The Oldest Hopi Show in the World returns July Saturday

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Once again, the Oldest Hopi Show in the World will bring artists, demonstrators, musicians, dancers, and cultural speakers to the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. The 78th Annual Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture is offered 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on July 2-3 at the base of the San Francisco Peaks and surrounded by the world's largest ponderosa pine forest. An award-winning event, the Hopi Festival was given a Viola Award by the Flagstaff Cultural Partners this year.

The first Hopi Festival was held in 1930, on the July Fourth weekend. This long-standing gathering represents the partnership between the Hopi people and the museum, and has always had as its mission the preservation of Hopi artistic traditions, as well as the creation of a marketplace for Hopi goods. Over the years the event has become a regional tradition for artists and collectors, alike, for visitors seeking an authentic cultural experience.

"An important part of the festival is the 30-plus awards that are given to artists who excel in their arts category. Sponsored by businesses and individuals, the awards are juried by art professionals from the region. At the festival, award ribbons are on display at the artists' tables, making it easy to spot the finest collectable art pieces," said Heritage Program Manager Anne Doyle.

In addition to the 75 booth artists, museum staffers have made several trips to collect one-of-a-kind consigned works from individual artists across the Hopi Mesas. Collecting trips have always been an important part of the Hopi festivals, allowing artists who produce only a few items per year a chance to sell their work. Hundreds of distinctive art pieces including quilts, rattles, pottery, katsina dolls, paintings, and baskets will be on display and for sale in the consignment area.

"This year's Heritage Insight presentations are about farming, land stewardship, language, migration - all important parts of today's Hopi culture and the Hopi Tribe's cultural preservation efforts. I hope visitors will enjoy learning about our neighbors, the Hopi, and the influence of this ancient people throughout this region," said Museum Director Robert Breunig.

The Hopi Reservation is one of the most arid areas of the Southwest, however, amidst these harsh conditions, the Hopi people have thrived with terraced gardens of beans, onions, squash, and melons, along with peach orchards and vast fields of corn, a Hopi staple. On July 2 only, the Natwani Coalition, a project of the Hopi Foundation, will give a presentation on Hopi farming and agriculture. Included will be a history of traditional Hopi agriculture and land stewardship, the current state of the Hopi food system, and an overview of the Hopi for Youth Farming Curriculum Project. Natwani means "produce" or "vegetables," but more significantly, it refers to the processes and rituals necessary for the rejuvenation of all life.

Other presentations include -

• "Hopi Migration" by Scholar and Bluebird Clan Member Eric Polingyouma. Polingyouma's talk will cover the Hopi migration north from Guatemala, the history of the Hopi Pueblo, and the historical gathering of clans on the Hopi Mesas, addressing who came to the Hopi Mesas first and who was accepted into Hopi over time.

• "Beenhouwer Fine Art Collection" by MNA's Acting Curator of Anthropology Lyle Balenquah. This is a collection of Native American fine art, predominantly from the Hopi, New Mexico Pueblos, Navajo, Tohono O'odham, and Apache tribes. The collection is now owned by the Hopi Tribe and stored at MNA. Herb and Bernice Beenhouwer began collecting on their travels throughout the Southwest in 1966. Over three decades, the collection grew to over 850 items, including works by great Hopi artists such as Charles Loloma (jewelry), Thomas Polacca Nampeyo (pottery), Jouyce Saufkie (basketry), Henry Shelton (katsina dolls) are included. In 2009 the Hopi Tribe and MNA received funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to complete a comprehensive inventory and documentation of the entire collection. The results of this project will be discussed in this lecture.

The 2011 Hopi Festival is sponsored by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Arizona Humanities Council, Flagstaff Cultural Partners, City of Flagstaff/BBB Revenues, Coconino County Board of Supervisors, Fred Nackard Wholesale Beverage Company, and Simply Delicious.

Now celebrating its 83rd year, the Museum of Northern Arizona has a long and illustrious history and evokes the very spirit of the Colorado Plateau. It serves as the gateway to understanding this region, with nine exhibit galleries revealing Native cultures, artistic traditions, and natural sciences. MNA's four Heritage Program festivals highlight the region's cultures and encourage communication and the exchange of ideas between visitors, educators, and artists. More information about MNA is at musnaz.org. Information is also available by phone at (928) 774-5213.

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