The Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market will celebrate 24 years on July 8, 2017, from 10 am to 4 pm at College of the Atlantic (COA). The Festival is free and open to the public and features the celebrated Native arts market, Native music, dance, storytelling, craft demonstrations, and a silent auction. A collaborative partnership between the Abbe Museum, the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance (MIBA), and COA, the Festival offers visitors, collectors, and gallery owners the opportunity to buy directly from the artists.
This nationally renowned Indian Market features exquisite handcrafted Wabanaki ash and sweet grass baskets, wood and stone carvings, jewelry, beadwork, dolls, and other handcrafted items representing the beauty and culture of the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot people in Maine and the Maritimes. For many visitors, this is a rare opportunity to meet the artists and learn about contemporary Wabanaki arts and cultures from Maine and the Maritimes.
MIBA, as part of its mission to preserve and extend the art of basketmaking within the Wabanaki communities, is responsible for bringing in dozens of new, “next generation” basketmakers and their families to the event. Many of these talented basketmakers first got their start at the Festival over the 24 years it has been in Bar Harbor and has watched it grow from a few artists selling baskets while singers and dancers performed, to a festival that displays a wide array of Native crafts and cultural demonstrations.
At the time of MIBA’s founding in 1993, there were fewer than a dozen basket makers younger than the age of 50 statewide who were still practicing and learning this ancient and once prolific art form. Through 24 years of educational programs and marketing efforts, MIBA has lowered the average age of basket makers from 63 to 40 and increased numbers from 55 founding members to 200+ basketmakers today.
Sponsored generously by the Maine Arts Commission and Maine Public, there is undoubtedly something for everyone at the Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market. Proceeds support the non-profit teaching and apprenticeship programs of MIBA.
Parking is limited, and public transportation is available. Visitors are encouraged to use the free Island Explorer bus system which stops at COA. The grounds of the College of the Atlantic are handicap accessible.
About Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance
The Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance is a nonprofit Native American arts service organization focused on preserving and extending the art of basketmaking within Maine’s Native American community. MIBA seeks to preserve the ancient tradition of ash and sweetgrass basketmaking among the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot tribes. www.maineindianbaskets.org