Public Programs: America's Historical and Cultural Organizations: Planning Grants

Period of Performance

9/1/2010 - 8/31/2012

Funding Totals

$40,000.00 (approved)
$40,000.00 (awarded)

The Navajo Basket Renaissance

FAIN: GE-50267-10

University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9049)
Lisa Christine Thompson (Project Director: January 2010 to April 2012)
Rebecca T. Menlove (Project Director: April 2012 to December 2012)

Planning for a large temporary exhibition, a scaled-down traveling exhibit, a website, a catalogue, and programs on the resurgence of Navajo story baskets as a distinctive art form.

In a remote corner of the Navajo reservation in Utah, an art form believed nearly extinct has re-emerged with an explosion of innovation and creativity. The renaissance of Navajo basketry over the last four decades gave rise to a new form of basket - the story basket - that visually depicts traditional Navajo stories and beliefs. The Utah Museum of Natural History is undertaking a project to explore continuities and changes in contemporary Navajo life through the renaissance in Navajo basketry. The Navajo Basket Renaissance will examine Utah's Navajo basket weavers as both important keepers of tradition and agents of change in Navajo culture. Through a temporary exhibit at the Utah Museum of Natural History, a traveling exhibit, extensive public programs, and a catalogue, the project will engage audiences with living artists in a dynamic movement in a vital culture and help counterbalance perceptions of American Indian cultures as static or less "authentic" than in the past.