Celebrate Native Culture – Explore the Work of Cherokee Artists
Bears Project – Featuring Cherokee Artists within the Qualla Boundary
The Bears Project started in 2005, because Cherokee wanted to showcase the variety of talented artists within the Qualla Boundary. A committee researched several concepts prior to selecting a bear theme as they wished to produce something that would be culturally significant. Bears are a large part of the Cherokee culture. The culture currently recognizes the Clan Spirits of Bird, Blue, Deer, Long Hair, Paint, Wild Potato, and Wolf. Many Cherokee artists contributed to this project.
Cherokee Heritage Trails Artists – Cherokee Artists Share the Gift of Native Traditions
For the most part, Cherokee artists have learned from their families and community, using materials native to the southern Appalachians and calling on traditions passed down for many generations. They are among the best practitioners of traditional Cherokee culture. With the exception of a few elders who stay close to home, the artists and consultants listed as part of the Cherokee Heritage Trail are willing to travel and present programs about Cherokee arts and culture.
Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual, Inc. – The Oldest Cooperative of Cherokee Artists in North Carolina
The Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc. was formed more than 60 years ago to secure fair prices and provide a year-round market for talented Eastern Band artists. Today, the Qualla Mutual has a reputation among its member-artists for generous support and among collectors for high-quality traditional and contemporary work.
The approximately 300 Cherokee artists that make up the Qualla Mutual create baskets, pottery, wood and stone carved sculpture, beadwork, fine art paintings and more. Many work with age-old materials and techniques; others experiment with new methods and abstract forms.
Entry to the Qualla Mutual is a juried process and restricted to enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which grew from Cherokees who avoided removal west in the 1830s. Qualla Mutual members have won competitions at the Santa Fe Indian Market and demonstrated their skills at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.