More than 200 Native American artists will be on hand demonstrating and selling their work from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, January 12, and Sunday, January 13, at the West Valley Fine Arts Center. Traditional painting and storytelling share the focus of this year's "Tales of the Sun, Moon, and Stars" theme, but the festival honors the ways in which all art forms, from jewelry making and kachina carving to music and dance, both traditional and contemporary, help Native Americans tell their story.
"Native people today have the opportunity to take the best of both worlds," says neopop artist Stan Natchez of Tempe. He describes his work as "Native American Warhol," and, like Warhol, he incorporates contemporary symbols into his paintings -- most recently stock certificates, "the modern instrument of trade." Although he shows his work primarily in galleries, Natchez appreciates the artist-to-client contact that the festival setting provides. "I like to be able to interpret my work [for clients]," he says.
Performing artists at this year's festival include traditional storyteller Allenroy Paquin; the La Rance Hoop, Apache Crown and Hopi Tewa Senom dance groups; and musicians Edgar Perry, Richard Marshall, Robert "Tree" Cody, the Southern Scratch Band, and the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet.
Crafts stations will be set up for the kids. And of course there will be food, including the perennial Southwestern favorite, fry bread. It's hard to beat a festival that feeds both your curiosity and your belly.