Come volunteer at the 2018 Native American Festival

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On July 7th, from 10 am to 4 pm the Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market will celebrate its 25th year! The festival is an opportunity to meet and mingle with local Native artists and see their amazing work, all while learning about contemporary Wabanaki art and culture. And in order to make it happen, we could use your help! This year your support is especially important because the Festival is moving into downtown Bar Harbor and taking over the Abbe Museum backyard. Exciting changes lead to more volunteer opportunities, so be sure to read on to see this year’s needs – just a few hours of your time will have a big impact.

If you are interested in lending a hand, please contact Jill Sawyer at 207-288-3519 or jill@abbemuseum.org. We can't wait to work with you!


SPECIFIC TIME COMMITMENT

SET UP & BREAKDOWN (THURSDAY, JULY 5: 2 PM; SATURDAY, JULY 7: 4 PM)
Volunteers assisting with Set Up and Breakdown will be on hand to transform the backyard into the Native American Festival...and back again. There are 2 opportunities to help -- set up will be taking place the day before the event on Friday, July 6 and breakdown will be directly after the festival closes on Saturday, July 7 at 4 pm.

ARTIST SET UP ASSISTANTS (SATURDAY, JULY 7: 7 AM)
Once the event is set up it is time for the artists to come in and make it come alive. We could use a handful of people to help artists get settled and assist in their booth set up. Set up will begin at 7 am on Saturday, July 7 and end at 10 am.


HALF/FULL DAY OPPORTUNITIES

GREETERS (TWO SHIFTS: 10 AM – 1 PM; 1 – 4 PM)
Stationed at an entrance to the backyard, Greeters will be responsible for orienting visitors, answering questions, and potentially taking donations. It’s a fun and easy way to help out, all while meeting new people and enjoying the beautiful July weather.
**Must be comfortable handling cash.

ABBE BOOTH ATTENDANT (TWO SHIFTS: 10 AM - 1 PM; 1 - 4 PM)
At the Abbe Museum's information booth you will get to talk about all of the amazing things that are happening at the Museum, answer questions about the event, and even sell raffle tickets. It's a front row seat to the festival and a great way to meet interesting people.
**Must be comfortable handling cash. 

23rd Annual Native American Festival & Basketmakers Market

The Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market will celebrate 23 years on July 9, 2016, 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 delicious food. 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 will be my 12th year participating in the Festival, as a jewelry vendor,” said Donna Brown, Penobscot, who attended the 2015 Festival as an Abbe Museum Wabanaki Artist Fellow. “This festival brings together a blend of creativity, culture, and sharing of knowledge that is surrounded by the joyous energy of vendors, festival organizers, volunteers, collectors of Native American art, and visitors from around the world. The support and exposure that I have received by attending this festival have greatly influenced my career as an artist, and as a result, I have been able to move forward with confidence, as well as the knowledge, that there is a great market for Native American jewelry.”

The Festival itself began in 1989 at the Abbe and moved around to several locations in town before landing at COA. The location on the ocean-front grounds of the college allowed the Festival to grow, with ample space for vendors and parking for many more guests. 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 of 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 23 years it has been in Bar Harbor.

From a bow-drill fire starting demonstration to children’s storytelling to a Mosquito Dance to a Wabanaki cuisine demonstration to a regalia making demonstration to a silent auction, there is undoubtedly something for everyone at the Native American Festival. 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

Meet a Wabanaki Artist Fellow: Donna Brown

Donna Brown talked about her beaded moccasins with Abbe Trustee, Sandy Wilcox, at the Museum's annual meeting in August.

Donna Brown talked about her beaded moccasins with Abbe Trustee, Sandy Wilcox, at the Museum's annual meeting in August.

Donna Brown, Penobscot, handcrafts jewelry and traditional beadwork made from various metals, semi-precious gemstones, and glass beads. She uses stringing and metal shaping techniques to create various types of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, and also uses intricate beadwork techniques to create jewelry and regalia accessories by beading with cloth, leather, and a loom. She has beaded on items such as moccasins, shoes, belts, barrettes, shawls, earrings, and hair ties.

"My work is motivated by my desire to create colorful jewelry and regalia that will be passed on to future generations," Donna said in her fellowship application's artist statement. "I am inspired by the colors and elements of nature, as well as my Wabanaki culture, and I am passionate about creating miniature works of art that begin with a sketch or outline of a pattern and seeing it come to life through the work of my hands. It gives me great joy to see others enjoy and wear my creations, whether for everyday wear or worn specially for traditional gatherings."

Donna is working hard to build her business and cultivate her brand to a level of success that will allow her to broaden her reach into the jewelry and fashion industry.

"I feel once I have gained access to this industry, I can share the beauty and significance of our culture through my designs and creations. It is also my goal to teach others my skills to serve as a mentor and help keep our traditions alive."

In July, Donna attended the Native American Festival as an Abbe Museum Fellow. She and her husband, Jason, are the creative force behind Decontie & Brown  and have been creating jewelry for the past 20 years.

"This fellowship will also support me by allowing me access to some of the tools and supplies that are needed to sharpen and polish my brand. By presenting my jewelry in a professional and attractive way, I add value to my creations, my brand, and to Native American jewelry and art. Wabanaki artists who attend the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance shows, are in the unique position of presenting their creations to collectors from around the world. My goal is to utilize this opportunity by attending these shows and presenting my creations in the same manner as top jewelry designers, utilizing cohesive display presentation and product packaging. 

The Abbe Museum Wabanaki Artist Fellowships were made possible through support from Dawnland, LLC, the concessioner in Acadia National Park.

2015 Native American Festival

It was a perfect day on Saturday, July 11th for Maine's largest gathering of Native American artists, co-hosted by the Abbe Museum, the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, and College of the Atlantic. Featuring the celebrated Native arts market, Native music, dance, storytelling, craft demonstrations, and delicious food, the festival offered visitors, collectors, and gallery owners the opportunity to buy directly from the artists. For many visitors, this was a rare opportunity to meet the artists and learn about contemporary Native arts and cultures from Maine and the Maritimes.

Thanks to everyone who made this year's Festival such a huge success!