New Catoosa organization aims to support Native American artists
CATOOSA, Okla. – Native American art takes center stage in Catoosa this weekend.
50 Indigenous artists showcase their skills as part of the new Route 66 Native Arts Alliance. The group is bringing the community together to support Indigenous artists during the pandemic.
“All are coming together to make this community a truly special place for artists,” said Betsy Swimmer, Vice President of the Route 66 Native Arts Alliance. “And also, for Route 66, an authentic experience with native artists. “
Events kicked off Thursday night with an art exhibit and gala at the Bella Donna Event Center. The artists showed their paintings, their jewelry and even their furniture. The furniture shown is designed by Cray Bauxmont-Flynn, member of the Cherokee Nation and the Delaware tribe, founder and creative director of Amatoya. He said his pieces are inspired by his Indigenous roots.
“We continue to evolve from our heritage and our cultural essence into a new art form that takes you to the next level,” said Bauxmont-Flynn.
The weekend also launches “Destination Catoosa”. It is an effort to make the city a hub for indigenous art in the region.
You can hear Bartlesville Native and Cherokee Citizen singer-songwriter Becky Hobbs perform a song she wrote for the event, aptly called “Destination Catoosa,” as a tribute to the city.
“These are the red button trees,” Hobbs said. “The birds are singing. It’s the Vert-de-gris river. The blue whale. I even had the blue whale in there. So I really enjoyed writing it.
Friday’s events include a Hobbs concert as well as an Indigenous art exhibit at Bella Donna.
The festivities continue on Saturday in downtown Catoosa with a street fair. Kiosks will line Cherokee Street and feature even more Native American artists. There will also be live music and food trucks.
It is also an opportunity to present the city, known as the gateway to the Cherokee Nation.
“We have ‘Destination Catoosa’,” Swimmer said. “We’ve already had new people move in here, realizing all that Catoosa and Northeast Oklahoma have to offer.”
You can check out the full list of events on Destination Catoosa’s Facebook page here.
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