Heritage Festival 2021

Summer Heritage Festival returns, and is more inclusive

The Museum of Northern Arizona will again host the annual art festival this year, welcoming any Native artists from the Colorado Plateau region

[Flagstaff] The Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) is pleased to announce that the Heritage Festival and Native Art Market will take place in July 2021, after a one year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Supporting artists has been and continues to be incredibly important to MNA, and the annual summer festivals were originally created to provide an economic opportunity for Native artists. MNA has worked closely with artists from the Hopi tribe since 1930, when the museum held the first Hopi Craftsmen Show to give artists the chance to sell their unique artwork for a fair price. By 1932 a festival was added for Navajo artists. In 1987, MNA created a festival for Zuni artists. Decades went by with great success. Artists were able to earn profit on their own work while educating the community about their own culture. In return community members were able to purchase unique pieces of artwork while learning more about the cultures of the Colorado Plateau. With the pandemic year of 2020, the museum had to make the heartbreaking decision to cancel the art festival. The festival had only been canceled once before, during World War II.

Covid-19 has been a tragic time for millions of people residing in the United States, and it hit the Native American populations particularly hard. People lost jobs, homes, loved ones, and more. In the Navajo Nation alone, 1,204 people lost their lives due to Covid-19. Last year’s unpredictability caused many people to lose their source of income, and artists who relied on festivals and person-to-person interaction to promote their work had to find creative new ways to promote themselves online, or lose out on income. Without the festivals, Native artists lost an important interaction with the public and source of art patrons. The Museum of Northern Arizona recognizes that now more than ever, it is important to find a safe way to host the summer festival.

Instead of hosting three separate festivals, each confined to one weekend, the Museum of Northern Arizona will host a combined month-long celebration of all the Native cultures of the Colorado Plateau. The festival  will be split into three branches: the art market, main stage performances, and humanities based presentations.

A different group of artists will be featured each weekend, providing opportunities for more artists while still keeping the number of people within safe guidelines and ample space provided for social distancing.

The art festival will be hosted on the following dates:

  • July 2nd- 4th
  • July 9th- 10th
  • July 16th- 18th
  • July 23rd- 25th

The art market will be welcoming artists not only from the Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni tribe but also from any Native artists from tribes in the Colorado Plateau region, including members of the Acoma, Havasupai, Hualapai, Yavapai-Apache, and other Northern Apache tribes.  The artists applications are available now at the musnaz.org or by emailing ddescheny@musnaz.org. This portion of the festival will be in-person. Masks are mandatory and hand sanitizer will be provided by each vendor. The art market will be open on the weekends only, advance ticketing is required. Please see the museum website for ticketing information. https://musnaz.org/

The main stage performances will be a collection of sporadic live stage performances. These performances will also be live streamed through the Museum of Northern Arizona’s Facebook Page. To get more information on the music performances, please follow the Museum of Northern Arizona’s Facebook page or check on the website. https://www.facebook.com/musnaz

For the people who are unable to attend the in-person event, the Museum of Northern Arizona will host virtual only presentations. These will be held on the Facebook Page as well throughout the weekdays of the month of July.

As the situation surrounding Covid-19 remains unpredictable, the main priority is to safeguard the well-being of artists, visitors, volunteers, and staff. The museum staff will continue to closely monitor the situation and follow guidelines from the CDC as well as the Arizona Department of Health and Safety. Additions, adjustments, or cancelations will be conducted if necessary.

The Museum of Northern Arizona’s address is 3101 N Fort Valley Rd Flagstaff, AZ 86001. Located two miles from downtown Flagstaff along scenic Highway 180 to Grand Canyon National Park. If there are any questions please call 928-774-5213.

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High-resolution photos available upon request. Interviews of artists available upon request.

About the Museum of Northern Arizona:  Founded in 1928, the mission of the Museum of Northern Arizona is to inspire a sense of love and responsibility for the beauty and diversity of the Colorado Plateau through collecting, studying, interpreting, and preserving the region’s natural and cultural heritage. MNA works in collaboration with native peoples of the Southwest to protect and foster the cultures, traditions, and beliefs of the Colorado Plateau by encouraging artistic expression and supporting, empowering, and educating visitors about the region’s art and cultures. The Museum, located at 3101 N. Ft. Valley Rd. in Flagstaff, is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.