The art and functionality of Ho-Chunk basketry will come to the fore this month in Wisconsin Dells.
Starting July 15, “The Art of Ho-Chunk Basket Making” will celebrate the age-old, local and regional tradition of basket making by people of the Ho-Chunk Nation. The exhibit will take place at Native Presence Gallery in the downtown Dells’ Chalet Building, at 412 Broadway.
The exhibition will feature an array of historic and contemporary baskets from the collections of JoAnn and Tom Jones and Michael Schmudlach, who lent their collections for an exhibit that took place at Edgewood College a year ago and came to the attention of Native Presence and Little Eagle Arts Foundation (LEAF) Executive Director Melanie Tallmadge Sainz.
“We’re so excited because (the exhibition) is going to be the highlight of our summer,” Sainz said.
The exhibit will kick off with a special event the evening of July 15 at the gallery. Author Charles Van Schaick will be on hand to sign copies of his book “People of the Big Voice: Photographs of Ho-Chunk Families, 1879-1942” between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., and an opening reception also will take place, Sainz said. The reception also will feature the music by Ho-Chunk violinist Brenna Two Bears.
Basketry as a symbol of art and commerce for the Ho-Chunk stretches back for more than a century in Wisconsin Dells.