IN THE SPIRIT Northwest Native Festival


The Washington State History Museum (WSHM) and Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) invite you to IN THE SPIRIT Northwest Native Festival, an exhilarating celebration of Native cultures. The indoor/outdoor festival takes place at both museums on Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma on Saturday, Aug. 11 from 12-7 p.m.

Festival-goers can celebrate diverse Native cultures and arts through dance, song, drums, flute, and carving demonstrations throughout the day, along with the opportunity to meet contemporary artists. Both museums are hosting a variety of vendors selling art and hand-crafted products. Don’t miss the dazzling runway fashion show at TAM featuring designers Britt Rynearson of ARAE, Mary Kelsay of MEKA clothing and Leslie Holt of AJs. There are opportunities to make art, and when all the activity works up an appetite, visitors can indulge in the Price Family’s savory fry bread tacos.

“The art market features exquisite work in all price ranges and the artists enjoy talking with visitors. You’ll see visitors gathered in the sunshine at the History Museum’s amphitheater and in TAM’s welcoming lobby for performances. Both museums will have musical artists,” said Molly Wilmoth, lead program manager at the History Museum.

If you’ve been to this festival before, you’ll be happy to know that many of the artists you have become familiar with will participate again on Aug. 11. “I have been a part of IN THE SPIRIT in various ways for almost 10 years,” said artist Jeffrey Veregge. “The exhibit broadened my horizons as both an artist and Native American.” Veregge designed the new IN THE SPIRIT logo which debuted this year. He has received many honors, awards and commissions, and his work is in the collections of the Burke Museum, Yale University, and Washington State Historical Society among others.

An exciting new highlight will close out the 2018 festival: Khu.éex’. Preston Singletary is widely recognized as a glass artist, but he’s also a musician. He co-founded Khu.éex’ and plays bass in the band. Seattle Times writer Paul de Barros described Khu.éex’ as “…mixing Native American song and spoken word with atmospheric, visionary jazz improvisation in a way that recalls the ecstatic ’70s jazz-funk work of groups like Weather Report or Carlos Santana.”

Both TAM and WSHM will offer free admission for the day. Native art exhibitions are on view at both museums. TAM’s Native Portraiture: Power and Perception poses questions such as “What is communicated when an outsider portrays someone from another culture?” and “How are these depictions different from when a person connected to a culture shares an individual or collective experience?” At WSHM, the 13th annual IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts exhibition features 29 works by 21 artists, and visitors can vote for the “People’s Choice” awards, with the honorees to be announced at the festival.

“We are honored to host this free community festival on the heels of the 2018 Power Paddle to Puyallup Canoe Journey,” said Samantha Kelly, TAM’s director of education and community engagement. “We look forward to continuing the collaboration and momentum as we highlight Native artists, exhibitions, and culture.”

Experience this free celebration of Native cultures at TAM and WSHM. The two museums are a short distance apart, on either side of the Union Station federal courthouse on Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma.

WSHM’s Director Jennifer Kilmer said, “Tacoma Art Museum has been an exceptional neighbor and partner of ours for many years, and this collaborative approach is a truly exciting new endeavor. Our staff are working together with a commitment to bring the community an immersive, engaging festival. I hope you will make plans now to join us as our museums come alive with the celebration of Northwest Native artists, contemporary art, and time-honored traditions.”

Kelly is also delighted about the collaboration. She commented, “In the Spirit Northwest Native Festival is going to be an opportunity for visitors to actively explore the vibrant contemporary Northwest Native art scene. We’re looking forward to working with the History Museum and our other partners. Together, we’re creating a memorable event for our visitors and an occasion for them to personally connect with many of the outstanding artists in our region.”

Festival Schedule of Events:

  • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free museum admission at both Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) and Washington State History Museum (WSHM)
  • 12-7 p.m. Arts Market with vendors at both museums. Note: booths at TAM close at 5 p.m.
  • 12-7 p.m. Carving demonstrations with Earl Davis at WSHM
  • 12-7 p.m. Price Family fry bread tacos at WSHM
  • 12-5 p.m. Art making at TAM
  • 12:30 p.m. Contemporary Native Fashion Show in the TAM lobby
  • 2:30 p.m. Rona Yellow Robe, Cree/African-American flute in the WSHM amphitheater
  • 3:30 p.m. Alaska Kuteeyaa Dancers, Haida and Tlingit dance and song in the WSHM amphitheater
  • 5 p.m. People’s Choice awards announced for IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts exhibit, in the WSHM amphitheater
  • 5 p.m. museum buildings close
  • 5:15 p.m. The band Khu.eex’ performs in the WSHM amphitheater
  • 7 p.m. festival ends

WSHM is located at 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma

TAM is located at 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma

Admission to both museums and the festival is free. See for a schedule of events.

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