Painted: Our Bodies, Hearts and Village Symposium

Friday, November 3, 2023,

Colby College Museum of Art

Join the Colby College Museum of Art and its Lunder Institute for American Art for a two-day symposium organized in conjunction with the Painted: Our Bodies, Hearts, and Village exhibition, on view through July 28, 2024.

Exhibition collaborators, artists, curators, and scholars will gather for a series of panel discussions on Native American art, American art, and art of the American West. Topics will include how Native artists delve into historical collections to assert visual sovereignty, how to activate museum collections in new and reparative ways, collaborations between institutions and Native communities, and more.

Together, participants will reflect on the relationship between art, shared histories, and lived experiences, incubating new paths within art history, art practice, and the museum field. Register here

For those who are unable to attend in person, a livestream will also be available. 

Friday, November 3

4–5 pm: Viewing of Painted: Our Bodies, Hearts, and Village
Colby Museum, Lunder Wing, lower level

Join us for close looking and informal conversation in the exhibition’s galleries, facilitated by exhibition curators and members of the museum staff.

5–6 pm: Welcome and conversation with project collaborators
Given Auditorium, Bixler Art and Music Center

Opening remarks from Jacqueline Terrassa, Carolyn Muzzy Director, Colby Museum and Dwayne Tomah (Passamaquoddy), followed by a conversation moderated by Beth Finch, Head Curator, Colby Museum


  • Juan Lucero (Isleta Pueblo), exhibition co-curator, Program Manager for Native Art Professional Development, First People’s Fund
  • Jill Ahlberg Yohe, exhibition co-curator, Associate Curator of Native American Art, Minneapolis Institute of Art
  • Siera Hyte (Cherokee Nation), exhibition co-curator, Manager of Programs and Fellowships, Lunder Institute for American Art and former Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Colby Museum
  • Virgil Ortiz (Cochiti Pueblo), exhibition designer, artist
  • Theresa Secord (Penobscot), exhibition advisory council member, artist, founding director of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, First People’s Fund board of directors, Colby Museum board of governors

6–7:30 pm: Opening reception
Colby Museum lobby

Join us for celebratory food and drinks in the Colby Museum lobby. Free and open to all.

Saturday, November 4

10–10:45 am: Opening address from Brian Vallo (Acoma Pueblo)
Given Auditorium, Bixler Art and Music Center

Brian Vallo served as governor of Acoma Pueblo in 2019–21, formerly directed the Indian Arts Research Center, and was the founding director of the Sky City Cultural Center and Haak’u Museum. He has spent more than thirty years working in museum development, repatriation of ancestors and cultural patrimony, cultural preservation, the arts, and tourism.

11 am–Noon: Artist panel on visual sovereignty
Given Auditorium, Bixler Art and Music Center

How do contemporary Native artists mine the historic record or reflect on the legacy of non-Native artists depicting Native people and cultures?


  • Jason Garcia (Santa Clara Pueblo), artist
  • Virgil Ortiz (Cochiti Pueblo), artist
  • Sarah Sockbeson (Penobscot), artist
  • Moderated by the exhibition curatorial team

Noon–1 pm: Lunch break
Given Auditorium, Bixler Art and Music Center

1­–2:15 pm: In-gallery artist talks
Colby Museum, Lunder Wing, lower level

Exhibition artists will deliver brief artist talks on their work, followed by time for questions from attendees.


  • Susan Folwell (Santa Clara Pueblo), artist, The Gathering
  • Jessa Rae Growing Thunder (Dakoda/Nakoda), artist and Northern Plains art historian, will speak about Assiniboine Pipe Bag and the research she performed on the exhibition’s historic beadwork
  • Michael Namingha (Hopi-Tewa), artist, Altered Landscapes 15
  • Sarah Sockbeson (Penobscot), artist and exhibition advisory council member, Untitled Basket

2:15–2:30 pm: Coffee break

2:30-3:30 pm: Conversation between curators of Native American art and art of the American West
Given Auditorium, Bixler Art and Music Center 

How can museums re-contextualize and re-present American and Native American art histories? How are curators thinking creatively about connecting and expanding collections?


  • Sháńdíín Brown (Diné), Henry Luce Curatorial Fellow for Native American Art, RISD Museum
  • J.R. Henneman, Denver Art Museum, Director and Curator of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art, Denver Art Museum
  • Davison Koenig, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Couse-Sharp Historical Site
  • Ramey Mize, Assistant Curator of American Art, Portland Museum of Art
  • Jami Powell (Osage Nation), Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Indigenous Art, Hood Museum of Art
  • Moderated by Jill Ahlberg Yohe

3:30–3:45 pm: Closing remarks
Given Auditorium, Bixler Art and Music Center

This program is supported by the Lunder Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

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