Artrain brings culture by rail

Published 9:37 pm Friday, February 24, 2006

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
DOWAGIAC - “Humbling” is how Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Chairman John Miller described “Native Views,” an art exhibition beginning the third leg of four cross-country train trips in Dowagiac this weekend.
The Dowagiac Dogwood Fine Arts Festival and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians are presenting Artrain USA, the nation's only traveling art museum on a train.
Comprised of 71 artworks by 54 Native American artists, Native Views explores Native Americans' powerful contributions to contemporary art and society and the complexity of American culture.
The museum is on view at the Dowagiac train depot, 200 Depot Drive, this Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.
Visitors can tour Artrain USA's three galleries and Artist's Studio onboard vintage railcars.
They will gain better understanding of the complex issues surrounding Native American history and the challenges faced today by tribal nations.
Kids of all ages can participate in an exhibition “scavenger hunt.” Visitors can purchase original works of art from demonstrating artists or souvenirs from the museum gift shop.
Dowagiac City Manager Bill Nelson said, “When I think about these two organizations,” the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival and the Pokagon Band, “I think about Dowagiac's heritage - particularly standing (in the depot). Obviously, this community is very blessed to have a strong Native American heritage through the Pokagon Band. The band's strong history is significant, but heritage is also being built through more recent developments, such as federal designation of the tribe” by President Clinton in 1994, “new elder housing, tribal administrative, medical and public safety facilities and services, along with participation in projects like this, where our community can learn more about ‘Native Views' and their influence on modern culture.”