Saturday, 25 May 2024

Pomo basket design panel discussion planned Sept. 17

Pomo Basket from the Lake County Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California. Photo by Corine Pearce.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. — The Middletown Art Center announced the commencement of “Water Basket,” which opens with a pomo basket design panel discussion at Twin Pine Casino on Sunday, Sept. 17, from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Featured artists and culture bearers include Millie Simon, Wanda Quitiquit, Eric Wilder, Patty Ray-Franklin, Corine Pearce, Meyo Marrufo and Buffy Thomas, with an introduction from Moke Simon. The event is free and open to the public.

“Water Basket” is a unique and monumental project the scale of which Lake County has not seen.

The goal is to paint Middletown’s two water tanks on Rabbit Hill with 360-degree murals inspired by pomo basketry.

The mural design will reflect the area’s history, people and ecology utilizing geometric and organic shapes that are symbolic of animals and plants native to the region.

The project is a collaboration between Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California, Pomo artists, Callayomi County Water District and the Middletown Art Center.

It’s funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional funding from the Middletown Rancheria, the water district and public support.

“Our cultural heritage is needed to uplift our people from grief and pain. Traditional aspects must be reestablished not as a textbook lesson or an artifact behind glass, but as a living art through practice,” said Middletown Rancheria Tribal Chair Moke Simon about the project.

An open call for proposals is available at www.middletownartcenter.org/waterbasket.

A series of workshops led by Pomo cultural artists Corine Pearce, Meyo Marrufo and Eric Wilder, will support native and nonnative participants in realizing their artistic vision.

“Water Basket” invites Indigenous people to bring expressions of their innate cultural heritage into public space and nonnative people to learn about Pomo cultural heritage. Individual, collaborative, and intercultural or multigenerational proposals are encouraged. MAC’s intercultural staff will provide artistic and technical support to prepare a 2-D rendering, as well as materials and supplies.

“The tanks hold the water of life. ‘Water Basket’ honors our people as stewards of the land and the connection that we have to the land and the water,” said Buffy Thomas, project coordinator, a member of Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians.

A jury composed of representatives from Middletown Rancheria Tribal Members, regional cultural practitioners, water district board members, Middletown community members, the Middletown Area Merchants Association and town hall, and MAC artistic staff will assess proposals and select two to three proposals for each tank to move to public input at several Middletown locations.

Final selection will be made by the water district and Middletown Rancheria.

“As a public agency for the community of Middletown, we are seeking to beautify public space and uplift and reflect the unification, regeneration, and revitalization of our community as a whole post-fire, while recognizing the First People and original culture of this land,” said Todd Fiora, general manager of Callayomi County Water District.

Learn more about the project and the call for proposals, RSVP for the panel discussion and reserve your spot for upcoming workshops at www.middletownartcenter.org/waterbasket.

Middletown Art Center is a Lake County nonprofit dedicated to engaging the public in art making, art education, and art appreciation.

Through exhibitions, performances, workshops and community events, the Art Center provides a platform for diverse voices and perspectives, striving to create an inclusive and accessible space for all.

To learn more and donate to support “Water Basket” and other MAC programs visit www.middletownartcenter.org or call 707-809-8118.

The MAC is located at 21456 State Highway 175 in Middletown.



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