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Gallery event allows public to ‘get up-close and personal’ with Native artists

For more than 100 years, Wright’s Indian Art has been an institution in New Mexico.

The gallery has worked with the best artists in the state.

And now it is giving back with “Hangin’ With the Masters” artist showcase.

An alabaster sculpture by Victor Vigil.

It will be held from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, and feature 14 New Mexico artists.

“This is a live event in an intimate setting,” owners Dan and Lauren Hyman say. “This is an opportunity for the public to get up-close and personal with these artists. The artists sell their own work, direct to the public.”

There will be refreshments by Bubba’s 33, and some artists will be doing live demonstrations.

The Hymans started the “Hangin’ with the Masters” program in January with the aim of bringing the public face-to-face with the artists.

The artists who have been showcased are award-winning Navajo jeweler Wes Willie, Clarence Cruz, the potter from San Juan Pueblo who received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Allan Houser Legacy Award in 2012, honoring his contribution in traditional pueblo pottery, and Ricardo Caté, a cartoonist from Kewa Pueblo who is known worldwide for his witty humor that highlights issues in the world today.

Wright’s has a history of working with artists to get their work out to the public.

“It is because we have these relationships, both old and new, that we decided it was time to do a showcase blending young and old, experienced and inexperienced, traditional and contemporary,” the couple say. “Our hope is that younger artists will make new connections with the older generation, and that the older generation of artists will be reinvigorated by connecting with the youth. By sharing this experience with the public, we hope to instill a new love of Native art in the community, or to keep the passion that our customers already have for these amazing artists and what they produce going strong.”

The Hymans also enjoy finding new artists who have drive, determination and a respect for their culture.

“Many of the new artists that we work with come from long family lines of established artists,” the couple say. “Some of them, such as Zuni jeweler Abraham Peina, have learned from family members that have been associated with Wright’s for decades. Others, like Navajo painter Daryl Begaye, we meet at various Native Art shows. And still others, like Omaha/Oglala Lakota ledger artist Travis Blackbird, find us.”

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