3 photos from left to right: a girl powwow dancer, a young Native boy in a headdress and traditional dress on a horse, and a photo of Dakota Hoska

News from the Native Arts Department at the Denver Art Museum

The Native arts department is pleased to share the following news about recent events. Stay tuned for updates about when you can see more of the American Indian, African, and Oceanic art collections when the Martin Building reopens. In the meantime view select items from our collection in The Light Show and online.

30th Annual Friendship Powwow: September 7 (10 am–5 pm)

One of the DAM's longest-running events, the Friendship Powwow will feature dance competitions, drum groups, artist booths, the grand entry at 11 am, and more. All powwow activities and general museum admission are free.

Nancy Blomberg, the late Chief Curator and inaugural Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Native Arts at the DAM, will be honored with a tribute at the Friendship Powwow. Nancy worked at the museum and was a friend of the local Native community for more than 28 years.

photo of a Native woman on a horse with a jingle dress behind her
Wendy Red Star (Apsáalooke), Catalogue Number 1950.76, 2019. Pigment print on archival paper; 20 x 18 in. Denver Art Museum: The Nancy Blomberg Acquisitions Fund for Native American Art, 2019.341.15. Image courtesy of the artist and Sargent's Daughters, New York

Nancy Blomberg Acquisition Fund for Native American Arts

When Nancy died last year, the museum created an acquisitions fund for Native American art in her honor. With the donations, the museum recently acquired 15 prints by Wendy Red Star from her Accession series.

The prints were inspired by illustrated catalog cards of the DAM’s collection. The catalog cards were created by Works Progress Administration (WPA) artists in the 1930s showing illustrations of objects in the Native arts collection.

Red Star took photos of Apsáalooke (Crow) people wearing objects similar to those on some of the cards between 2017–2018, and produced the work in 2019. “The catalog cards were always near and dear to Nancy, so it’s a fitting tribute that we could add Wendy Red Star’s series of prints inspired by them to our collection,” said John P. Lukavic, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Native Arts.

New Assistant Curator

Dakota Hoska recently joined the Denver Art Museum as the new assistant curator of Native arts. After working as a curatorial research assistant for the Arts of Africa and the Americas department at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) for four years, Hoska joins the DAM’s Native arts department, which is internationally recognized for its collection of American Indian art and is composed of the arts of Indigenous peoples of North America, Africa, and Oceania.

Though different than Minneapolis, I’m excited to serve and learn from the local Native populations from the Rocky Mountain region, while also studying those Native nations who traditionally called the Denver area their homeland. I appreciate DAM’s commitment to the collection of Native art, both historical and contemporary, and I look forward to stewarding and growing this collection, hoping it will serve as a great source of inspiration and strength for Native people today and into the future.

– Dakota Hoska

Image credits at top from left to right: 2018 Friendship Powwow. Photo courtesy Powwow Central Photography. Wendy Red Star (Apsáalooke), Catalogue Number 1946.82.1, 2019. Pigment print on archival paper; 20 x 18 in. Denver Art Museum: The Nancy Blomberg Acquisitions Fund for Native American Art, 2019.341.15. Image courtesy of the artist and Sargent's Daughters, New York. Dakota Hoska.

Julia Strunk is the curatorial assistant in the department of Native arts at the Denver Art Museum.