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National Museum of Wildlife Art Curator Dr. Tammi Hanawalt Serves as the Wyoming Curator for the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ New Worlds: Women to Watch 2024

March 14, 2024

On April 14, 2024, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., will open New Worlds: Women to Watch 2024. In the seventh and largest iteration of the Women to Watch exhibition series, artists were selected through collaboration with regional outreach committees. The committees participating in New Worlds worked with curators in their regions to create shortlists of artists. From this list, the National Museum of Women in the Arts curators selected the artists and works to exhibit at their museum in 2024. Curator of Art at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Tammi Hanawalt, PhD, was selected as the Wyoming advising curator. This is the first time Wyoming will be represented in D.C. at the Women to Watch exhibition.

Appointed by the Wyoming Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Hanawalt selected five “Women to Watch” artists to represent the state of Wyoming. After extensive research and deliberation, she identified Leah Hardy, Jennifer Rife, Sarah Ortegon HighWalking, Katy Ann Fox, and Bronwyn Minton. “Making the shortlist for our region was no easy task. I searched for, and considered, with suggestions from the committee, over one hundred artists. Keeping in mind that the artists that made the list were underrepresented, and that the theme of the exhibit was ‘New Worlds,’ I also wanted to select artists who were using a variety of media in different ways,” says Hanawalt. All five artists then submitted proposals to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and curators in D.C. chose one artist to move forward. They selected artist Sarah Ortegon HighWalking from this group to be featured in the upcoming national New Worlds: Women to Watch exhibition.

In discussing Ortegon Highwalking, Hanawalt says “I came across Sarah’s work online and I liked that she combined painting, beadwork, and performance in her art practice. Taking a closer look, I took notice of how she blends references of Native women, personal accounts, and histories to provide a perspective of the present, and a way to look toward the future. Sarah gives us a vision of new worlds through her unique method of storytelling.” Ortegon HighWalking’s proposal for the New Worlds exhibition features a large-scale painting of four jingle dresses representing the seasons, dancing without a physical body. Her beadwork is integrated directly onto her canvas in places where the regalia would typically have actual beadwork, forming Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone designs. The Wyoming Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts is sponsoring Ortegon HighWalking’s travel to Washington, D.C., for the exhibition opening. Hanawalt will also be in attendance.

The Wyoming Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts organized a traveling exhibition celebrating all five Wyoming Women to Watch. The exhibition opened in Jackson Hole at Shari Brownfield Fine Art, with a reception on March 13. Ortegon HighWalking performed two dances from her signature Blacklight Jingle Dress Dance, and Hanawalt led a Q&A with the artists. “My hope is that the recognition of these five artists brings more acknowledgement to all artists from this region,” says Hanawalt.

Lisa Fleischman founded The Wyoming Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in 2021. The current committee serves as a legacy of Fleischman’s championing of women in the arts and is comprised of the following members: Rosie Berger, Kristen Broeder, Shari Brownfield, Dr. Bernadine Craft, Sharon Dynak, Vickery Fales Hall, Sue Simpson Gallagher, Ann Ruble, and Erin Taylor.

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