University of South Alabama - Library Art Galleries

Current Exhibitions


Preservation Through Revitalization:
Reviving the Traditional Arts of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians

University of South Alabama Marx Library
Mary Elizabeth and Charles Bernard Rodning Gallery of Art
October 6, 2015 – December 11, 2015

The USA Marx Library announces the opening of a new exhibit, Preservation Through Revitalization: Reviving the Traditional Arts of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, which will be on display through December 11, 2015. The exhibit was coordinated and organized by Robert G. Thrower, who is the Poarch Creek Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO). The display offers viewers the unique opportunity to witness both the revitalization of traditional arts within the Poarch Creek Indian community and the fusion of contemporary media with traditional themes. Over the years, the Poarch Band of Creeks have offered an array of instructional classes taught by master American Indian artisans, which focus on the production of various forms of traditional Southeastern Indian arts for certified artisans within the Tribal community. The majority of the pieces contained within this exhibit reflect the variety of work produced though these classes.

Instructors provided through the Calvin McGhee Cultural Management Authority have included Margaret Baggett, Ruth Hogan, Betsy Gilbert Irwin, Melvin Manning, Jr., Jay McGirt, Doug Rogers, Whitney Smedley, Mary Smith, Wanda Sylestine, and Dan Townsend. Classes have been offered in shell carving, Historic Creek Indian clothing, Southeastern “puckertoe” moccasin manufacture, various forms of Creek basketry production, pottery, beadwork, and Southeastern patchwork. All artwork displayed within this show is the work of artisans certified under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-644).

It is the hope of the Poarch Creeks Honorable Tribal Chair Stephanie Bryan, the Poarch Creek Tribal Council, the Calvin McGhee Cultural Management Authority, Dr. Karla Martin, Dr. Philip Carr, and THPO Robert Thrower that this exhibit will spark a renewed interest in the revitalization and continuation of the traditional arts. Through the newly formed Native American Studies Program at the University of South Alabama, in partnership with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, this exhibit is one example of the educational opportunities that will be offered through the Native American Studies Program in the future.

The exhibit is being shown in the Mary Elizabeth and Charles Bernard Rodning Gallery of Art on the third floor of the Marx Library. The exhibition is free and open to the public during regular Library hours. Questions regarding this display may be directed to Margaret Baggett, Poarch Creek Traditional Arts Demonstrator, at 251-253-9045.


University of South Alabama - Mobile, Alabama 36688-0002 (251) 460-6101
Date last changed: November 9, 2015