Weaving Baskets, Weaving Bridges begins this Saturday at MAC

The Middletown Art Center (MAC) is honored to present WEAVING – Weaving Baskets, Weaving Bridges, a year-long project designed collaboratively by MAC team members and Pomo Culture Bearers. The project opens on Saturday, November 20th at 3 pm with Speak of Who We Are, a presentation by Tribal Elder Millie Simon from the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians, and Corine Pearce, Basket Weaver and Cultural Educator from Redwood Valley Little River Band of Pomo Indians.

“I am thankful to be a part of this project,” said Millie Simon. “Basket weaving is the heart of the Indian people, and I am proud to be carrying on and respecting the traditions of my ancestors”

On Saturday, November 21st from 11 am-3 pm, Corine Pearce will lead Cultivating Plants for Pomo Basketry which includes establishing a small demonstration garden at the MAC. The centrally located garden will ground the community in the culture of origin and provide non-Indigenous participants with tools to advocate for access to traditional plant materials on behalf of their Indigenous neighbors. The garden will also be a portal to a partner-maintained database of public and private owners that welcome Indigenous people to cultivate traditional plants growing on their property.

“We are forging alliances and creating frameworks for reconciliation with cross-cultural exposure, appreciation, intergenerational learning, and inclusive community engagement,” explained Mary Wilson, Outreach and Cross-Cultural Specialist at Lake County Campus of Woodland Community College and MAC Board Director.

WEAVING was designed to provide a forum for understanding and sharing the cultural traditions and history that have shaped Lake County. Using baskets as a vessel for healing and unity, the holistic process of basketry, from plant cultivation and preparation to weaving in community, revitalizes traditional cultural practices, increases non-Indigenous awareness of these practices, and weaves bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

“I am involved with this project to bring an awareness and appreciation of our ancient culture, which is still very present in Lake County, to the wider community,” said Rose Steele, Cultural Educator from the Elem Tribe serving as project and outreach coordinator. “Despite its ancient roots, our culture is mostly unknown to those who are not part of it. I am a strong advocate of cultural resilience. An important part of advocating for cultural resilience is building and strengthening relationships between the native and non-native communities to facilitate generations of cooperation in the future.”

Throughout WEAVING Indigenous cultural educators, artists and facilitators will lead cross-cultural intergenerational learning opportunities, providing historical and cultural context through basketry and other cultural arts workshops, storytelling, poetry readings, film screenings, a contemporary Indigenous art presentation, and ecological presentations.

The project will culminate in exhibits of traditional and contemporary Indigenous art at the Middletown Art Center (MAC) Gallery in July in tandem with Pomo heritage basket exhibits at Lake County’s three Historical Museums.

“My weaving heals and restores both the land and the people. I weave to connect future generations to a living cultural identity,” said Corine Pearce, who will serve as the project’s lead artist and as curator of the WEAVING exhibit at MAC.

WEAVING events will take place at MAC and on Zoom. Pre-registration is required, and fees are sliding scale and support the project and project documentation. Visit middletownartcenter.org/weaving to register for current ​WEAVING events and learn more about the project. The public is encouraged to register for Zoom access to Saturday’s presentation at this time, as space at MAC is limited due to COVID-19 health concerns.

WEAVING is supported in part by an Impact Grant award from the California Arts Council, a state agency.

Find out more about programs, opportunities, events and ways to get involved, support, and celebrate the MAC’s efforts to weave the arts and culture into the fabric of life in Lake County ​at ​middletownartcenter.org.​ 

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