IN THE SPIRIT is an annual celebration of diverse Native cultures and includes a two-month long juried art exhibition at the Washington State History Museum (mid-June through mid-August), capped off with a free cultural festival in August (this year, August 10). The festival is an indoor/outdoor event collaboratively hosted by Washington State History Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and Museum of Glass; all three museums are free for the day of the festival and feature Native art exhibitions.

IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts 
Exhibition on view
June 20-August 11, 2019

Now in its 14th year, IN  THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts is a summertime favorite in the South Sound. This juried exhibition features work in a wide variety of mediums created by Native artists from throughout the Northwest and beyond. Special events for the exhibition include an Artist Awards Ceremony  on opening night, and a gallery talk presented by one of the artists on the third Thursday evening in July.

Announcing the 2019 IN THE SPIRIT Artist Awards 
ITS 2019 award winners

Awards, left to right: Best in Show: Predator Cannibal, Robin Lovelace. Spirit of the Northwest: Full Circle Totem, Dan Friday. Honoring Tradition: Little People, Carol Emarthle Douglas. Honoring Innovation: Coastal Mjolnir, Earl Davis.

July 18, 6:00-7:00 PM, Gallery Talk with artist Samuel Stitt

FREE! Hear Indigenous artist Samuel Stitt, an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, discuss his works in the In The Spirit Contemporary Native Arts exhibition. His works Isht Vskufvchi Achvffa and Certificate of Degree of Caucasian Blood are two unique works embodying the complexity of contemporary Native arts.

IN THE SPIRIT Northwest Native Festival
August 10, 2019, 12:00-7:00 PM
Indoor and outdoor at Washington State History Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and Museum of Glass

This free indoor/outdoor community event includes:
  • Native arts market 12:00-5:00 PM at WSHM and TAM. Items at all price points! See artist deomonstrations and participate in hands-on art making in the TAM and MOG studios.

  • Native Designer Fashion Show accompanied by Drumming Circle, 12:30 PM at TAM. Models will walk the runway in clothing by mulitple Native designers. Several designers will also sell clothing and accessories at TAM.

  • Family Weaving Activity, 1:00-3:00 at WSHM. Artist Kathey Ervin will demonstrate basketry and weaving while guiding families in their own hands-on projects. 

  • Artist Panel Discussion, 2:00 PM at MOG. Glass artist Preston Singletary will participate with others in a discussion about contemporary Native art.

  • Rona Yellow Robe on flute, 3:30 PM at WSHM See artist demonstrations, watch a Native designer fashion show, and participate in hands-on projects. Learn about the diverse Native cultures of the PNW through song, dance, music, a discussion panel, and more. Try fry bread tacos!  Don't miss the finale with glass artist Preston Singletary's band Khu.eex' in the History Museum's aphitheater from 5:30-7:00 PM. 

  • Final purchases, 5:00 Art Market vendor booths close up shop, time for final selections!

  • Closing Celebration: Khu.éex', 5:30-7:00 PM in the WSHM amphitheater. You'll be transfixed by this performance. Preston Singletary, Tlingit, an internationally recognized glass artist, founded this one-of-a-kind collaboration with major musicians including the legendary late Rock and Roll Hall of Fame composer and performer Bernie Worrell of PARLIAMENT/FUNKADELIC and TALKING HEADS, Skerik collaborator with PEARL JAM, Stanton Moore of GALACTIC, Captain Raab of RED EARTH, and tribal members Clarissa Rizal, Gene Tagaban and Nahaan. Khu.éex’ (pronounced koo-eex) translates to “Potlatch” in the Tlingit language, a Native group from Southeast Alaska. Singletary thought of the name Khu.éex' because of the notion of sharing culture, stories, and music. This is the intent of Khu.éex', to present a contemporary interpretation of our culture to empower others.  

2019 In The Spirit Northwest Native Festival Vendors

  • Charles W Bloomfield (Pyramid Lake Paiute) - contemporary art, clothing
  • Earl Davis (Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe) - traditional and contemporary Southwest Washington tribal art
  • Denise Emerson (Navajo and Skokomish) - beadwork, prints
  • Kathey Ervin (Wyandotte) - cedar weavings
  • Jeanette L. Huber (Jicarilla Apache Nation) - beadwork, silver and turquoise, drums, sage, tea
  • LaVerne Kearns (Muscogee/Kickapoo) - beaded jewelry, suncatchers, artwork, prints
  • Linley B. Logan (Onondowaga) - hand pulled prints, linoleum relief prints, greeting cards
  • Cynthia Masterson (Comanche Nation of Oklahoma) - beadwork, jewelry, holiday ornaments
  • Michelle Price (Navajo) - Frybread and frybread tacos
  • Robert Upham (Lake Traverse Sioux) - ledger art, acrylic paintings
  • George & Al Zantua (Tsimshian/Haida) - acrylic paintings, painted drums, wood carvings, beading, pouches

All three museums offer FREE admission on August 10 and feature Native arts exhibitions in addition to festival activities. 

View a photo gallery of previous artwork, performances, and vendors from past IN THE SPIRIT exhibitions and festivals. 
IN THE SPIRIT is generously supported by The Bamford Foundation, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Tulalip Tribes, The Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Hotel Murano, the YMCA, Arts Fund, the Washington State Arts Commission, and Tacoma Arts Commission. 
ITS 2019 sponsor Muckleshoot
  ITS 2019 Sponsor Tulalip ITS 2019 sponsor Puyallup ITS 2019 Sponsor Tacoma Arts Commission

Native Artist Vendor Application

Are you a Native artist interested in vending at this year's IN THE SPIRIT Northwest Native Arts Festival on Saturday, August 10? Click here to download the vendor application guidelines and form to be considered as a vendor at one of the three museums participating this year including Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum and Washington State History Museum.

Questions about IN THE SPIRIT exhibition or festival? Contact Molly Wilmoth at 253-798-5926 or   

Thank you for your ongoing support of the IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts exhibition and Northwest Native Festival!