MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

March 31, 2013

Cherokee artist uses job as cultural platform

Nelson sees museum’s gift shop as way to connect with public

(Continued)

— Taking her

art abroad

Although she put many art shows on hold since the fire, Nelson did go to a prestigious art show last November — at the Grand Palais in Paris.

“I went with an art group of 14 Native Americans from the U.S.A., Canada,” Nelson said. “The man heading the Native American art group was a friend of mine and he told me to put an entry in for it. It was a juried show, and I was one of the people juried in.”

She said she had to raise the money to send her work and to go to the show, “Salon du Dessin et de la Peinture à L'eau,”  which ran from Nov. 27 to Dec. 2.

“Then I got a sponsor at the last minute, then flew to Dallas to get my passport,” she said. “Being in the show was very humbling. I had no clue it was so huge.”

The show was made up of many delegations, or “salons,” representing Korea, China and other countries.

“They were from all over the world,” she said. “We could take a large piece and a small piece. And I sold the small piece to a lady from Germany.”

The eight-day trip was the first time Nelson had been out of the country. She recalled seeing the Notre Dame cathedral.

“I was thrilled to have had the chance to go,” she said.

Q&A

HOW DID YOU BECOME AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE?

“My parents lived here. I was offered a job. I missed home.”

WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT MUSKOGEE?

“I love it in the spring with all the azaleas in the park. And it’s close to my roots.”

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING IN MUSKOGEE?

Gift shop manager at Five Civilized Tribes Museum; artist.

WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?

“I love to travel, work in the flower beds, watch movies.”

WHAT OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE DO YOU ADMIRE?

Five Civilized Tribes Museum director Mary Robinson. “She works really hard and puts up with a lot of prejudice and criticism. She handles it really well. She’s done a lot for artists.”

WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE THING TO HAPPEN TO YOU IN MUSKOGEE?

“Coming to work here at the museum. I had shown here at shows, but I never imagined working here and meeting so many different people here. I’m a very social person. I get to share history with them.”

HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?

“Pretty quiet, laid back, nice parks, a lot of places to eat.”

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