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Artrain USA brings Indian art to rural America

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Artrain USA, the nation's only traveling art museum on train, has announced its 15th exhibition, a contemporary Native American art exhibition. Joanna O. Bigfeather has been named as guest curator for the exhibition tentatively titled "Looking at America: Modernity of Indigenous Cultures." The exhibition opens in January 2004 and will tour nationally through 2006 reaching an estimated 250,000 visitors in 100 primarily rural and Native American host communities across America.

Artrain USA's contemporary Native American art exhibition focuses on how Native artists are influenced by the popular culture of today and explores the shared commonalties of native and non-native people in America.

Bigfeather is a native artist and former director and curator of the Institute of American Indian Art Museum in Santa Fe and curator of the American Indian Community House Gallery/Museum in New York. Bigfeather received a Masters of Fine Arts from SUNY Albany. She has authored numerous books, catalogs and articles; served as a fine arts juror for a variety of organizations including Eiteljorg Museum, National Museum of the American Indian, South Western Association for Indian Arts and the Ziibiwing Cultural Society. Her artwork can be seen in many collections including the Smithsonian Institution, Heard Museum, Brooklyn Museum and the Institute of American Indian Art Museum.

Bigfeather lives on the La Jolla Indian Reservation in Pauma Valley, Calif. and is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

Comprised entirely of contemporary artwork by Native American artists, "Looking at America" is broken down into three sub-themes: Commonalities/Similarities encompasses the theme of popular culture as it influences and impacts all people. Native Knowledge includes paintings and other works that address landscape as it embraces the areas of science and wisdom. The third section focuses on the Modernity of Cultures. Today's high tech products are often driven by the age of computers and new technologies as they influence Americans' lifestyles. Artists often use computers, video and CD-ROM to explore new ways of creating art while retaining the connection to the traditions of Native culture. Selected artists represent a range of media not only traditional to Native America but contemporary art as well.

Founded in 1971, Artrain USA is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich. As America's museum in motion, Artrain USA fulfills its mission to enrich lives and build communities through the arts by bringing art exhibitions and educational programs to communities without access to traditional museums and encouraging the development of local cultural programs. Artrain USA travels the country via the support of the nation's railroads. Since its inception, Artrain USA has presented its exhibitions and related art education programs in more than 700 cities in 44 states and welcomed more than 2.8 million people.

For additional information on the exhibition or hosting a community-stop, interested parties should call (800) ART-1971, (734) 747-8300, e-mail drwartrain@aol.com or log onto www.ArtrainUSA.org.