The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art hosts the Indian Market Festival each year. Throughout the two-day festival, guests enjoy the opportunity to visit tents hosting more than 140 Native American artists and performers from across the country. The vendors sell a variety of art: from jewelry to paintings and sculptures, there’s something to capture everyone’s attention!
Our Food for Thought Exhibit was stationed inside the museum (yes, in the air conditioning!) and hundreds of people were able to stop by on their way to and from the outdoor market. I was elated to witness our story silo flourish with conversation and stories about why food matters to Hoosier families, traditions and individuals.
A few quick anecdotes include:
Denise explained the ways she grew to know, understand, use and love Hoosier food after being raised in an Italian family. Filled with joy and enthusiasm, Marie hugged our Hoosier Cabinet because it reminded her of her childhood and grandmother. Wanda described what it was like to pick potatoes and the realities of making a living in an agricultural Indiana town. And Patty described falling in love with spicy food after visiting an Indianapolis chili cook-off.
Something that differentiated the Eiteljorg from other adventures, thus far, was the variety of visitors. Six individuals from six countries introduced themselves, bringing along a very new perspective on Hoosier food. This was in addition to many age groups, races and a wide spectrum of interests in food-related topics. It’s fascinating to be a part of a project that so intimately relates to each individual on a personal basis. In the midst of our necessity to eat, an overwhelming cultural significance has bloomed, and in many ways, food has become something far greater than simply physical nourishment; it’s a common ground for those we love, a comforting force within changes and an opportunity for social discourse.
Some visitors to our traveling exhibit passionately express their opinions or thoughts on food. While the Humanities Council takes a neutral stance in order to support and embrace all Hoosiers’ points-of-view, the diversity of opinions, problems and proposed solutions truly excites me. I believe that open dialogue and active listening are the first steps in learning from one another and nurturing our communities most effectively.
Thanks again to all of our visitors and Eiteljorg staff for making this such an enriching experience!