Click here to view Current Exhibits.
Parks, People, Preservation: Celebrating the National Park Serivce in the Southwest
June 23, 2016 - November 18, 2016
The National Parks, Monuments and Historic Sites in the Southwest are places that provide us with the opportunity to form a deeper connection to the land, the people and the past that anchors us all as Americans. There’s simply no better getaway in the United States than a visit to one of our many national parks.
There are 13 national parks and 37 monuments and historic sites and parks in the Four Corners states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Several are represented in this exhibition through historic and contemporary photographs and objects from the collections. Please join us as we celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial anniversary!
Writer and environmentalist, Wallace Stegner, once stated that the “National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Marking the Sparrow’s Fall: The Making of the American West. (1983)
Time Exposures: Picturing a History of Isleta Pueblo in the 19th Century
October 22, 2015 - November 18, 2016
The exhibit recounts the story told by the people of the Isleta Pueblo, a Native American community in New Mexico, of when the arrival of American soldiers and explorers in the mid-1800s changed their world dramatically. Divided into three parts, the exhibit describes the traditional year where the community lived by the seasons, with regular sequences of ceremonies and rituals and practices of hunting, gathering and farming. The second section sees the arrival of the Americans and describes how this influx disrupted their ways of living, altered by the taking of lands and other resources. The Isleta people fought these changes but eventually came to terms, in their own ways, with becoming members of America. The third section of the exhibit examines the hundreds of historical photographs displayed, asking what kind of record these photos represent, and how this kind of documentation is a product of “white culture”. Established in the 1300’s, Isleta Pueblo remains a traditional society today, in many ways a people living in two worlds.
The photographs on display came from a number of archival collections throughout the United States, and now reside in the Isleta Tribal Archive. The project began with two lengthy land disputes, which required extensive research by elders and their consultants, uncovering a large collection of oral histories, photos and other records. The committee of traditional leaders wanted to tell the history of their people from their point of view and make it available to the Pueblo and the wider world, while importantly keeping traditions private as to not reveal and diminish integral practices and beliefs.
Southwest Landscapes: Views through the Veil
June 10, 2015 - extended through fall 2016
Southwest Landscapes: Views through the Veil in the Delaney Library features the work of Hesperus artist Holly Hagan. Hagan’s work is directly inspired by the time she spends exploring the Southwest, and she incorporates archetypal themes into her paintings depicting the natural landscape. In describing her work, the artist states:
"My art is about the mystery of life experienced through elements of nature. It’s about the times when the veil between here and there feels a little thinner. Using glazes and working from memory of personal experiences, I combine the natural world with the mystical elements of the unconscious. We’ve all had the experience of the epiphany- the 'ahaa' moment too big for words. My hope is to capture something in my painting that can’t adequately be expressed by language. I want the viewer to be drawn to the work because it makes them feel something."
Hagan graduated magna cum laude from the University of Oregon with a degree in Fine Art. She has lived in the Durango area since 1997. Hagan is inspired by the natural landscape, and - when not painting - can be found exploring the mountains and canyon country surrounding her home.
This is the second annual Delaney Library exhibit of a regional artist whose work supports the mission of the Center of Southwest Studies.
Thunder in Our Voices
January 21, 2016 - May 27, 2016
The contentious issue of oil and gas pipelines across indigenous lands is the subject of the latest exhibition at the Center of Southwest Studies.
Forty years ago, after the discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, thirty of the largest oil companies in the world proposed to ship the natural gas across northern Canada, down the valley of the Mackenzie River, and then to Chicago. It was, at the time, the largest engineering project ever proposed in North America. But the Dene and Inuvialuit of northern Canada opposed the project, demanding that their land claims be settled before any construction began. To resolve the impasse, the Canadian government asked Justice Thomas Berger to conduct hearings to decide where and when the pipeline should be built.
Justice Berger held hearings with the industry, but he also visited thirty Dene and Inuvialuit villages, where young and old were invited to speak. Their voices, carried south by the media, created a well-spring of support for the indigenous communities. The pipeline was never constructed.
Seven years ago, Durango photographer Linda MacCannell was invited to travel on a 1,000-mile journey to revisit those villages with a team of lawyers and journalists who had been involved in the original Inquiry. The goal was to hold an event in each community so residents could hear the speeches that their grandparents had made to Judge Berger.
MacCannell also gave photography classes so students could record their experiences talking with the elders. "This work is a conversation across generations," she says. "The journey relied on community support and people's willingness to share their stories. These gifts, and more than my quote of luck, made the journey unforgettable."
Thunder in our Voices has toured twenty five Dene and Inuvialuit communities and ten universities across Canada. The Center for Southwest Studies is its first stop in the United States.
Photo credit: Linda MacCannell
RARE II: Imperiled Plants of Colorado
May 16 - December 16, 2015
RARE II: Imperiled Plants of Colorado, is the second exhibit of the Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists to come to the Museum at the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College. The forty botanical illustrations were selected from the hundred and twenty one globally imperiled plants on the Colorado Master Plant List developed by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program. The exhibit is designed to introduce the public to the most imperiled plants in Colorado and educate them on the importance of protecting them. The illustrations are scientifically accurate and exquisitely detailed.
Colorado supports a rich and diverse native flora that ranges from shortgrass prairie to alpine tundra. Native plants are key components of the state’s natural heritage and vital to ecosystem functions that result in a healthy, productive and sustainable environment. A small percentage of Colorado’s native plants are considered quite rare, some endemic only to our state. As Colorado’s population and associated infrastructure continues to grow, these vulnerable species are increasingly at risk.
The San Juan Mountains Association is a co-sponsor of the exhibit. More information about their commitment to education and stewardship of southwest Colorado’s public lands can be found at www.sjma.org
Tough Men in Hard Places: The Electrification of Colorado's Western Slope
February 12 - September 18, 2015
Based on the book of the same name, the Tough Men in Hard Places exhibit displays the remarkable era of innovation in bringing electrical power to the mines, ranches, and homes of Southwest Colorado beginning in the 1890s, and documents the men who braved wild electrical storms, avalanches, rugged mountain terrain, and extreme weather at the turn of the last century in these selected historic photographs. Tough Men in Hard Places speaks to the tenacity, vision, imagination, and toughness of electrical workers everywhere, past and present.
The photographs are part of the Western Colorado Power Company Collection (CSWS P009 & P001), archived in the Center of Southwest Studies’ Delaney Southwest Research Library and Archives, which holds over 8,000 images from the company’s former archives. Most of the photographs in the collection were taken by Philip “P. C.” Schools, Chief Engineer of the Western Colorado Power Company, documenting every step of the “new” power process and the coming of electricity to Southwest Colorado.
The book, TOUGH MEN IN HARD PLACES: A Photographic Collection, was researched and written by Esther Greenfield, a long-time volunteer at the Center of Southwest Studies, where she processes old records and photographs, organizing them so that researchers will have ready access. In fact, it was her three-year-long project to help organize the Western Colorado Power Company Collection that led directly to the book. The new exhibit beautifully displays selected images in a large-format scale, accompanied by artifacts of the era.
For more information on the publication, visit Facebook: ToughMeninHardPlaces or www.EstherGreenfield.com.
Masterpieces of the Durango Collection®:
Native Blankets from the Early American Southwest
October 9, 2014 - Summer 2015
After a yearlong run at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe, NM, these significant textiles return to the Center as the hallmark exhibition honoring the Center’s fiftieth anniversary year. The majority of these Navajo and Puebloan textiles were made between 1860 and 1880, during a time that the American Southwest experienced significant change including the coming of the railroad, and the more readily available exchange of commerce, culture and ideas.
Indigenous peoples of the Southwest have practiced weaving for approximately 2,500 years. But it was the cultivation of cotton that figures prominently in the production of early southwestern textiles. By 1100, people living in what is now the Four Corners area were weaving on upright looms, producing large, rectangular textiles which could be used as blankets or garments. The Spanish introduced sheep in 1598, and Native weavers quickly adapted to the use of wool.
nomad bahané: photographs of the Trek
by Venaya Yazzie (dine'/ hopi) in the Delaney Library
June 19, 2014 - May 2015
nomad bahané: photographs of the Trek by Venaya Yazzie, concerns the 21st century migration of a Navajo/Hopi woman’s nomad story. As an artist, Yazzie travels within the borders of many American Indian reservations in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. Her images tell a visual story of her gaze at the natural environment, her Indigenous people and their ancient cultural adornment practices.
The exhibit at the Delaney Southwest Research Library was the inaugural exhibition of a series, which rotates annually and feature a regional artist whose works reflect the landscape, people and heritage of the Southwest.
Beauty and Necessity: Rio Grande Textiles from the Durango Collection®
Exhibit Dates: April 10, 2014 - May 1, 2015
A public reception for this exhibit featured the gypsy-jazz of The Durangotones. Textile expert and Toadlena Trading Post owner, Mark Winter, then followed with a gallery talk on Rio Grande blankets.
Textiles and other crafts produced by settlers in colonial New Mexico had their origins in Spain, but quickly developed into unique local styles influenced by new needs, available materials, and exposure to the traditions of local Native communities. This blending of materials, techniques, and styles in textile production in Spanish households created a unique new industry known today as the “Rio Grande” textile tradition.
For the early Spanish settlers, prized possessions were the legacy items brought, handed down, or imported from Mexico or Spain. However, as communities became established, their descendants began to create and appreciate their own regional forms of expression, creating items of beauty as well as of necessity.Read more about the exhibit in the Durango Herald's article - click here.
This exhibit was a continuation of programming surrounding the 50th Anniversary year for the Center of Southwest Studies, celebrating half a century of scholarship, service and preservation of the greater Southwest.
Exhibit at the Swaner EcoCenter in Park city, UT
December 2014 - March 31, 2015
The Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter and the Quinney College of Natural Resources of Utah State University hosted the Center of Southwest Studies’ traveling exhibit, Mountain Lions! The Story of Pumas and People.
Mountain Lion! was produced by the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College, with help from the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Southern Ute Tribe. The exhibit features a variety of perspectives on the West’s most elusive predator. After its premier exhibition at the Center of Southwest Studies, Mountain Lion! has traveled for exhibit to the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff and the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores, Colorado.
One Bead at a Time: The Artistry of Orlando Dugi and Ken Williams
Exhibit Dates: June 21 - December 17, 2014
One Bead at a Time featured the work of two contemporary Santa Fe artists, focusing on beadwork and fashion design. Orlando Dugi (Navajo) designs and makes hand-beaded eveningwear and accessories. He works by stitching one bead at a time, working with fine silks, leathers, feathers and metals. One of his gowns recently appeared in Vogue Italia. Ken Williams (Arapaho/ Seneca) blends his modern style of beadwork with his traditional upbringing. His primary focus is fancy bags- handbags, shoulder pouches, pipe bags and delicate pictorial purses. Williams recently won 2014 Best of Show at the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market.
Native Views, Native Visions
Exhibit Dates: October 24, 2013 - Aug 1, 2014
Native Views, Native Visions was an exhibit of contemporary artwork by Native American artists, with key pieces highlighted from the Center's permanent collections.
Many of the pieces in the show were donated by Bill and Sue Hensler, with others coming from the collection of Ken and Nancy Goodhue-McWilliams. The exhibit includes pieces from other individuals who hold Fort Lewis College and its commitment to Native American education in high regard, and have chosen the Center of Southwest Studies as the new home for their collections. Several notable new acquisitions on display include works by Pablita Velarde, her daughter Helen Hardin, and granddaughter Margerite Bagshaw.
The exhibit featured paintings, drawings, and prints, complemented by selected works in other media. The exhibit celebrates the diverse artistic and cultural perspectives of Native artists by focusing on artists' individual portrayals of the natural and spiritual world. The selections go beyond the art of the Southwest to honor Fort Lewis College's Sacred Trust, which extends to many Native peoples, and to generate appreciation and dialogue for the viewer. Fort Lewis College students took a leadership role in selecting the art and producing the exhibit.
Woven to Wear
Exhibit Dates: Feb 7, 2013 - May 2014
Woven to Wear featured key textiles from The Durango Collection®. Representing 800 years of weaving in the Southwest, The Durango Collection ® forms the cornerstone of the collections at the Center of Southwest Studies, chronicling the remarkable achievement of Puebloan, Navajo and Hispanic weavers. This exhibition highlighted Navajo and Puebloan wearing blankets and clothing, paying homage to the creativity and skill of these weavers. Navajo textile design reflects the Diné concept of harmony, while Puebloan textile design expresses identity.
Exhibit Dates: June 17, 2010 - Feb 21, 2014
Treasures Unveiled is an exhibit of unique and rarely seen items from the Center’s collections. This exhibit will "explore for treasure" in a number of ways.The word treasure can have many meanings. The Southwest holds national treasures, such as Canyonlands and Mesa Verde National Parks. People, too, are treasures. Artists like Stanton Englehart and R.C. Gorman are venerated for the beauty they create. Some treasures have more personal meaning: a family possession that survived the journey west, or perhaps a wedding photograph or an heirloom quilt. Some treasures are less tangible, such as a thoughtful word or stories of a different way of life.The Center of Southwest Studies invites you to joins us in a Southwestern treasure hunt!