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Contemporary Native Arts exhibition, Northwest Native Festival and Virtual Arts Market
  • Dates:
    Jul 16 - Oct 17 2020
  • Ages:
    All ages.
  • Where:
    Virtual exhibition open July 16, Virtual Festival and Arts Market live September 10
  • 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 during July and August, culminating in August with a day-long festival and arts market.

Juried exhibition: Interested artists apply each year in the winter and spring, and submissions are juried by experts in contemporary Indigenous arts. The Washington State Historical Society presents awards to artists at the beginning of the exhibition, hosts gallery talks, and invites the public to vote for two coveted People’s Choice awards which are announced at the IN THE SPIRIT Northwest Native Festival and arts market.

The Northwest Native Festival:  A free indoor/outdoor festival and arts market, showcasing emerging and recognized artists and designers along with food, a fashion show, artmaking, music, and other cultural experiences. The festival is hosted collaboratively by the Washington State History Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and the Museum of Glass.

IN THE SPIRIT  is a summertime favorite in the South Sound. We are grateful to the Advisory Committee, 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

2020 is the 15th year for IN THE SPIRIT. And, this year is different because we’re living through the COVID-19 pandemic.

We honor the artists whose work has been selected for the 2020 IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts exhibition; although we were unable to host the in-musuem exhibition, you can see their work right here, virtually, online.

See the Virtual Exhibition

The companion IN THE SPIRIT Northwest Native Festival  will be held virtually this year with a series of online gatherings hosted by WSHS, TAM and MOG. We will post details for that here soon.

We’ll also host a Virtual Arts Marketplace featuring talented emerging artists and your favorite vendors who normally sell their creations during the festival. You’re on the right page to watch for the launch of the marketplace! Check back for more info.

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!

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.