Support Indigenous artists at the new Sacred Circle of Ballard gallery
In the heart of Ballard is a welcoming new gallery – Sacred Circle Gallery, an offspring of the original location in the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center. Besides the beautiful works, visitors find information about the cultural background, inspiration and tribal affiliation of each artist.
“At Daybreak, we typically host a quarterly set of solo works by an artist,” says Vera Maldonado, senior manager of the revenue division. “At the Ballard Gallery, we are able to present a larger collection of works by several artists simultaneously. Ballard Outpost is also a hybrid place that offers an assortment of the most popular items from the gift shops.
The most recent location was created when Executive Director Mike Tulee spoke with Mike Stewart of the Ballard Alliance about the United Indians of All Tribes Nonprofit Foundation, which serves urban natives in the west. Washington since 1970. They discussed potential collaborative opportunities, with the Alliance wishing to help United Indians find gallery rental space in order to “bring our indigenous cultural element to a more visible place in the Ballard community.” according to Maldonado.
“We were fortunate that the Ballard Alliance presented us with a location in the historic district with high ceilings, excellent ambient light and an original brick wall that gives character to all the hanging wall art,” said Maldonado. “It’s the perfect backdrop to showcase our merchandise. “
The space currently stocks items like woolen blankets from Teton Trade Cloth, which is guided by a council of cultural directors from various tribal nations; their jewelry selection includes sterling silver and turquoises from local and Southwestern tribesmen, Cherokee copper jewelry, and a variety of beads from local artists.
“We have a great selection of prints in various formats and sizes,” adds Maldonado, “matted, framed and limited editions of Indigenous artists from across Turtle Island and from a 50-year-old company that represents many native artists who are paid a royalty on each sale, providing continued income for generations to come. “
Currently, Sacred Circle is home to several collections of painters and sculptor artists, including Crystal Worl (Tlingit / Athabascan), Jennifer Angaiak Wood (Yup’ik) and Frank Peterson (Makah). The shop also has beautiful wooden rattles by Cliff Nichols (Shawnee) who carves rattles for horses and other spirit animals.
Maldonado brings up the subject of cultural appropriation, a conversation that comes up frequently.
“Some of our clients have asked us if it was cultural appropriation to wear indigenous designs on clothing, our jewelry or buy some of the art we sell,” she says. “These items are not our badges or ceremonial in nature, which we do not sell. Please feel free to wear and appreciate these items and support all of these aboriginal artists. This shows the artists that you appreciate their culture and their creations. “
Gallery staff discover talent through different modes.
“Our connections are made in a number of ways,” says Maldonado, “often by word of mouth, in personal presentations and at Indigenous gatherings like powwows. This is because many Indigenous artists do not have websites or have a regular social media presence. “
Maldonado has found that visitors are always struck by the variety and diversity of the tribes.
“Seattle has a magnetic appeal to many members of the Western tribes,” she comments. “The cultural diversity of their customs and traditions is evident in their art. The gallery seeks to share and expand this understanding and, hopefully, this appreciation by showcasing as many artists as possible.”
The overall mission of the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation is to support the urban Indigenous community through programs and services. In addition to the arts program, they offer: Labateyah Youth Home, Family Services Division, Community Services, Preschool Program, Native Workforce, and Veterans.
“Ultimately, all purchases made at our galleries, gift shops and website go directly to support our program,” said Maldonado. “It’s a perfect intersection between sharing our art, our stories, while building economic self-sufficiency.”
In addition to the Ballard Gallery, shoppers will want to visit the Sacred Circle Gallery and Daybreak Star Gift Shop. and an airport gift shop found in Lobby A of SeaTac.