Traverse City’s Dennos Museum Celebrates 50 Years of Arctic Art

The Dennos Museum Center at Northwestern Michigan College continues the tradition of exhibiting the Cape Dorset Annual Graphics Collection, a pillar of Canadian art, through November 29, 2009. A reception for the collection is scheduled for Friday, October 16, at 6 p.m. A print sale will follow the reception at 6:30 p.m.

Sales will be conducted by a lottery, since many of the prints will be in high demand. Proceeds from the sale will be used to purchase new works for the Dennos Museum Inuit Collection. Interested buyers may receive a catalogue, price list and lottery number by calling the museum store 231- 995-1586.

In conjunction with the exhibit of the Cape Dorset Annual Graphics Collection at the Dennos, the U.S. Inuit Art Society will be holding its annual conference at the museum October 16-18. Guest lectures, films, visits to private collections and vendors will highlight the conference.

Additionally, from October 16 through January 3, 2010, the Dennos Museum Center presents Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Inuit Print, an exhibition culled from the museum’s collection that represents each year of the 50-year history of Inuit printmaking. The museum holds prints from co-operatives including Cape Dorset, Baker Lake, Holman, Pangnirtung.

In Canada, in 1959, a group of government dignitaries gathered together to view the first collection of graphic art—a folio of prints—from Cape Dorset, then in the Northwest Territories (now Nunavut). This collection was to become a pillar of Canadian art. In the ensuing years, thousands of prints have been released, culled into collections and catalogued for exhibition the world over. These prints have contributed to the awareness of the Inuit people and their culture.

In 1960, Bernard Rink, on behalf of Northwestern Michigan College’s Osterlin Library, became the Michigan distributor of one of the sets of prints. Rink established the tradition of funding the purchase of Inuit prints for the college collection by hosting an annual exhibition and sale of the Cape Dorset prints. Through this process the collection has grown to include over a thousand pieces of Inuit sculpture and prints. Today, the collection is considered one of the most historically complete representations of Inuit art in the United States.

“When we reflect on the images of the 1959 collection, it is clear that a different eye is in evidence today and with the exception of Kenojuak Ashevak and Kananginak Pootoogook, another generation comes forward, aware of the past but challenged by the present. Ningeokuluk Teevee, great granddaughter of a notable Inuk, Pootoogook, and her great uncle Kananginak, together proudly submit their work,” says Terry Tarnow, the museum store manager at the Dennos.

Preview catalogues, price list and registration information for the Inuit Art Society meeting are available at the Dennos Museum Store by calling 231-995-1586.

The Dennos Museum Center is open daily 10 AM to 5 PM and until 8 pm on Thursdays and Sundays 1-5 PM. Admission is $6.00 adults, $4.00 for children and free to museum members. For more information on the Museum and its programs, go to www.dennosmuseum.org or call 231-995-1055. The Dennos Museum Center is located at 1701 East Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49686, at the entrance to the campus of Northwestern Michigan College.

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