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Sedona Arts Center, Museum of Northern Arizona explore cultural appropriation in ‘Drawing Cultural Inspiration’


Artwork by Jason Garcia (Santa ClaraTewa)(Courtesy/SAC)

Artwork by Jason Garcia (Santa ClaraTewa)(Courtesy/SAC)


Originally Published: January 17, 2024 10:34 a.m.

Sedona Arts Center (SAC) and Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) present ‘Drawing Cultural Inspiration’ Sunday, Jan. 21, at 2 p.m. The event, the final in the Appropriation in the Arts series, features a panel discussion with artist Jason Garcia (Santa Clara/Tewa); Antonio Chavarria (Santa Clara), Curator of Ethnology at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture; and artist Susan Kliewer Dolan. The event is free and open to the public.

The Appropriation in the Arts series explores the complex issues of appropriation through discussions of ideas, philosophies, laws, ethics and lived experiences. Engaging conversations between native and non-native scholars, artists, chefs and gallery owners center on key issues pertaining to the legal and ethical aspects of art production and collecting; the use of cultural symbols in Native and non-Native fine art; and food sovereignty and the use of traditional food and crops in the hospitality industry. The talks expand understanding of authentic Indigenous art versus art that has appropriated aspects of Indigenous culture, and create deeper connections between artist, culture and community.

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Man From Moonlight Water by Susan Kliewer (Courtesy/ SAC)

“These events are an opportunity for SAC and Sedona residents and visitors to be a more mindful, ethical, and respectful ally and advocate,” says Julie Richard, CEO of Sedona Arts Center. “Panel discussions have informed us on what can be done to combat cultural appropriation, how to support Native artists and entrepreneurs, how to provide artists space to reclaim and share their cultural traditions, and so much more.”

The three-part series, which began last fall, was developed in partnership with MNA after Richard and other SAC staff witnessed the lack of consciousness surrounding appropriation and its damaging consequences to under-represented communities when she arrived at SAC in 2020. Almost immediately, research and planning began to develop timely conversations that would result in a blueprint for staff, other non-profits and the community at large to consider and/or follow.

“It is our hope that these discussions inspire individual and collective knowledge and action,” says Richard.

Previous series discussions include: ‘Moving from Appropriation to Authenticity’ with jeweler Liz Wallace (Diné), Mark Bahti of Bahti Indian Arts and Heard Museum Director of Community Engagement Marcus Monenkerit; and ‘More Than a Meal’ with chefs

Jaren Bates (Diné), Brett Vibber and Total Sister podcast producer Andi Murphy (Diné).

The Appropriation in the Arts series is sponsored by the AZ Humanities Council. For more information, visit SedonaArtsCenter.org.