Dear wonderful DOPT members!
Hello from Fayetteville, Texas - population 250! We have had a very eventful few days... whew! After we stood back up and brushed ourselves off after being knocked down by Gus the Bust, we were back on the road - collecting amazing stories and meeting a ton of new friends! We have even had some time to upload a few more blog posts - including a Vlog about our time in Ajo, AZ - click HERE or check out the Stories tab on the website: www.publictransformation.org.
We made a stop in Zuni Pueblo, NM where we met with the Zuni Visitor and Art Center Director, Tom Kennedy and Zuni artist Narren Bowannie. Our conversations flowed effortlessly between history, culture, art, tradition, beliefs, and life of the Zuni community. They told us how the Zuni language has no word for "art" because it is a part of life, we talked about the challenge of balancing the preservation of tradition with the progress required to exist in modern America, and the impact that imported art objects have had on the Zuni economy... After we purchased a stone fetish from Narren that is meant to bring strength and good luck, we were on our way.
We made a stop off at The Old School Gallery in Ramah, but our contact was no longer able to meet with us that day because the dirt roads to her house were washed out and she could not make it to the gallery. So, we carried on to Santa Ana Pueblo where we met with the incredible artist and entrepreneur Warren Montoya. Warren runs two organizations, Rezonate Art and Rezilience. He is a true civic artist whose mission is to lift up other rural and native artists and to cultivate the next generation of art leaders - he was amazing! We met with him at his parents house and his mother gave us delicious homemade tortillas to take home for dinner!
The next day, we met with Joseph Kunkel from Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative and traditional Santa Domingo potter Thomas Tenorio over an incredible lunch in Santa Fe. Many themes of the conversations that we had with Tom, Narren, and Warren resurfaced - especially the tension between tradition and transformation. Thomas also made the point of thanking Joseph for working with his community by saying "you are so talented, you could be anywhere in world, but you choose to stay work here with us - we are so fortunate." Which reminded us that all of the people we have met so far, are choosing to stay and work in rural areas, despite the challenges that they face - we thank them all for their work!
That evening, Randi and I gave a presentation at the Santa Fe Art Institute on Public Transformation and our findings so far. We attempted a Facebook Live, but it ended up coming out sideways... So, we fixed it and uploaded it to our blog! If you are interested in watching the 20-minute presentation, click HERE.
We have spent the last few days in Texas, but I am going to include those updates in my next email, because this one is getting loooooong!! In the meantime, know that we GREATLY appreciate all of your love and support along the way! If you ever want to give a call to say hi, we would love to hear from you during one of our drives! 952-486-0533.
More soon - over and out!
Ash, Randi, Bodie & Dan the Van