Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)



August 20, 2018

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (August 17, 2018) - With a focus on North American Indigenous artists, Travois First Fridays jurors selected nine professionals to share their artwork as part of a visual art exhibition series at the Travois office in the Crossroads Art District, 310 W. 19th Terr. in Kansas City, MO. The next First Fridays event will be on Friday, September 7, with Joseph Erb (Cherokee) and his exhibition: "ᎠᏍᎦᏯ ᎦᏅᎯᏓ (Long Men): the native streams and rivers of the land."

"Joseph Erb creates artwork as a means of social justice and activism," Travois President Phil Glynn said. "Not only is he a leader in advancing Cherokee culture and language, his work invites us all to explore the intersection between society and water. I'm excited for the important dialogue Joseph will bring to Kansas City. We may not have mountains or beaches, but we have America's longest river. I hope Joseph's exhibition will spark discussions about how Kansas Citians can better protect, leverage and enjoy our river."

Joseph Erb (Cherokee) is a computer animator, film producer, educator, language technologist and artist. Erb described his work in his artist statement: "The purpose of my research and creative production is to advance the Cherokee culture and language. Social justice and activism is the base philosophy of my interdisciplinary work. Indigenous people face some of the worst disparities in the country in education, health and environmental safety. Art, music and cultural expression have always been positive ways that Indigenous people have persevered. However, Indigenous art has been stereotyped, commodified, and at times stolen from the first communities in which they were born. I believe my role is to provide creative venues for my community members to take back ownership of their stories and express them in ways that are meaningful to them. This includes sharing stories in new ways so that children and grandchildren can have access to them in the future."

Erb holds a BFA from Oklahoma City University and an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. He is an assistant professor in the Digital Storytelling Program and Department of Art at the University of Missouri. He works in the fields of 2-D and 3-D animation; digital storytelling; fine art - painting, metal and textiles; Native American and Indigenous studies; Cherokee language technology and Cherokee studies.

For Travois First Fridays, Erb's exhibition will explore themes concerning the intersection between culture and water and celebrating the stories and struggles of the water, and it will feature three sets of sculptural works, hung or mounted, and digital animation shown in three short movies. The movies last from 4 minutes to 8 minutes, and two feature Cherokee language with English subtitles. Erb said water is one of our most fundamental needs for quality of life, and it should be considered that in all decisions we make.

"All proceeds will be donated to Nibi (Water) Walks general funds," Erb said. "The Nibi (Water) Walks are Indigenous-led, extended ceremonies to pray for the water. Every step in the ceremony is taken in prayer and gratitude for water; water is our life-giving force."

For more information, visit the Nibi Walk website ( and listen to the audio by Sharon Day, leader of Nibi Walks and executive director of the Indigenous People's Task Force.

On September 7 and following First Fridays dates listed on the Travois website, Travois will be open to the public from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Preregistration is available on the Travois website at Erb will give a brief artist talk to introduce his work at 6:30 p.m. Learn more on his website and Instagram.

Appetizers will be provided, while supplies last, along with two drink tickets for guests (21 and older) who preregister prior to each event. Stockyards Brewing Company is a co-sponsor and will provide craft beer.


The Travois First Fridays jury of artists and Kansas City industry professionals selected the indigenous artists out of applicants who responded to a nationwide open call. Jurors for the series include: Gina Adams (Ojibwa-Lakota descent) contemporary hybrid artist and faculty at Naropa University; Bruce Hartman, executive director of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art; Gaylord Torrence, senior curator of American Indian art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; Thomas Farris (Otoe-Missouria, Cherokee), manager of Exhibit C Gallery; Sherry Leedy, artist and Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art; Rachael Cozad, Rachael Cozad Fine Art and former director of Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art; Madison Group Fine Art Appraisals; Norman Akers (Osage Nation), artist and associate professor and director of graduate studies at the University of Kansas; and America Meredith (Cherokee Nation), artist and publishing editor of First American Art Magazine.

Travois First Fridays is a visual art exhibition series featuring North American indigenous artists at the Travois headquarters in the heart of metro Kansas City. Our mission is to support and promote American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian artists through juried exhibition. Our vision is to see Native artists more prominently featured and powerfully supported in metropolitan Kansas City. More information about the juried exhibition series can be found at


Travois is a mission-driven business focused exclusively on promoting housing and economic development for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities. Since 1995, Travois has brought investor equity to more than 200 developments through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program, making an impact of more than $1.3 billion across Indian Country. These private investor funds have helped build or rehabilitate more than 5,300 homes and have helped finance critical economic developments, including infrastructure, health care, community centers, education facilities and job incubators. The Travois family of companies also offers architectural design and construction monitoring services, environmental assessments, consulting on green energy improvements, asset management and compliance services, impact investment models, and comprehensive training to clients in 22 states, from Hawaii and Alaska to Maine and California. For more information, please visit or find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram or on the company blog.


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