The Americas: Indigenous Art of the Ancient and Contemporary
January 18- April 26, 2020

Current Exhibition

January 18, 2020- April 26, 2020

The Americas: Indigenous Art of the Ancient and Contemporary

The exhibition will present the diverse and fascinating stories of the cultures of North, Central, and South America. The artwork of the Americas will illuminate the extraordinary richness of the indigenous art of the western hemisphere. Pieces from a diverse background of cultures, regions, and periods will showcase the profound beauty and creativity and craftsmanship expressed by artists of the American continents.

Pre-Columbian Art

There is  a concentration on Pre-Columbian art never seen before at PFAC. Pre-Columbian art refers to the visual arts of the indigenous peoples of North, Central and South America before the late 15th century and encompasses art and artifacts created by such storied cultures as the Olmec, Maya, Inca, and Aztec.

To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions

Of the many North American Indian expressive art forms, perhaps one of the least well known is quiltmaking. This exhibition celebrates quilting within diverse communities and pays homage to the artists who have expressed their cultural heritage and creativity through this art. It examines how quilts and quilting-the ceremonies surrounding them, the society of the artists who make them, and the passing on of traditions through quilts- bind neighbors and families within and across generations.

Quiltmaking in Native communities was first learned through contact with Euro-Americans. Native peoples became adept at quilting and began to use quilts for purposes unique to their own cultures. Quilts have been used as bed and shelter coverings, infants’ swing cradles, weather insulation, and as soft places to sit on the ground. In some communities, quilts play important roles in tribal ceremonies, such as in the honoring of individuals and as fund-raisers. Native quilters get their design ideas from many sources. Some quilters use the design motifs of their specific tribe or clan or use patterns and colors reflecting close spiritual ties to the natural world.

This traveling exhibition is a Michigan State University Museum, Michigan Traditional Arts Program activity supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, Jeffrey and Kitty Cole, and the MSU Office of the Provost

MSU American Indian Pow Wow Portraits: Photographs by Douglas Elbinger

Historically, photographers have made posed, studio portraits of American Indians dressed in traditional clothing. These historical photographs provide an important record of aspects of tribal history. However, these portraits do not always accurately reflect information about the individual or the culture. The photographs within this exhibition offer a rare opportunity to see American Indians dressed in contemporary traditional regalia. Photographer Douglas Elbinger has been recognized as a leading source for the copy and restoration of historic photographs. He has worked with the Smithsonian Institution and the National Archives, as well as many other museums and historic societies across the country.

This exhibition was coordinated by the Michigan Traditional Arts Program at the Michigan State University Museum with the collaboration and support of the MSU Native American Institute; MSU American Heritage Pow Wow Host Committee; Nokomis American Indian Cultural Learning Center; Michigan Festival, Inc. volunteers; Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI); Fellows of the 1993 NMAI/MSU Museum’s American Indian Training Institute at the MSU Museum; Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs; Michigan State University Extension Service; Elizabeth Halsted Endowment for Traveling Exhibitions; and Douglas Elbinger of Elbinger Studios, Lansing, Michigan.

Contemporary Views

The Peninsula Fine Arts Center surveys contemporary Native American artists who use their heritage as part of their artwork.  These artists have utilized traditional Native American art forms but incorporated modern culture into their work.

Juried Exhibitions and Cut, Fold and Handmade: The Art of Paper

Genesis 2020: College Student Juried Exhibition

April 5-26- Canceled for 2020


Prefaces 2020: High School Student Juried Exhibition

May 3 – 31- Canceled for 2020


May 3- June 12, 2020  (Ferguson &  Ranhorne Galleries)

Cut, Fold, and Handmade: The Art of Paper – Ferguson & Ranhorne Galleries

Even as we move to digitized images and social media, our love affair with paper art has by no means diminished over the years. Folded into origami and kirigami, laser-cut, layered and made into sculptures, paper artists can transform a humble sheet of paper into a spectacular piece of artwork. Accessible to all, paper endures as a medium to make notes, lists, memos, letters, ads, and artwork— once the most intimate means of communication, and the most readily discarded.

Artists include Gunjan Aylawadi, Roberto Benavidez, Ashley Chiang, Jaynie Crimmins, Brian Dettmer, John Ed De Vera, Amy Genser, Rich Gray, Judith + Rolfe, Nikki McClure, Tiffany Miller Russell, Matthew Shlian, Eric Standley, Michael Velliquette and Nancy Winn.