A Contemporary Indigenous Artists Invitational

April 21 – June 17, 2017













April 21–June 17, 2017

Friday, April 21 at 5-7pm

Saturday, May 20 at 6pm
Sally Black, Gloria Emerson, Emmi Whitehorse
$10 suggested donation

June 10-11, 9am-4pm
Encaustics with Michael Billie
$220 Members / $250 Non-Members + $20 Materials fee paid to the instructor

Photography of the opening reception provided by Carlotta Cisternas.  Visit Carlotta’s website to learn more about her work.

Exploration Beyond Tradition is an exhibit of artwork by nationally and internationally renowned contemporary Indigenous artists curated by Michael Billie.  Native artwork is all too often represented as craft or ceremonial objects.  This exhibit will survey the ways in which Native artists are moving beyond traditional approaches of art making with current art practices, and taking part in the discourse of contemporary art.



Michael Billie is a Navajo encaustic artist living and teaching in Farmington, NM. Michael has been working in encaustic for a decade. He has taught workshops around the Four Corners area including the Durango Arts Center. Michael also teaches encaustic to students and adults in and around New Mexico and Colorado area, helping to expand creativity and awareness about the encaustic medium.

Michael has won several awards in juried shows. His most recent award was from the International Encaustic Association. The IEA 2016 La Vendeenne Award was presented to Michael for his excellence in Innovation.

DAC is grateful for the generous support of our exhibit sponsors who enable culturally innovative programs to exist in our community. The premier sponsor of Exploration Beyond Tradition is San Juan Regional Medical Center’s Cardiac and Urology Departments.


Exploration Beyond Tradition is also made possible by 2017 Exhibits Season Sponsors: Friends of the Gallery, Mary Lyn and Richard Ballantine, Don and Judy Hayes, Russell EngineeringOxford Asset Management and New Face Productions.  This exhibit also received generous in-kind support from the Leland House and Rochester Hotel, enabling artists Sally Black and Gloria Emerson to stay in Durango while giving special free community artist lectures.

Barbara Conrad Gallery Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday
10am – 5pm

Entry to Durango Arts Center galleries is always free.  The galleries are closed to the public on Sundays and Mondays.


DGO Magazine
DGO Magazineby Patty Templeton | April 19, 2017
Free with the brush: Neal Ambrose-Smith talks contemporary Native American art

Native American art is more than crafts and ceremonial objects. On Friday, April 21, “Exploration Beyond Tradition” begins at the Durango Arts Center, 802 East 2nd Ave., with hopes that art can reflect how Native Americans live in a contemporary world and make contemporary work to reflect that.

Durango Telegraph
Durango Telegraphby Stew Mosberg | April 20, 2017
As curated by Farmington painter and photographer Michael Billie, the exhibition goes beyond the culturally recognized indigenous crafts of weaving, pottery and bead work. For the show, Native American artists from around the country were invited to exhibit their extraordinary talent.
Durango Herald
Durango Heraldby Judith Reynolds | June 2, 2017
Beyond tradition at DAC
Contemporary indigenous art raises issues at Arts Center

The big exhibit currently at the Durango Arts Center pulls together wildly disparate artworks. “Exploration Beyond Tradition” is an unusual group show that makes its own sense – if you give it some time.

Encaustics Workshop

with Michael Billie
Saturday-Sunday, June 10 & 11 | 9am-4pm
$220 Members / $250 Non-Members + $20 Materials fee paid to the instructor

Eco-printing or sometimes called eco-bundling will be taught using a variety of materials.  Eco-printing, whether on fabric or paper, is the transfer of pigments from natural plant materials in the form of mark-making. This process uses no synthetic chemicals. Students will be wrapping their own silk bundle and depending on what they put in them, the results will be unique and interesting. While the bundles are soaking, a paper demonstration of eco-printing will be given.

The eco-printed silks will be used as one of the materials in exploring in encaustic.

Whether you are new to encaustic or have had encaustic experience – working with the designs you have created will energize your creativity.

Open time will be used to experiment with the process. Hand-outs of the process will be available. There will be a 30 minute clean-up at 3, taking the class to 3:30. No prior experience necessary in eco-printing or in encaustic application. All materials will be supplied.  There will be no scheduled time taken for lunch, bring snacks and take breaks when you need to.

Work clothes or an apron is suggested.

Limited to 8 people.

N.A.T.I.V.E. Artists’ Studio Tour

Click image above to download the brochure.

Saturday, July 8 | 7am-6pm
Space is limited, reserve your seat now by emailing Rachel Nawrocki or calling, (505) 326-4245.

Capacity Builders’ Navajo Artists Technology Innovation & Vision Enterprise (N.A.T.I.V.E.) invites you to join us for a unique and rare opportunity to tour the studios of preeminent and emerging Navajo and Hopi artists. Personally meet eight artists, learn about their work, their processes, what inspires them, and the magical spaces in which they create.

There is no charge for this event, but SPACE IS LIMITED. Capacity Builders has reserved an 8-passenger luxury shuttle van to transport those taking our tour from studio to studio.

Meals, snacks, and beverages will be provided throughout the tour.

The shuttle will leave from the Westside Plaza parking lot at 1409 W Aztec Blvd, Aztec, NM 87410.