The Red Earth Art Center will celebrate the Christmas season with a decidedly Native twist this year when Treefest opens free to the public for an eight-week run November 13 through January 5, 2018 in downtown Oklahoma City.
Red Earth Treefest features 20 Native Tribes from throughout Oklahoma invited to participate in the annual holiday event by creating handmade ornaments and art objects made to highlight their distinctive tribal culture. The exhibition highlights the diverse Native cultures that make Oklahoma Unique.
“Treefest is our family-friendly Christmas gift to the state. Last year we welcomed over 2,000 guests during our annual event - and the public loved it,” said Teri Stanek, president of the Red Earth board of directors. “We drew people from all over including a ‘Mystery Tour’ of 100 people from Abilene, TX.”
Handcrafted ornaments on the Christmas trees are as diverse as the tribes of Oklahoma. Birch bark canoes adorn the Citizen Potawatomi purple clad tree synonymous with their Great Lakes culture; while intricately painted ponies are featured on the Comanche tree to celebrate their legacy as the “Lords of the Plains.”
Oklahoma Native Tribes participating in the 2017 Treefest include the Absentee Shawnee, Caddo, Cherokee, Cheyenne & Arapaho, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Citizen Potawatomi, Comanche, Delaware, Kaw, Muscogee (Creek), Osage, Sac & Fox, Seminole, Kiowa, Otoe Missouria, and Pawnee. Each tribal organization has been hard at work for several months creating their handmade ornaments with exhibit copy explaining how each ornament tells their cultural story.
Thirty-nine Native tribes are headquartered in Oklahoma, giving the state more tribal headquarters than any other. Nearly every tribe Oklahoma tribe has homelands in other parts of the country – from the Pacific Northwest to the Florida Everglades – creating a diverse tribal palette unique to Oklahoma.
Additional trees include the Red Earth docent tree with hundreds of handmade ornaments including beaded corn, dreamcatchers, mini tipis, drums and parfleche bags; and a tree featuring ornaments created by Oklahoma Native artists available for sale.
“We are thrilled to carry on this Christmas tradition for the people of Oklahoma,” said Stanek. “I know our guests will thoroughly enjoy our beautiful display of Christmas trees adorned with ornaments that represent our tribal cultures so well.”
Red Earth Treefest is presented free to the public 10-5 pm Monday through Friday Nov. 13 through Jan.5, 2018. A special Open House is scheduled Saturday, Dec. 9 from 10-3 pm with hot wassail, holiday treats and Christmas shopping.
Red Earth Art Center is located at 6 Santa Fe Plaza next to the historic Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. Visit www.RedEarth.org or call (405) 427-5228 for additional information. Red Earth, Inc. is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote the rich traditions of American Indian arts and cultures through education, a premier festival, a museum and fine art markets.
Sponsors of Red Earth Treefest include the Oklahoma Arts Council, Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau, Allied Arts and Oklahoma’s News 4.