Love Letters To The Collection Project
An interactive way to engage and activate the MAM CollectionIn 2019, MAM staff conceived of an exhibit that would activate the Contemporary American Indian Art Collection (CAIAC). Activation, in this sense, refers to bringing art objects out of storage and ensuring their place in public engagement. Staff also wanted to include a decolonizing lens to the CAIAC. What resulted was the exhibition Love Letters to the Collection, which was on view during 2020.
As the show came to a close, curators and other staff at the museum felt that the show could live on in other means. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, visitation was low to the museum during much of the exhibit's run. Love Letters is now an ongoing special project through a collaboration between the curatorial and education departments, and of course, you!
Below you'll find a list of every piece selected (in chronological order), plus links to the selector's letter, videos, music recordings, artmaking worksheets, images, educational resources, and much more.
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
Celebrate 40,000 Years of American Art
Art historian and curator Carolyn Kastner selected this print by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Salish-Kootenai, Métis-Cree, Shoshone-Bannock).
- Read her love letter
- Worksheet: Write a love letter!
- Learn more about the artist (includes detailed lesson plans for teachers)
Gorge Spirits Floating 2
Martin Leibinger, a student at the University of Montana, selected this print by Lillian Pitt (Wasco, Yakama, Warm Springs).
Follow along with mindfulness video based on this piece
Worksheet: Make your own version of this print
Split War Shield
Cameron Decker (Diné, Salish), professor at Salish Kootenai College, selected this sculpture by Corwin Clairmont (Salish-Kootenai).
Worksheet: Make your own mixed-media sculpture
Listen to Cameron Decker Split War Shield with the artist via StoryCorps
Write your letter!
Molly Murphy Adams
Heather Cahoon (Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes), assistant professor at the University of Montana and poet, selected this piece by Molly Murphy Adams (Ogala, Lakota).
Joe Feddersen & others
Gail Tremblay (Mi'kmaq and Onondaga), artist and writer, selected this collaborative book by Joe Feddersen (Confederated Colville Tribes) and other Native artists.