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clyfford still | museum
Side by side images of a graphite sketch on paper of houses in front of a hillside and a color photo of the same scene
Clyfford Still, PD-89, 1936. Graphite on paper, 9 x 12 in. Clyfford Still Museum, Denver, CO. © City and County of Denver / ARS, NY and photo taken in 2024 by CSM staff

Colville Children Curate (title to be determined by co-curators)

Sep 19, 2025–May 10, 2026

Curated by children of the Colville Confederated Tribes, Bailey Placzek, and Nicole Cromartie

While working as an Instructor at the Washington State College Fine Arts Department, Clyfford Still assisted in founding a summer art colony for WSC community members and became one of its first instructors in the summers of 1937 and 1938. Instructors held classes in Toppenish and Nespelem on the Colville Reservation in Washington. The Clyfford Still Museum collections include three paintings on canvas, over 85 drawings and sketches on paper, nearly 20 documentary photographs, and other archival ephemera documenting Still’s time in the area. These objects reveal how Still’s experiences with the Colville community profoundly impacted his work for years.

While culturally distinct and diverse, the twelve bands of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation—Chelan, Chief Joseph Band of Nez Perce, Colville, Entiat, Lakes, Methow, Moses-Columbia, Nespelem, Okanogan, Palus, San Poil, and Wenatchi—share cultural practices and 1.4 million acres of land. Though CSM has focused past exhibitions and programs on Still’s work from Nespelem since 2013, this exhibition seeks to extend and deepen CSM’s relationship with the Colville Tribal community. Specifically, this project acts on the shared desire of leaders of Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and CSM staff to bring youth perspectives to bear in museum practices.

Co-curated with children in the Colville Confederated Tribes in northeastern Washington, this exhibition will explore Clyfford Still’s work through their viewpoints, some of whom are direct descendants of individuals that Still portrayed in his art. Colville Children Curate will center young Tribal voices by engaging them to collaboratively develop an exhibition that builds upon previous evaluation, research, and CSM exhibitions, including Clyfford Still: The Colville Reservation and Beyond, 1934–1939 (2015), Clyfford Still, Art, and the Young Mind (2022), and You Select: A Community-Curated Exhibition (2022). Like Young Mind, Colville Children Curate will prioritize the exhibition’s development process and engage co-curators in artwork selection, interpretation, and design. This time, however, co-curators will also contribute to the conception of the exhibition’s general theme(s) to amplify our collaborators’ vision and address the questions most relevant to their lives. In doing so, Still’s artworks depicting their home, family, and everyday life, as well as Still’s larger, abstract canvas works, will be refracted through their own lived experiences.

Pastel on paper sketch of rolling hillsides on top of a color taken from the same location
Clyfford Still, PP-711, 1936. Pastel on paper, 8 5/8 x 12 in. Clyfford Still Museum, Denver, CO. © City and County of Denver / ARS, NY and photo taken in 2024 by CSM staff
Supported by
Henry Luce Foundation