Denver, CO – November 2, 2022 – The Clyfford Still Museum (CSM) will host the panel discussion Critical Communities: Colville Confederated Tribes and the Museum at 6:30 p.m. MST on November 17 in the Museum lobby. The panel includes Bailey Placzek, CSM’s associate curator catalogue raisonné research and project manager; Erin Shafer, CSM’s associate archivist; Michael Holloman, associate professor of fine arts and coordinator of Native Arts Outreach and Education at Washington State University (WSU) and Colville Confederated Tribes member; and John E. Sirois, Traditional Territories Advisor for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. Before the talk, the Museum invites registered attendees to view original collections material related to Still’s time in the Nespelem area in CSM’s Research Lab, which will be open for 30 minutes before the presentation, from 6-6:30 p.m.
In the summers from 1936–38, Clyfford Still visited Nespelem, a town on the Colville Reservation in northeastern Washington, where he led a summer art program for students. Still developed a relationship with the people there, reflected in the depictions of the community and individuals he created during this time. The Museum currently has three drawings of these individuals on view in the works on paper gallery. During a visit to the area earlier this year, Placzek and Shafer staff spoke to relatives of the individuals depicted in these portraits.
During the panel discussion, Placzek and Shafer will discuss their trip to the Reservation and take a deeper dive into the Museum’s Nespelem archival holdings. At the same time, Holloman will share the connections between CSM, WSU, and Nespelem. He has played a critical role in developing programs, interpretation, and initiatives that amplify Still’s connection to northeastern Washington state. The audience will also have the opportunity to ask questions after the panel discussion.
This free program will take place in the Museum lobby, space is limited, and registration is required to attend in person. The event will also stream live on CSM’s YouTube channel. Registration is not required to stream the program on YouTube.
About the Panelists
Michael Holloman is an associate professor in Fine Arts at WSU and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Native American art history and the studio arts. Currently, he serves as the Coordinator for Native American Arts, Outreach, and Education for the College of Arts and Sciences. From 2010-2014 Holloman was the director of the WSU Plateau Center for American Indian Studies. Prior he was the director of American Indian exhibits, collection management, and educational programming at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture in Spokane. Holloman is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation. His scholarship focuses on abstract expressionist painter Clyfford Still and the 1930’s Nespelem Art Colony, and early 20th century Japanese American photographer Frank S. Matsura.
John Eli Sirois say’ ay’ is a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and is of the respective Okanagan, Methow, and Wenatchi Tribes. He was born and raised on the Colville Indian Reservation in Omak, WA. Sirois carries cultural teachings and histories from his grandmother and extended family that ties him to the lands and waters of the greater Okanogan and Wenatchee Valley regions. He earned degrees from Dartmouth College in history and Native American studies and a Master’s in public administration at the University of Washington. Sirois worked as a former Council Chair and representative for over 20 years in the Colville Tribes’ government. He also led departments that focused on tribal lands, cultural preservation and revitalization, economic development, renewable energy project development, policy development, and governance. He currently serves as the Traditional Territory Advisor for the Colville Confederated Tribes, advocating for Indigenous rights to ensure that those rights are fully respected.
Bailey H. Placzek is CSM’s associate curator and the research and project manager for Clyfford Still’s catalogue raisonné. Placzek has led the inventory and study of Still’s art collections since 2011. She has given numerous talks at CSM and other local and national venues like the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and the National Art Education Association (NAEA). Select curatorial projects include Clyfford Still, Art, and the Young Mind (2022), A Decade of Discovery: Clyfford Still in Denver (2021–22), and Still: Elemental (2019). Placzek’s passions are tied to advancing access to collections, promoting art’s ability to foster connections among humanity across time, and deconstructing museum practice to be more transparent, collaborative, and fun. She received a MA in Art History from the University of Denver and dual BA degrees in Art History and Art from the University of Kansas.
Erin M. Shafer is the associate archivist at the Clyfford Still Museum. She is mainly responsible for improving physical and intellectual control of and access to the historical archive collection. Prior to CSM, Shafer worked as an archivist and librarian in the higher education industry. She received her Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree from the University of Denver and is passionate about increasing access to archival materials.
About the Clyfford Still Museum
Designed by Allied Works Architecture to display the revolutionary art of one of the 20th century’s greatest artists, the Clyfford Still Museum opened in November 2011 in Denver’s Golden Triangle Creative District. Considered one of the most important and mysterious painters of the 20th century, Clyfford Still (1904-1980) was among the first generation of abstract expressionist artists who developed a new and powerful approach to painting in the years during and immediately after World War II. The Museum’s collection represents more than 93% of the artist’s lifetime output. As the steward of Still’s art and legacy, the Museum’s mission is to preserve, exhibit, study, and foster engagement with its unique collections; generate outstanding exhibitions, scholarly research, educational and other cross-disciplinary programs that broaden the definition of a “single-artist” museum; and be a gathering place for the exploration of innovation and individual artistic endeavor. Connect with the Clyfford Still Museum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or at clyffordstillmuseum.org.
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