In the Spirit 19th Annual Exhibition

July 1, 2024 at 12:00 a.m.
hiyáʔ ʔúx̣ʷ c̓áʔ ʔaʔ cə skʷáči, 2024, Timothy O'Connell (Jamestown S'Klallam) 
Oil on canvas, 18"x24"
hiyáʔ ʔúx̣ʷ c̓áʔ ʔaʔ cə skʷáči, 2024, Timothy O'Connell (Jamestown S'Klallam) Oil on canvas, 18"x24"

IN THE SPIRIT is an annual summertime celebration of Native arts & culture at the Washington State History Museum. IN THE SPIRIT includes a juried exhibition at the Washington State History Museum, a free community opening night & artist awards ceremony, and an Arts Market and Northwest Native Festival. 

Celebrating its 19th year, the Contemporary Native Arts exhibition runs from July 20 through September 29, 2024

Visitors are also invited to attend the free community Opening Night & Artist Awards on Saturday, July 20. 

Later, on August 10, the IN THE SPIRIT Arts Market and Northwest Native Festival is an annual celebration of Native arts and culture. The festival will offer a variety of activities, including a showcase of contemporary art exhibitions, live performances, artisan vendors, interactive activities, and food!

The IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts exhibition (July 20 through September 29, 2024), highlights 29 Native artists from across the United States to showcase their original artworks. The exhibition features artwork in diverse mediums, including beadwork, painting, carving, glass, basketry, textiles, mixed media, and digital works. From traditional craftsmanship to innovative contemporary styles, the artworks connect guests with the broad spectrum of Native art today.

An artist's statement accompanies each work of art. These statements provide guests with personal interpretations of the art, context, and notes on inspirations or techniques. Timothy O'Connell (Jamestown S'klallam), the winner of the 2023 Spirit of the Northwest award, won over audiences with his Pacific Northwest landscape paintings incorporating Coast Salish design. 

Timothy O'Connell with one of his paintings 

O'Connell's described his piece for the exhibition. "This is a series based on photos taken from the Bainbridge to Seattle ferry," he said. "The importance of water travel is built into the S'Klallam Language. The title of the piece is untranslated to highlight the language, and an English translation would lack the nuance of the phrase."

Every year, the Washington State History Museum works closely with a Native advisory committee to ensure that the exhibition and the accompanying IN THE SPIRIT Arts Market & Northwest Native Festival are led by the Native community and take cultural considerations into account. 

The art and award selections for IN THE SPIRIT are selected through a blind jury process. This year, the jurors chose art from the largest submission pool in the exhibition's history. The jury panel includes a rotating selection of Native artists and subject experts. The 2024 jurors are Michael Holloman (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation), Dr. Jessica Bissett Perea (Dena'ina [Alaska Dena]), and Anthony Duenas (Puyallup). 

Chilkat Killer Whale Tunic, 2023. Sydney Akagi (Tlingit) 


The public is invited to opening night of IN THE SPIRIT on Saturday, July 20, at 5:30 PM. During this event, guests can view the exhibition, meet contributing artists, enjoy light refreshments, and attend the 2024 IN THE SPIRIT Artist Awards presentation. The award categories include Best in Show, Spirit of the Northwest, Honoring Innovation, Honoring the Ancestors, and the Purch ase Prize. Guests visiting the exhibition can vote for their favorite piece until August 10, 2024. The winning piece will receive the People's Choice Award. This event is free, but registration is required.

The IN THE SPIRIT Arts Market & Northwest Native Festival is a free celebration of Native arts and culture. It will be held on August 10 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. This event features an artist vendor market, art demonstrations, music, dance, performing arts, family activities, and free access to the Washington State History Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and Museum of Glass. This year's event will also include the return of the fashion show at the Tacoma Art Museum, led by 2023 People's Choice Award winner and IN THE SPIRIT artist, Mary Kelsay. 

The IN THE SPIRIT Arts Market & Northwest Native Festival has been made possible, in part, through the generous support of Tacoma Venues & Events. 

Get all the details for IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts exhibition and more at 

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