Artist and Story-Keeper’ « News @ ODU

The Barry Art Museum at Old Dominion University announces its upcoming exhibition, “Rhonda Holy Bear: Artist and Story-Keeper,” which opens on August 30.

This exhibition celebrates the renowned sculptural work of Rhonda Holy Bear (Cheyenne River Lakota) over the past 35 years. Holy Bear is dedicated to the indigenous tradition of doll making, using painstaking micro-beading and other painstaking processes to create their intricate and highly detailed works.

“Stories have always played an integral role in the preservation of our native culture,” said Holy Bear. “Little did I know how much of an impact my grandmother’s stories would have on my life. It is my sincere hope that through my work I can play a role in helping to restore, revitalize and ensure the continuity of our plains of Lakota. culture.”

An intimate selection of six works will be on view at the Barry Museum of Art through December 31, with accompanying programming in November to honor Native American Heritage Month.

Public programs: The Barry Art Museum offers free museum admission and free public programs, including Saturday exhibition tours, a monthly lecture series, and U-Nite After Hours Events.

Exhibition tours of “Rhonda Holy Bear: Artist and Story-Keeper” are scheduled at 1:00pm on September 3rd, 17th and 24th and October 22nd. Private group tours are available by donation for groups of 6 to 20 guests. To inquire, please email [email protected]

The monthly cycle of lectures takes place on the first Thursday of each month. At 6 p.m. November 3, “The work of the hand, the weaving of a tale” will present Holy Bear in a virtual conference from his studio in Nevada. He will share stories and the techniques he uses to create his intricate sculptures.

Monthly after-hours events bring together university and community partners to deepen our understanding and explore the themes presented by art on view. This U-Nite series takes place on the second Friday of each month.

At 5 p.m. November 11, U-Nite: Story & Craft will focus on indigenous craft traditions from around the country. Attendees will be able to see demonstrations and experience processes with their own hands. Guest curator Sara Woodbury will offer guided tours of our “Rhonda Holy Bear: Artist & Story-Keeper” exhibit, featuring hand-beaded dolls and intricate feather work worthy of close investigation. Enjoy live music, refreshments and educational entertainment at the museum as we celebrate Indigenous culture and customs.

For the full fall schedule, visit

“Rhonda Holy Bear: Artist and Story-Keeper” is curated by Woodbury, Ph.D. candidate in American studies at the College of William & Mary. Curation and programs at the Barry Art Museum are guided by a team of Exhibition Advisory Committee members and organizations such as Keith Anderson, Assistant Director of the Nansemond Indian Nation; Rhonda Holy Bear, featured artist, Lakota Nation; Steven Grafe, Art Curator, Maryhill Museum of Art; Charlotte Potter Kasic, Executive Director, Barry Art Museum; and Drew Lopenzina, professor of American and Native American literature, Old Dominion University.

Holy Bear, The Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyoming, and Susan and David Goode provided additional support in creating the exhibit.

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