Archived Story

Pokagon band to host art extravaganza

Published 8:20am Friday, November 15, 2013

Whether you’re an avid art fanatic looking to add some authentic Pokagon crafts to your collection or someone who just wants to spruce up your china with some handcrafted plates, you should find something that tickles your interest at this year’s Pokagon Arts Extravaganza.

Beadwork, jewelry, hand woven baskets, pottery, and photography are among the various types of art that will be on available for purchase at the event, which will take place at the Pokagon Community Center, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. This year’s exhibition will feature the works of over 15 different Pokagon artists, the most in its eight-year history.

“There are so many artists in the Pokagon community,” said Paige Risser, the director of communications for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi. “This is a great time for them to display their works, especially with all the people out shopping for holiday gifts.”

The variety of different of items for sale is matched expected price range of items, from $5 to $550, Risser said.

“It’s a unique place to purchase holiday gifts, or gifts for any time of year, or even just something for yourself to own,” Risser said. “It’s got a native feel to it, and it’s all authentic since it’s from tribe members from around the area.”

One of the artists is South Bend resident Kathy Fodness, who specializes in contemporary pottery, in particular functional crafts such as plates and vases. She also produces more decorative pieces as well, which she plans on showing off alongside her other pottery this Saturday.

In the six years since she began creating and selling her art, Fodness’ and her creations have grown in popularity within the region, she said, with her work being featured at the Four Winds Casino and the annual pow wow.

“I’ve developed a real nice following, from people who are starting a collection of their own and from people who are adding a new piece of mine to their existing one,” Fodness said.

Another artist who will be at Saturday’s exhibition is Hal Wiggins, who hails from Suttons Bay, Mich. From the time he was 14, Wiggins has crafted knives, pouches and other types of goods from materials ranging from deer antlers to turtle shells, the artist said.

“When I was a kid, there wasn’t much to do except for making things,” Wiggins said. “So I started making goods for people that needed them, using orange crates and whatever else I could get my hands on.”

Wiggins, who has works featured at Pokagon art exhibits all across the country, said he is excited to have his work once again featured in the Dowagiac area.

“This community has done real well by me,” he said. “They’re helped me out a lot, and I’ve helped them out a lot too.”

Both Wiggins and Fodness said that, in the years since they started exhibiting at the Arts Extravaganza, Pokagon art has seen a boost in popularity, due in part to Pokagon casinos buying decorative art and gift shop items directly from their members.

“I find it really exciting to buy and display artwork from my fellow Pokagons in my own home,” Fodness said. “There has never been a better time to market our wares.”


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