imageThe Center for Creativity and the Arts (CCA) at Fresno State invites the Central Valley community to attend events scheduled for the 2016-2017 arts programming theme, “Native Communities: Tradition and Innovation.” This year’s theme celebrates the rich artistry of Native peoples of California and North America, as well as the indigenous Mexican diaspora of California’s Central Valley.

This year’s theme seeks to create conversations that highlight certain aspects of Native peoples’ artistic traditions and contemporary outlooks. The goal of “Native Communities: Tradition and Innovation” is to inspire a desire to learn more about traditional and contemporary Native peoples’ arts, and to show the beauty, fluidity, and richness of Native peoples’ arts.

“Native Communities: Tradition and Innovation” is timely and important because there is a renaissance occurring around contemporary Native arts. Many of today’s Native artists are challenging old stereotypes, cultural appropriation, and ascribed popular notions of what constitutes Native arts. They also remind us that while Native peoples are influenced by history and traditions, they also have a global perspective and are part of an international forum on hybridity, cultural diversity and creativity. That is the message nationally and internationally recognized visiting artists will bring to Fresno State. Merritt Johnson (Mohawk & Blackfoot) and Cannupa Hanska Luger (Lakota) will be in residence at Fresno State during the spring 2017 semester.

In addition to hosting nationally and internationally renowned artists at Fresno State, CCA will spotlight local arts and artists throughout the academic year. For example, Jaime Boley (Choctaw) will curate and lead “The Shawl Project” — women learning the artistry of making shawls to be worn to pow wows.

CCA will also host Fowler-born U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s upcoming exhibitionElotes con Sangre, the Journey Home, Photographs and ‘Nierikas’ (yarn paintings) of the Land of the Wixáritari, First Peoples, the Huichol Nation of Mexico. 1970.” For Herrera, and many members of Mexico’s indigenous diaspora residing in California’s Central Valley, “Elotes con Sangre” is more than an exhibition, it is personal dialogue on self-reflection and identity — American, Mexican and Indian.

 “Native Communities: Tradition and Innovation” programming highlights include:

  • “Native Voices: Native Peoples Concept of Health and Illness.” Sponsored by the Henry Madden Library. 19 through Oct. 23.
  • U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s exhibition “Elotes con Sangre, the Journey Home, Photographs and ‘Neirikas’ (yarn paintings) of the Land of the Wixáritari, First Peoples, the Huichol Nation of Mexico. 1970.” M Street Arts Complex Graduate Art Studios. Oct. 6 through Oct. 21.
  • Lecture by Dr. Debbie Reese, creator of the blog “American Indians in Children’s Literature.” Sponsored by the Arne Nixon Center. Oct. 13.
  • Merritt Johnson (Mohawk and Blackfoot) Exhibition. Sponsored by the Department of Art and Design. Conley Art Gallery. Jan. 16-27.
  • Local Tribal Language and Story Night in collaboration with the Owens Valley Career Development Center of Central Valley. Late February
  • The Shawl Project — women learning the artistry of shawl making to be worn at pow wows. Guest curator Jamie Boley (Choctaw). February through April.
  • CCA will commission nationally and internationally recognized artist Cannupa Hanska Luger (Lakota) to create an outdoor sculpture. March 27 through April 9.

For additional information, and a full list of events, please visit the CCA website (