It’s a joke among the staff and board members of the Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts that it’s a cutting-edge art studio in the middle of a wheat field.
Regardless of its location, the Umatilla Indian Reservation-based printmaking and indigenous studio has received high praise from the state.
Crow’s Shadow received the Governor’s Arts Award in Portland Friday, capping a year where the art studio also celebrated its 25th anniversary.
In a press release, the governor’s office recognized Crow’s Shadow for its ability to “provide a creative conduit for educational, social and economic opportunities for Native Americans through artistic development.”
Already knowing that they had been nominated, Crow’s Shadow Executive Director Karl Davis said it wasn’t a complete surprise when staff got the call that the studio had received the prize. But it was still an honor for the institute on its silver anniversary, especially since it was the first time the award has been bestowed on anyone in 10 years.
Pat Walters, a founding board member, said the award did mean something specific to Crow’s Shadow: respect.
“I think it says a lot about our little organization in the middle of nowhere,” she said.
By Walters’ own admission, the board, which includes renowned printmaker James Lavadour, didn’t always know what it was doing when Crow’s Shadow started in 1992.
Walters said it took Crow’s Shadow until 2000 to establish printmaking as a core part of its identity while still maintaining the American Indian art tradition it was founded on.
Their refocused identity seems to have paid off. Today, Crow’s Shadow employs an executive director, a marketing director, a master printer and provides an artist in residency program, youth outreach, indigenous art workshops and more.
Although Crow’s Shadow may have come a long way since its early days, there are still new things set for the art institute.
Walters said the board has discussed a new facility for the art studio for the past year, although an exact location is yet to be determined.
Contact Antonio Sierra at email@example.com or 541-966-0836.