditional Plateau flutes that he will play to help teach others about this culturally significant instrument. Cash Cash is an artist, writer, endangered language advocate and linguistic anthropology scholar. As a fluent Nez Perce speaker, he works with communities and professional organizations on projects of cultural advocacy, identity and communication. He is a co-founder of the Indigenous artist and writer collective luk’upsiimey/North Star Collective. Cash Cash serves on the board of the Endangered Language Fund and the Native Voices Endowment. 

Jefferson Greene (Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs) is constructing a tule reed canoe and paddles that will be used by Native youth in continuing important cultural traditions. Greene is an executive at the Columbia River Institute for Indigenous Development Foundation and an Ichishkiin language instructor. Greene is also an artist who offers classes to students, kindergarten to professional level in language, arts, sports, health and spiritual education.

Kelli Palmer (Wasco, Warm Springs) is creating a traditional corn husk hat known as a Patłapa. Palmer grew up on the Warm Springs Reservation. When at a Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association gathering, Palmer’s mother tricked her into walking around the room. Palmer ended up sitting down in her first class and she’s been weaving ever since. She now teaches basketry classes throughout Oregon and Washington. Among numerous awards, she received Best in Show at the Tribal Member Art Show in Warm Springs in 2009 and Honorable Mention in 2011.

The original exhibit Creations of Spirit will be open at the High Desert Museum through Sunday, October 1, 2023. Learn more at highdesertmuseum.org/creations-of-spirit.

Creations of Spirit is made possible by Bend Cultural Tourism Fund, Central Oregon Daily, Ford Family Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Old Mill District, Oregon Community Foundation and Oregon Heritage Commission with support from Bend Magazine, Cascade A&E and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation.

 

ABOUT THE MUSEUM:

The HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence and was a 2021 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. To learn more, visit highdesertmuseum.org and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

 

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