Join us at the 2019 Abbe Museum Indian Market!

Photo by H.B. Mertz

This May the Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM) is all set to take over Bar Harbor’s Village Green once again for a weekend long celebration of Native art and artists. And we could use your help!

As a volunteer you will experience AMIM in a way the average visitor will not. You'll meet cool people, be inspired by amazing artists, and learn about different Indigenous cultures from across North America. All while supporting a great cause and giving back to your community.

Volunteer opportunities are listed below. If something catches your eye contact Jill Sawyer at jill@abbemuseum.org or 207-288-3519 to sign-up or learn more.

Thank you in advance for your support, we are excited to work with you!


Half/Full Day Opportunities

GREETERS

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Stationed at an entrance to the Village Green, greeters will be responsible for orienting visitors to the event and will take turns doing walk-throughs to make sure everyone is having a great time. It’s a fun and easy way to help out, all while meeting new people and enjoying the beautiful May weather. 

ABBE BOOTH

Like greeters, volunteers stationed at the Abbe Booth will be on hand to address visitor needs. This involves answering questions, chatting about other Abbe Museum initiatives, or selling AMIM merchandise. If you get excited about giving directions or have a lot of opinions on where to get the best food in town, this may be a good fit for you!

ARTIST LIAISON

Assigned to a specific section of the event, this role will be responsible for making sure that the artists attending the Market are taken care of. This encompasses anything from handing out snacks, giving them breaks, or just chatting with them about their experience - a little bit of your time will have a big impact.


Specific Time Commitment 

SET UP or BREAKDOWN
Saturday, May 18 from 7 to 10 am / Sunday, May 19 from 4 to 7 pm

Volunteers assisting with Set Up and Breakdown will be on hand to transform the Village Green into the Abbe Museum Indian Market...and back again. Kind of like a fairy godmother, but with tools instead of a magic wand! Set up will be taking place on Saturday morning, with breakdown occurring on Sunday evening.

FASHION DESIGNER ASSISTANTS
Saturday, May 18 from 12 to 8 pm

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See some amazing Native designed clothing up close and get to meet the artists behind the looks, by volunteering as a designer’s assistant at this year’s Abbe Museum Indian Market Fashion Show. In this role you will be assigned to help one designer in the hours leading up to the show, this could involve anything from fitting models to steaming garments and beyond. Assistants will need to be on hand from noon on Saturday to the close of the show.

FASHION SHOW MODELS
Saturday, May 18 from 12 to 8 pm

We’re looking for volunteer models to walk the runway in the Abbe Museum Indian Market Fashion Show on Saturday, May 18. Here’s your chance to strut your stuff in some fabulous Native designed clothing representing everything from couture looks to street wear. Models will need to be available on Saturday at 12 pm, with the show being from 6 - 7.


Native American Festival & Basketmakers Market Celebrates 25 Years with a New Location

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The Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market celebrates 25 years on July 7, 2018, with a new location at the Abbe Museum’s downtown location. 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 and the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance (MIBA), the Festival offers visitors, collectors, and gallery owners the opportunity to buy directly from the artists. 

“The Native American Festival is a unique community gathering in a historic area of the Wabanaki homeland and has built a reputation for being an important family event for locals on Mount Desert Island,” said Abbe Museum President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. “As the Festival evolves and finds its home in the heart of downtown Bar Harbor, we recognize the strong legacy of this event—a legacy based on tradition. It has been and will continue to be a gathering of Wabanaki people celebrating the arts and traditions of the Wabanaki Nations.”

This nationally renowned event features one-of-a-kind handcrafted Wabanaki ash and sweet grass baskets, wood and stone carvings, jewelry, beadwork, painted drums, and other 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. 

The Abbe Museum is expanding its marketplace for Wabanaki artists with the development of the Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM) each May and the Festival will continue to serve an important educational and economic role for the community alongside AMIM. As sister markets, the two offer a range of opportunities for the public to engage with Wabanaki artists and educators. The Festival serves as a non-juried, non-competitive marketplace. It is accessible to artists who are beginning their careers and interested in working alongside seasoned artists who have done larger markets. 

“This annual celebration serves an important cultural function because it is a space for Wabanaki people to share traditions such as artistic expertise, dance, music, and storytelling,” said Executive Director of MIBA Jennifer Neptune, Penobscot. “The Festival is a staple of summer in Bar Harbor and we’re proud to partner with the Abbe to continue to provide this vital space for Wabanaki peoples to interact with the larger public.”

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. At the time of MIBA’s founding in 1993, there were fewer than a dozen basket makers younger than the age of 50 statewide that were still practicing and learning this ancient and once prolific art form. Through 25 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 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.

The Festival gates are open from 10 am to 4 pm in the Abbe Museum’s backyard at 26 Mount Desert St in Bar Harbor. 

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.
 

Abbe Museum Indian Market Kicks Off on May 18

More than 75 Native American artists and performers from 35 Nations across the U.S. and Canada will attend the inaugural Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM) on May 18-20, 2018, in downtown Bar Harbor. The event will also include a fashion show, film festival, storytelling, dancing, music, and other internationally acclaimed performers. 

"Choosing downtown Bar Harbor as the location for an Indian Market was definitely a strategic decision," Abbe President/CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko said. "Wabanaki people and their ancestors have lived in Pesamkuk, this place we now call Mount Desert Island and Frenchman Bay, for thousands of generations."
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In what is known as the encampment period, from about 1840 to 1920, Wabanaki lived like the other residents of Maine, speaking English but retaining cultural values, language, and limited privileges. Artists and craftsmen would travel to tourist areas, like Bar Harbor, in the summer to sell baskets and other items supplementing their income. They offered guiding services and other services and performances of traditional music and dance. The purchasers were the seasonal residents known as “rusticators” – people like the Abbe Museum's founder, Dr. Abbe, and his colleagues who were drawn to the natural beauty of the Maine coast.

These summer encampments were both the tribal members’ homes and retail outlets. Bringing people together at the encampments and the market for Native baskets and other goods helped to sustain Native culture and community. When the encampment period ended, Wabanaki became largely invisible to non-Native Maine, but they continued to live in their communities, sustaining their cultures.

Small festivals are found throughout the year in Maine, but a juried Indian art show is relatively unknown in the Northeast. Award-winning Wabanaki artists like Jeremy Frey, Theresa Secord, Emma Soctomah, Geo Neptune, and Sarah Sockbeson travel out West each year to participate in the Indian Arts marketplace, and they’ve repeatedly taken top prizes. By creating this event, the Museum will shine a bright light on Wabanaki artists and deepen the economic impact of art making for tribal communities. 

image courtesy jenniferelizabethkreisberg.com

image courtesy jenniferelizabethkreisberg.com

Curator emeritus Elizabeth Weatherford from the National Museum of the American Indian is working with the Abbe Museum and Film Festival host Reel Pizza Cinerama to screen and select Indigenous films, which will be shown all three days of the event. The highly anticipated fashion show will showcase Native American fashion and accessories representing both couture and contemporary looks. 

Award-winning vocalist, composer, producer, and activist Jennifer Kreisberg, Tuscarora, will take the stage several times throughout the weekend of the Market. Kreisberg comes from four generations of Seven Singing Sisters through the maternal line and is known for fierce vocals, soaring range, and lilting, breath-taking harmonies.

The Museum will communicate more details about the Market on their website www.abbemuseum.org/indianmarket, including information about lodging, travel, and additional special events. Anyone interested in volunteering can get in touch with Jill Sawyer, Associate Director of Advancement, at jill@abbemuseum.org or 207-288-3519. 
 

Abbe Museum to Host Indian Market in Bar Harbor

The Abbe Museum is excited to announce that we will host a three-day Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM) in downtown Bar Harbor on May 18-20, 2018. This event will harness the profitability of the Bar Harbor economy for the benefit of tribal communities and in return, generate approximately $250,000 per year for the local economy at a time when lodging and restaurant businesses are in need of visitors.

"The Abbe Museum brings so much to this community in the way of culture, education, and history and offers so much to our visitors,” said Martha Searchfield, the executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce. “The creation of this exciting new event is yet another way in which we all benefit from the hard work and vision of the Museum. The business community will prosper tremendously from the addition of an event of this magnitude.”

Small festivals are found throughout the year in Maine, but a juried Indian art show is relatively unknown in the Northeast. Award-winning Wabanaki artists like Jeremy Frey, Theresa Secord, David Moses Bridges, Emma Soctomah, Geo Neptune, and Sarah Sockbeson have traveled out West over the past few years to participate in the Indian Arts marketplace. They’ve repeatedly taken top prizes in Sante Fe and Phoenix. However, traveling long distances to attend the Indian Arts marketplace is often a hardship that prevents more artists from entering.

“The Northeast is lacking in opportunity for local artists to sell their art on a national scale,” said Suzanne Greenlaw, an apprentice Maliseet basketmaker. “The expense of traveling makes Western Native Art shows unattainable for many and I would be thrilled to see these local Native artisans sell their art on the level the Abbe Museum Indian Market can provide. The opportunity for economic gains and the possibility for artisans to gain confidence will have significant immeasurable impacts for Native communities.”
Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy, with his winning basket at the 2017 Santa Fe Indian Market.

Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy, with his winning basket at the 2017 Santa Fe Indian Market.

By creating this event, the Museum will shine a bright light on Wabanaki artists and deepen the economic impact of art making for tribal communities. Artists will be more likely to work full-time, more people will have the opportunity to make a living through art, remnant art forms will be revitalized, and innovation will have even more room to develop.

“Wabanaki peoples have rich and varied artistic traditions—many of which are underappreciated,” said Bonnie Newsom, Penobscot. “Having a Northeast venue to celebrate and share our artistic gifts with the world will not only strengthen these traditions within our communities, but it will also position these traditions in their rightful place as respected art forms unique to Maine.”

As the newly hired AMIM Producer, Dawn Spears, Narragansett/Choctaw, will focus on creating and launching the annual market and coordinating the activities, tasks, and events leading up to it. Spears has been working in the field for the last two decades, recently as the Executive Director of Northeast Indigenous Arts Alliance (NIAA) where she works to support the Native American artist population regionally by sharing resources and artist opportunities, addressing artist needs, and seeking ways to increase the visibility in the northeast. 

“Many do not realize the level of artistry that exists here in the northeast and AMIM will be the perfect way to showcase our homegrown talent alongside artists representing tribal nations from across the country,” Spears said. “Artists from across the nation are invited and welcome to come and visit the Wabanaki homeland.”

In addition to a two-day market, we're also planning a concurrent Indigenous film festival and a fashion show. And, as the event grows: a marketplace in the streets, an artist competition, a gala event, and the opportunity to taste Native cuisine. 

“As Northeastern indigenous art—and more specifically, Wabanaki art—continues to gain the attention of collectors from around the world, I believe that Bar Harbor is poised to become the “Santa Fe” of the Northeast: a place where visitors from many walks of life come to experience Indigenous North American history and culture,” said Geo Neptune, a Passamaquoddy Master Basketmaker. “Given the Abbe’s history of working with Wabanaki people and the admirable goals set by their current strategic plan, I am confident that the Abbe Museum is the only organization that is able, with the support of its community and partners, to make this dream become a reality.”

We'll reveal more details throughout 2017 on www.abbemuseum.org/indianmarket. Indigenous artists interested in participating in the Abbe Museum Indian Market should get in touch with Dawn Spears at dawn@abbemuseum.org or 207-801-4088. 
 

Welcome Dawn Spears

We are excited to announce the arrival of Dawn Spears, Narragansett/Choctaw, as the Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM) Producer. Please join us in welcoming her to the Museum and Bar Harbor! 

As the AMIM Producer, her responsibilities focus on creating and launching the annual Abbe Museum Indian Market (inaugural event is May 18-20, 2018) and coordinating the activities, tasks, and events leading up to AMIM. Dawn has been working in the field for the last two decades, most recently as the Executive Director of Northeast Indigenous Arts Alliance (NIAA) where she worked to support the Native American artist population regionally by sharing resources and artist opportunities, addressing artist needs and seeking ways to increase the visibility in the northeast. Her role at NIAA formed from her prior role as the Native Arts Program Manager for New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) in Boston. In 2016, NIAA partnered with IFAM and the Mashantucket Pequot Museum to bring the first large Indigenous market to the east with “IFAM East." 

Prior to joining NEFA, she devoted a decade to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation where she was involved in a variety of cultural initiatives, which included cultural education, powwow and dance troupe coordination, and language revitalization work. Dawn served as the Narragansett Tribe’s Tribal Secretary for two terms, and has also served on the board and volunteered at the Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum. She was a member of Native Americans in Philanthropy, serving two terms on the Executive Board, (Secretary, Vice Chair). 
 
She is a 2015 RI State Council for the Arts (RISCA) Master Apprenticeship grantee, and 2015 UPP Arts teaching artist and also served on the HopArts Artist Studio Trail planning committee and is now a member of the Community Advisory Board for the Institute for New England Native American Studies. In 2014, along with her husband they formed the Narragansett Food Sovereignty Initiative to bring a concept of healthy living by providing the Narragansett people access to food, health, and wellbeing, now and into the future through sustainable agriculture, economic development, community involvement, and educational programs.
 
Dawn is the wife of thirty-one years to Cassius and mother of three: Cassius Jr., Kiowa and Coty, and grandmother of five. A believer in the preservation and education of our culture and traditions, Dawn has been teaching and demonstrating for over 25 years in many forms of art and still works creatively when time allows, exhibiting and selling at local galleries and markets. 

"I try to capture the vibrant colors of our natural world; they are my inspiration along with my appreciation of the symbolism within our indigenous culture. I enjoy opportunities that allow us to share our work and give us space to be able to dispel the myths and stereotypes that our people have been forced to endure. Misconceptions about Native American art continue today, for years I was discouraged from pursuing my own style of work because it was not “Native American” enough, it didn’t show horses, and scenes from the wild west. 
I channel my creative focus in my work making a range of corn husk dolls, drawings, painting, jewelry design, and capturing the beauty of our natural work in photography. I work in both contemporary and traditional mediums; I use both traditional and unconventional tools. I like to experiment with these mediums and create amazing colors. In the last few years I have added custom sneakers and shoes to my list, and I even tagged my first pair of jeans. I feel like the possibilities are endless. 
A Narragansett/Choctaw, my mother Diosa Summers, (Choctaw) was an artist and educator and I grew up attending and assisting her. She taught me the fundamentals early; I was immersed in the arts at a young age and I easily became an educator of Eastern Woodland Native Culture myself, my art and work professionally reflect all facets of my life. It was inevitable that I would end up with similar interests as my mother."