Native Pop, an organization that brings American Indian pop art and art making to widespread venues and communities, will present a weekend of events March 30-31 titled “Native Pop Presents: Strong Women: Reclaiming Imagery.” The events feature MaryBeth Nelson (Cherokee), Serena Penaloza (Navajo and Maricopa) and Brent Learned (Cheyenne-Arapaho), who will bring their art, insight and skills to a variety of programs.
The events are sponsored by the Native American House, Women’s Resources Center and Spurlock Museum at Illinois in partnership with the University YMCA and are paid for with the student cultural programming fee.
A panel conversation with the artists will be held Friday, March 30, at noon at the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St., Champaign. At 7 p.m. at Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., Urbana, the artists will create live art and will be available for conversation. Light refreshments will be served at the museum.
On Saturday, March 31, from 10 a.m. to noon, the artists will lead children and adults in a morning of art making at Orchard Downs Community Center, 510 W. George Huff Drive, Urbana.
MaryBeth Nelson is a native Oklahoman and an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation. She was born in Pryor, Oklahoma, but lived more than half her life in central Oklahoma. She also spent a few years in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, in order to be closer to her family and her native roots. Nelson is a self-taught artist who works in many mediums and draws on her love of nature and her heritage to inspire her work. Her sculptures, graphics and paintings have been selected for awards and honors.
Serena Penaloza was born and raised in the Navajo reservation of Church Rock, New Mexico, also known as the heart of Native American art. Her tribes are Navajo and Maricopa, clans Towering House, Bitter Water People and Quail. Most of her paintings are mixed-media acrylic and she is known for her animals and artistic nudes.
Brent Learned is an award-winning and collected Native American artist who was born and raised in Oklahoma City. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. Brent graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor degree in fine arts. Learned draws, paints and sculpts American Indians in a rustic, impressionistic style and is known for the vibrant colors seen in many of his works. He has always appreciated the heritage and culture of the American Plains Indian and tries to capture the essence, accuracy and historic authenticity of their way of life through his art. His work can be found in museums and private collections, including the Smithsonian Institute-National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.