The Vilcek Foundation partners with Native American-Focused

NEW YORK, May 24, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Vilcek Foundation has partnered with the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to develop a new exhibit, Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery. The exhibit opens July 31, 2022 at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture located on the traditional lands of the Tewa people, O’gah’poh geh Owingeh (White Shell Water Place), or Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery was organized by the Pueblo Pottery Collective, a group of more than 60 Native American community members gathered from the 22 Pueblo communities of the southwest. The Collective was created in 2019 specifically to develop an exhibit that centers Native American voices in the conservation and presentation of Native American art. The collective is a diverse group that includes potters, designers, writers, poets, community leaders and museum professionals. A small number of non-Pueblo museum professionals worked as facilitators and writers for this project and are also part of the collective.

Anchored in clay emphasizes the underlying, multifaceted and nuanced understanding that the Pueblo Indians of the American Southwest have of one of the most ubiquitous and resilient forms of our material culture – pottery,” writes curator Joseph Aguilar. “Historical memories and our understanding of pottery and other cultural heritages amount to a form of Indigenous intellect – a physical, spiritual, and intellectual worldview that is inextricably linked to land, people, and history.

Vilcek Foundation President Rick Kinsel worked with curator Emily Schuchardt Navratil and Seamus McKillop on coordinating the exhibition in partnership with Elysia Poon, director of the Indian Arts Research Center at SAR, and with the curators communities of the Pueblo Pottery Collective.

Kinsel has led the development of the foundation’s Native American pottery collection since 2000; it describes the development of Anchored in clay as a transformative experience. “Our foundation is based in New York City, on the unceded land of the Lenape people, and we recognize that the sovereignty of Native American peoples is a current and ongoing concern,” he says. “By engaging curators from Native American communities in the development of this exhibit, we hope to provide a model for other cultural institutions in supporting the autonomy and independence of Native American nations.”

Anchored in clay is not just a project that has been developed over three years of hard work,” says Poon. “It is the result of years – and in some cases, decades – of relationships and trust built between staff, community curators and each other. I hope we have done justice to the brilliant minds and experiences that have been so generously shared throughout this project.”

Following the exhibition at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery will travel through 2025, beginning with a joint presentation in New York by the Vilcek Foundation and the Metropolitan Museum of Art from July 13, 2023 to June 4, 2024. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Potteryavailable from Merrell Publishers.

Learn more about the exhibition: Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery

The Vilcek Foundation

The Vilcek Foundation raises awareness of the contributions of immigrants to the United States and promotes appreciation of the arts and sciences. The foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia. The foundation’s mission was inspired by the couple’s respective careers in biomedical sciences and art history. Since 2000, the foundation has awarded more than $6.4 million in awards to foreign-born individuals and supported organizations with more than $5.6 million in grants.

The Vilcek Foundation is a privately operating foundation, a nonprofit organization exempt from federal income tax under IRS section 501(c)(3). To learn more, visit


Elizabeth Boylan
Communications Manager
The Vilcek Foundation
(212) 472-2500
[email protected]

Related Images

Image 1: Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery

Image from the exhibit “Grounded in Clay: The Spirit of Pueblo Pottery”

Image 2: Logo of the Vilcek Foundation

Vilcek Foundation Logo

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