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KEY Oklahoma City

Beginning Oct. 10, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, welcomes “CRAFT IN AMERICA: Expanding Traditions.” The Museum is one of only seven stops in the multi-city tour for this exhibition showcasing scores of exciting and important examples of American creativity.

CRAFT IN AMERICA has become a national phenomenon, comprising the nationally touring exhibition, a lavishly illustrated book, a three-part PBS television series and the most comprehensive Web site of its kind. In conjunction with the exhibition at the National Cowboy Museum, OETA will rebroadcast the three-part documentary series on November 9, 23 and 30, 2008, at 1:00 p.m. The PBS documentaries are double Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning.

“There is an extraordinary wealth of objects that mean so much to who we are as a nation, part of our living heritage, that are often hiding in plain sight,” says Carol Sauvion, executive director of CRAFT IN AMERICA. She adds examples including “everything from the iconic Revere bowl, to a free-form Sam Maloof rocking chair, to a quilt that’s been passed down in your family from generation to generation.”

A Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization, CRAFT IN AMERICA Inc. pursues its mission to promote and advance original handcrafted work, through educational programs in all media. “CRAFT IN AMERICA: Expanding Traditions” celebrates these works of art and recognizes them as important pieces of history linking us to the very essence of American culture.

Before the advent of widespread mechanization and the digital age, all members of given communities were craftspeople. Everything that was necessary for life—clothing, tools, and home furnishings—was made by hand. Appreciating these objects can help more fully understand our history as Americans. As former President Jimmy Carter says in the Prologue to the book Craft in America, “Craft recognizes and communicates so much about what we are as a country. It is our identity and our legacy.”

“CRAFT IN AMERICA: Expanding Traditions” gets underway at the National Cowboy Museum, Friday, October 10 at 6:00 p.m. with a special Preview Reception that is open to the public. The program includes a discussion of contemporary American craft with special guests Sauvion; ceramic artist Sarah Jaeger from Helena, Montana; fiber artist and weaver James Bassler from Palm Springs, California; and contemporary beadworker Teri Greeves (Kiowa) from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Reservations are encouraged by October 6; however, limited tickets are available at the door.

During the course of the exhibition, which runs through January 18, 2009, the Museum is offering eight additional CRAFT IN AMERICA programs. A lecture series features Jane Aebersold, artist and art curator of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma; Jo Lauria of Los Angeles, California, curator of the “CRAFT IN AMERICA: Expanding Traditions” exhibit and coauthor of the book Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists and Objects; Anne Gochenour, Curator of Contemporary Craft at the Arkansas Art Center; and Jan Yager, artist and mixed-media jeweler from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Additional programs include an evening lecture by Robert K. Liu, Ph.D., co-editor of Ornament Magazine; a children’s hands-on art activity and exhibition tour; and the documentary screening of “Northwest Native Basketweavers: Honoring Our Heritage,” with a related lecture by co-producer Pat Courtney Gold.

The works of Gold, a Wasco basketmaker, will be available in a special trunk show on November 8. A jewelry trunk show on December 6 and 7 will feature Kit Carson’s Wild West Art Show.

For a complete listing of exhibition programming visit www.nationalcowboymuseum.org. There also is a comprehensive web site at www.craftinamerica.org.

Presenting sponsor of CRAFT IN AMERICA is The Kerr Foundation Inc. in conjunction with Major Event Sponsors: Kieckhefer Foundation, Oklahoma Humanities Council, Dolese Bros. Co. and the Oklahoma Arts Council. Special Media Sponsor is OETA, The Oklahoma Network.

The Museum Store at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum has available DVDs of the “CRAFT IN AMERICA” documentary and the book Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists and Objects. During the exhibition, the store will carry works from some of the artists featured in the exhibition including baskets, jewelry and art tiles. Items may be purchased in store or online.

Nationally accredited, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is located in Oklahoma City’s Adventure District at the junction of I-44 and I-35. For more information, visit www.nationalcowboymuseum.org or call (405) 478-2250. The Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Craft in America – Expanding Traditions is organized by Craft in America, Inc., Los Angeles, and Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions (CATE), Pasadena, California. The exhibit is funded in part by a grant from the Oklahoma Humanities Council and the We The People initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this exhibit do not necessarily represent those of OHC or NEH.





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