MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 2, 2012

Five Civilized Tribes Museum kicks off Masters Art Show


— The opening-night awards reception for the 2012 Masters Art Show is set for 7 p.m. tonight in the Five Civilized Tribes Museum art gallery.

This year’s show will be dedicated to Master Artist Bill Rabbit, who died earlier this year. Rabbit spent his art career promoting American Indian art, according to a media release. He was a self-taught jeweler and painter. Influenced by all artists, he captured something of their spirit through experimentation, out of admiration for the skies, colors and forms.

He became a Master Artist at the museum in 1980.

When asked to comment about his artwork and life, he said “Life has been kind to me. I’m thankful I’ve had the opportunity to see the things I’ve seen and do the things I’ve done. But if I died tomorrow, I would feel so blessed and I hope God puts me in charge of painting rainbows.”

To become a Master Artist of the Five Civilized Tribes Museum, an artist must meet strict requirements. Mainly, the artist must have devoted his or her art career to preserving the culture and history of Five Tribes — Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole.

Awards will be given in three categories: Best of Show, Indian Heritage and Spirit of Oklahoma. The artists are judged on their ability to portray the spirit of the Woodland Indians.

The Masters Art Show opens tonight and continues through the month at the Five Civilized Tribes Museum, 1101 Honor Heights Drive.

Sponsors for this year’s show are Martha Griffin, MGW Enterprises and a matching grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Information: (918) 683-1701, www.fivetribes.org, or 5civilizedtribes@sbcglobal.net.