In December of 1944, the Swope’s second director (1944-60), Dr. Allen Albert, and curator Hazel Dodge announced plans for a new and exciting annual exhibition where all artists of Terre Haute and vicinity could enter their work. They planned for it to become as permanent and noteworthy as the Hoosier Salon program, and the first Wabash Valley show opened May 6, 1945 to an outstanding attendance of 350 people.
The Wabash Valley Juried Exhibition remains one of the Museum’s most popular events, attracting a diverse array of artists and patrons alike. Because of this, it is safe to say Dr. Albert and Ms. Dodge achieved their goal of furthering the support and interest in Midwestern art.
The distinguished Juror for 2015 is heather ahtone, James T. Bialac Assistant Curator of Native American and Non-Western Art for the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma. ahtone completed her associate’s degree at the Institute of American Indian Arts in 1993, and received her master’s from the University of Oklahoma in 2006. ahtone has worked with the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum and the Southwestern Association of Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as for Ralph Appelbaum Associates in New York. She continues to curate independent exhibitions, in addition to her work with the collections at the FJJMA.
ahtone began teaching at the University of Oklahoma in 2007, serving as an adjunct professor at the OU School of Art and Art History teaching the course “American Indian Women in Art.” She also helped build a natural sciences course, “Native Science,” within the School of Geology & Geophysics where she continues to do culturally guided science outreach to Native secondary students. Her research focuses on contemporary Indigenous art. She is developing an interdisciplinary methodology analyzing the intersection between tribal cultures, traditional knowledge and contemporaneity.
She has published articles for multiple journals, including Indian Market Magazine, American Indian Horizons, International Journal of Arts in Society, and Wicazo Sa. Her recent exhibition, Hopituy: Hopi Art From the Permanent Collections, received positive scholarly reviews and publication awards. She is preparing to mount Enter the Matrix, an exhibition exploring Indigenous printmakers and their work. She is a member of the Chickasaw Nation and also of Choctaw descent with relatives in the Kiowa community.
Artists residing in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio are invited to submit up to five works completed within the last two years (current year, minus two) for consideration.
The Wabash Valley Exhibition presents opportunities not just for artists, but for art collectors and benefactors as well. Benefactors and collectors may participate and support our regional artists by sponsoring honorary jurors awards or by purchasing from the show as a purchase award. If you are interested in either of these options for this year’s exhibition, please call the Swope to receive an award sponsorship form.