The Cherokee Nation unveiled the signature painting of the second annual Cherokee Art Market last night at Cherokee Casino Resort. The event marks the official kick-off for the Cherokee Art Market, billed the premier Native American art event of the Midwest, being held Oct. 13-14.
“As the largest major art show sponsored by the Cherokee Nation, we feel the Cherokee Art Market is another great opportunity to share our culture and treasures with others,” said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. “But this year it bears special significance. For the past year, we have reflected on the theme ‘Common Values, Common Ground’ as our way of commemorating the Oklahoma centennial. We need to take this opportunity to reflect upon our history, the efforts of Sequoyah, the treaties and Oklahoma. However, we also see this centennial event as an opportunity to look forward, to pursue partnerships and look to the future. That exactly what we asked the artists to reflect in the signature artwork to commemorate this year’s Cherokee Art Market.”
The Cherokee Art Market features up to 200 Native American artists by invitation only and is expected to draw in more than 2,000 guests from around the country.
“As Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma, I also have the pleasure to chair the Department of Recreation and Tourism for the state,” said Jari Askins, Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma. “I see what an important role that our native culture plays in our tourism in and what a great opportunity it is. Congratulations to the Cherokee Nation for bringing attention to Native American art in this way.”
Oklahoma is home to the majority of the Native American artists in the country. Yet, until the formation of the Cherokee Art Market in 2006, native artists had to travel to the southwest region of the United States to gain greater recognition for their art and more profitable sales.
Following the keynote speakers, Chief Chad Smith unveiled the signature piece and introduced Bill Rabbit, the signature artist of the Cherokee Art Market. His acrylic painting, “Common Values, Common Ground,” was completed with the help of his daughter, Traci Rabbit.