Artists Selected for 2014/15 Native American Artist-in-Residence Program

For immediate release

Release dated: 
August 15, 2014
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3148,
Ben Gessner, Collections, 651-259-3281,

Artists Selected for 2014/15 Native American Artist-in-Residence Program

New program aims to help revive traditional forms of American Indian art.

The Minnesota Historical Society is pleased to announce three recipients for the 2014/15 Native American Artist-in-Residence program. Each artist will serve a six-month paid residency to study the collections at MNHS and other institutions to aid in a better understanding of their respective art forms. They will also share this knowledge by developing community-based programming in their home communities.

The 2014/15 Awardees are:

art 1

Jessica Gokey, is a beadwork artist who lives in the Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) community in Hayward, Wisconsin. She has been beading for more than ten years and shares her knowledge with members of the community by teaching at the LCO Ojibwa Community College. Gokey believes that sharing her “knowledge of traditional Ojibwe beadwork will help preserve the art of beadwork for future generations.” She plans on researching the extensive bandolier bag and other beadwork collections.

art 2

Pat Kruse, a birch bark artist who lives in the Mille Lacs community in Minnesota, has been working with birch bark for more than 30 years. Kruse says he creates birch bark products “to honor the old ways and the ancestors that practiced these ways to make many things from the birch bark, which they also used to survive.” Pat is excited to research the birch bark collections and to take on an apprentice to pass on his knowledge.

art 3

Gwen Westerman, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, is a textile artist who lives in Good Thunder, Minnesota. As a part of six generations of women in her family who have made quilts, she sees quilts as having not only a utilitarian function but also as containing stories. Westerman has been expanding her textile arts with other traditional art forms to “find new ways to tell our stories.” Westerman plans on researching and revitalizing traditions of Dakota ribbonwork.

The 2014/15 artists-in-residence were selected based on the recommendations of a panel consisting of experts in the field of Native arts and culture. The panel members are Sasha Brown, Santee Dakota, who has worked in higher education with American Indian students and is involved in numerous environmental and social justice initiatives; Joe Horse Capture, A’aninin Tribe of Montana, former associate curator of Native American art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for 15 years and currently associate curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian; and Scott Shoemaker, Miami Nation, who leads efforts to make the ethnology and seed collections and the Science Museum of Minnesota more accessible to tribal communities.

The Native American Artist-in-Residence program is made possible in part by a grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.