Virtual Arts Market, Contemporary Native Arts exhibition, Northwest Native Festival
  • Dates:
    Jul 16 - Oct 17 2020
  • Ages:
    All ages.
  • Where:
    Virtual exhibition, Virtual Arts Market and Festival open through October 17.
  • Tickets:

    Free virtual access!

  • Accessibility:

    Online event for 2020.

RYAN! Feddersen, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Coyote Bones, 2017, archival digital print and cast Crayon, 6×5 inches, image courtesy of the artist.

IN THE SPIRIT is an annual celebration of diverse Native arts and culture. It includes a  juried art exhibition at the Washington State History Museum, culminating in with a festival and arts market hosted collaboratively by WSHM, Tacoma Art Museum (TAM), and Museum of Glass (MOG).


IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts exhibition

Interested artists apply each winter and spring for this annual exhibition, and submissions are juried by experts in contemporary Indigenous arts. During the run of the exhibition, the Washington State Historical Society presents artist awards and hosts gallery talks, and the public are invited to vote for two coveted People’s Choice awards which are announced at the IN THE SPIRIT Arts Market and Northwest Native Festival at the end of the exhibition.

We honor the artists whose work has been selected for the 2020 IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts exhibition and although we were unable to host the exhibition in the galleries, you can see their work right here, virtually, online, and vote for the People’s Choice awards.

See the Virtual Exhibition



2020 IN THE SPIRIT Arts Market and Northwest Native Festival, September 10 – October 17

Held virtually this year featuring a series of online gatherings and an online arts marketplace, hosted by WSHS, TAM and MOG.

Visit to learn about emerging and recognized artists from many cultures and tribes. Shop the virtual marketplace for handcrafted jewelry, sculpture, textiles, leather goods, fine art and more.

Shop the Virtual Arts Market

And don’t miss the virtual artist studio tours, videos of artists working with molten glass, and your chance to virtually meet a Native fashion designer, among other events.

Festival Events and Artist Talks


The Advisory Committee

IN THE SPIRIT  is a summertime favorite in the South Sound. We are grateful to the Advisory Committee’s guidance, working in collaboration with Washington State Historical Society’s tribal liaison Michael Finley and programs manager Molly Wilmoth:

  • Charles W Bloomfield (Pyramid Lake Paiute) – Longtime In The Spirit artists and award winner as well as juror
  • Shelly Boyd (Colville) – Co-Founder and Board President Inchelium Language and Culture Association
  • Todd Clark (Wailaki) – UW Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies
  • Linley B. Logan (Seneca) – Evergreen Longhouse and longtime ITS artist and advisor
  • Alexander McCarty (Makah) – Evergreen State College instructor, Evergreen Longhouse, artist
  • Dr. Danica Miller (Puyallup) – UWT Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies & Race, Gender and Labor Studies
  • Laura VerMeulen (Tlingit, Haida) – Assistant Director Evergreen Longhouse, original ITS team

Thank you: WSHS appreciates these supporters and their generous investments in  IN THE SPIRIT 2020: Tacoma Arts Commission, Tacoma Creates, The Norcliffe Foundation, South Sound Magazine, Humanities Washington.


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

2020 IN THE SPIRIT Virtual Arts Market and Northwest Native Festival Schedule of Events

Shop the Virtual Arts Market through October 17

Visit artist profiles to learn about the cultures and inspirations of 21 vendors. See handcrafted jewelry, textiles, leather goods, fine art and more. It’s an opportunity to support these artists and shop ahead for the holiday season!

Shop the Virtual Arts Market

Sept. 10, 6 PM: IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts Juror Discussion and Awards Ceremony

Meet this year’s IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts jurors and hear about their selections for the 15th annual exhibition.

Following this curatorial look at contemporary Native art, the jurors will announce the annual exhibition award winners. Awards include:

  • Honoring Innovation,
  • Honoring the Ancestors,
  • Spirit of the Northwest, and
  • Best in Show.

Jurors for the 2020 IN THE SPIRIT exhibition include:

  • Todd Clark (Wailaki), the founder and curator of IMNDN, a non-profit organization advocating for contemporary Native art and artists, and a program manager at the University of Washington’s Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies, overseeing initiatives to help recruit, support and retain Native and Indigenous students
  • Miranda Belarde-Lewis (Zuni, Tlingit), an independent curator and Assistant Professor of North American Indigenous Knowledge at the University of Washington’s iSchool
  • Charles W Bloomfield (Pyramid Lake Paiute), who has exhibited and won awards in previous iterations of IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Artsand participated in the culminating event, the annual In The Spirit Northwest Native Festival and Arts Market.

Sept.10: Meet the Artist Video, Joe Feddersen

Museum of Glass will feature a video interview with artist Joe Feddersen (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation), who creates art in many mediums including glass.

From the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation: “Feddersen has worked in painting, basketry, glass sculpture, photography and computer-generated imagery. He has a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking, and has served as a college professor and educator. Much of his work is influenced by traditional Plateau-style basketry, which reflects the Northwestern landscapes, flora, and fauna. He also draws from the cultural landscape of his home: current events, regional histories, tribal legacies, personal narratives, and contemporary dialogues. Feddersen has completed several permanent public art projects that explore scale and material, and convey narratives that provide a greater understanding of the land and the region’s cultural practices.

Feddersen says his artwork is grounded in tradition but reflective of the present. Using a variety of traditional artforms and media, such as baskets, fishing weirs, petroglyphs and canoes, his work both celebrates his culture and speaks to a Plateau-Native viewpoint of the current world around us. As an example, he has created blown-glass installations that reflect the urban environment, such as parking lots, high-voltage towers, and highways, as well as glass and woven baskets which he adorns with patterns derived from SUV tires.”

Sept. 13: Meet the Artist Video, Rande Cook

The Museum of Glass will feature a video interview with artist Rande Cook (Kwakwaka’wakw), who studied traditional jewelry and carving techniques under several master craftsmen, and who also works in glass.

Sept. 20: Meet the Artist Video, Preston Singletary & Marcus Amerman

The Museum of Glass will feature a video interview with these two artists.

The art of Preston Singletary (Tlingit) has become synonymous with the relationship between European glass blowing traditions and Northwest Native art. His artworks feature themes of transformation, animal spirits and shamanism through elegant blown glass forms and mystical sand carved Tlingit designs.

Marcus Amerman (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) grew up in the Pacific Northwest before settling in Santa Fe, NM. He received a BA in Fine Art at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA and took additional art courses at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. He credits the Plateau region and its wealth of talented bead artists with introducing him to the “traditional” art form of beadwork. Amerman draws upon a wide range of influences to create strikingly original works that reflect his background of having lived in three different regions with strong artistic traditions, his academic introduction to pop art and social commentary, and his inventive exploration of the potential artistic forms and expressions using beads. Although he is best known for his bead art, he is also a multimedia artist, painter, performance artist (his character “Buffalo Man” can be seen on the cover of the book Indian Country), fashion designer, and glass artist, as well.

Sept. 24, 6 PM: IN THE SPIRIT Artist Spotlight, Peter Boome

The Washington State Historical Society presents an artist spotlight with Peter Boome.

Meet Peter Boome (Upper Skagit) and get a virtual tour of his studio as he describes the creation and inspiration behind his works Prayer Rattles (male, female) and sunrise on the mountains, featured in the 2020 IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts exhibition (view the exhibition online, free, at the link).

From Peter’s artist statement:

“Art is everywhere, lines, curves, shapes, and colors, surround us. I am a Coast Salish Artist. My art is rooted in a historical design tradition which is a direct reflection of my culture; it is also a reflection of my personal, cultural, and spiritual world view. I believe art influences and guides us in many directions. If you accept that art and culture are intrinsically connected you realize that art, like culture is malleable, while based on a historic foundation both continue to evolve and expand. Our use and need of art is as strong as our use and need of culture. As an artist representing a distinct culture there is an obligation to carry our artistic tradition with utmost care and respect, by honoring the past, representing the present, and laying the foundations for the future. My work strives to tell stories of our past, present and future.”

Sept. 25: Fashion Designer Studio Tour

Tacoma Art Museum hosts one of the festival’s most popular events each year, a runway fashion show with clothing by Indigenous designers. This year, we cannot hold the fashion show in person, but we are excited to interview two past designers from the In the Spirit Festival.

Meet Mary Kelsay (Unangax / Unangan) of MEKA Clothing. She has shown her beautiful work at TAM since 2013. Kelsay invites us into her home studio where we ask her about her influences and how the pandemic has changed her work.

Sept. 27: Meet the Artist video, Raven Skyriver

The Museum of Glass will feature a video interview with Raven Skyriver.

Raven Skyriver (Tlingit) started blowing glass in high school at the age of sixteen. Raven’s mentor, Lark Dalton, taught him how to build glass blowing equipment and trained him in the traditional Venetian technique. In 2003 Raven was invited to join the William Morris team. He worked on the team until Morris’ retirement in 2007. The experience of working with such a talented group of artists galvanized his decision to follow Glass Sculpture as a profession.

Raven lives near the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington, and produces his work in the greater Seattle area. Raven shows his work nationally and has been featured in group shows internationally. His focus in the area of sculpture, and the depiction of marine life is inspired by his island upbringing, and informed by the creatures that inhabit this fragile ecosystem.

Oct. 1, 6 PM: IN THE SPIRIT Artist Spotlight, Lily Hope

Hosted by Washington State Historical Society.

Meet artist Lily Hope (Tlingit) as she describes the creation and inspiration for Chilkat Protector. This piece is not only featured in this year’s exhibition, but has also received international attention and appeared in publications like First American Art Magazine as a poignant reflection of the Indigenous experience during a global pandemic.

Hope’s work Little Watchman Chilkat Weaving Ensemble won a People’s Choice, 2nd Place award in the 2019 IN THE SPIRIT exhibition.

From Lily’s artist statement:

“Our Chilkat robes woven on the Northwest Coast of Alaska have been worn in ceremony for hundreds of years. For memorials, for naming ceremonies, for celebrations. Our dancing robes record history, chart clan migration and tell stories. Chilkat Protector is recording our history NOW. Telling our story NOW. Charting our future NOW. Bringing past to present.”

Oct. 2: Fashion Designer Studio Tour

Tacoma Art Museum hosts one of the festival’s most popular events each year, a runway fashion show with clothing by Indigenous designers. This year, we cannot hold the fashion show in person, but we are excited to interview two past designers from the In the Spirit Festival.

Jacinthe TwoBulls is a Haida weaver who uses traditional weaving techniques to create beautiful wearable art. We are excited to learn more about her process and learn about her influences and inspiration.

Oct. 4: Meet the Artist video, Joe David

The Museum of Glass will feature a video interview with Joe David.

Joe David (Nuu-chah-nulth and Haida) creates work that brings the artforms and legends of the Nuu-chah-nulth culture into today’s world. David spent portions of his childhood in Seattle. He works in various media, including hot-sculpted glass, integrating ancient traditions with contemporary media.

Oct. 7: Meet the Artist video, Shawn Brigman

Hosted by the Museum of Glass.

Shawn Brigman (Spokane Tribe of Indians) has a creative practice of project based ancestral recovery efforts in Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia, exploring and transforming the way people read Plateau architectural space by celebrating the physical revival of ancestral Plateau art and architectural heritage. This involves working with communities to connect to sources of Indigenous knowledge, often taking learners out to ancestral lands to gather a diverse range of natural materiality for ancestral structures like tule mat lodges, pit houses, and most recently the lost art of sturgeon nose canoes.


Oct. 8, 6 PM: IN THE SPIRIT Artist Spotlight, Dan Friday

The Washington State Historical Society presents an artist spotlight with Dan Friday.

Meet artist Dan Friday (Lummi) as he describes the creation and inspiration behind his works Owl Totem and Forager Totem featured in the 2020 IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts exhibition.

Friday’s work Cedar Star Basket, featured in the 2019 annual IN THE SPIRIT exhibitin, was selected for the Spirit of the Northwest Award, People’s Choice Award, and the Purchase Prize winner and is now in Washington State Historical Society’s permanent collection.

From Dan’s artist statement:

“When I saw glass blowing for the first time, it felt as though I grew an inch! That is to say, a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I had finally figured out my path. This was no small feat for someone who, as a youth, was rebellious and misguided. Glass altered my life. In spite of my colorful past, and by the grace of a loving community, I found my passion in glass.

“Living as an artist may not be directly saving the world, but perhaps we are saving ourselves and hopefully, in the process, making the world a better place.”

Oct. 11: Meet the Artist video, Haila Old Peter

Hosted by the Museum of Glass.

Ho-Wan-Ut “Haila” Old Peter (Skokomish) is a traditional Puget Salish basketry weaver and teacher. She has devoted over twenty years to the art of basketry. Old Peter specializes in cedar and beargrass baskets with a heavy focus on patterns and contrasting colors. She is committed to teaching and preserving basketry for her family and tribal members. As part of the exhibition Translations, Old Peter created glass baskets reflecting traditional designs in this contemporary medium.

Oct. 14: Meet the Artist video, Preston Singletary's Raven and the Box of Daylight

Hosted by Museum of Glass.
This video presents artist Preston Singletary (Tlingit) with a virtual gallery tour of his phenomenal exhibition Raven and the Box of Daylight, which was on view at the Museum of Glass in 2018-2019.

Oct. 17: Closing Celebration with musical guests Khu.éex’

Don’t miss the closing celebration of the 2020 IN THE SPIRIT festival featuring a live musical performance!

Join the renowned band Khu.éex’ for a live streamed performance directly from Museum of Glass. Tlingit tribal member Preston Singletary, 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. The Tlingit are a Native group from Southeast Alaska. Singletary thought of the name because of the notion of sharing culture, stories, and music. The intent of Khu.éex’ is to present contemporary interpretation of our culture to empower others.

If you are an Indigenous artist interested in vending at the Virtual Arts Market, submit you application online here.

Applications will be accepted now through Friday, August 21, 2020.

For additional information about point of sale sites, consult ITS Virtual Arts Market – Selling your work online.

Questions about the exhibition or the application process? Contact Molly Wilmoth, Lead Program Manager at

2019 IN THE SPIRIT Exhibition Awards

From left to right:

  • Best in Show: Predator Cannibal, Robin Lovelace, Tlingit.
  • Spirit of the Northwest: Full Circle Totem, Dan Friday, Lummi.
  • Honoring Tradition: Little People, Carol Emarthle Douglas, Northern Arapaho.
  • Honoring Innovation: Coastal Mjolnir, Earl Davis, Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe.

2019 People’s Choice Awards

  1. Full Circle Totem, Dan Friday, Lummi.
  2. Little Watchman Chilkat Weaving Ensemble, Lily Hope, Tlingit.