Eiteljorg Tells The “Hole” Story Of An American Treasure

The Grand Canyonwhich opens Saturday, March 26, at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, tells a thrilling and inspiring story that has been 6 million years in the making. The Canyon is a place of extraordinary natural beauty, carved by the Colorado River over millennia. Diverse communities of indigenous people have called it home for thousands of years and it has inspired generations of tourists, explorers and artists. The exhibition uses Native and Western art and artifacts, artist presentations, educational programs, film, sounds of the Canyon and storytelling to capture the wonders of an American treasure that attracts more than 5 million visitors each year.

“The Grand Canyon is a revered icon of the American West,” says John Vanausdall, Eiteljorg president and CEO.  “But its interconnected natural and human histories are perhaps lesser known. The Grand Canyon exhibit explores the extraordinary natural beauty and delicate ecosystem of this remarkable landmark and gives visitors a view that can only be topped by visiting the Canyon itself.”

In the exhibition, art and artifacts from leading public collections illustrate stories of exploration, tourism and survival in the unusual environments of the Canyon. Major lenders include the National Park Service, the BNSF Railway and private collectors. Minerals, fossils and other objects tell the story of the Canyon’s development. Pottery, paintings, basketry, weavings and other art forms by Hopi, Navajo, Havasupai, Hualapai and artists from other indigenous cultures demonstrate the long history of people living in the region. Other elements include photography by Ansel Adams; paintings by Thomas Moran, William Henry Holmes and other artists; a life vest worn by an early river runner following the Colorado River; other objects used to survive in the canyon and objects from hotels and businesses providing services to visitors to the canyon are included.  Works by more contemporary artists such as Wilson Hurley, Curt Walters, Peter Nisbet and others are also featured. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and historic uniforms and other objects help to tell this story. On weekends during the exhibition, a special Eiteljorg ranger will be in the gallery to share stories with visitors.

Additionally, visitors to the exhibit can learn about successes in preservation and conservation in the Canyon, as well as the ways in which people have negatively impacted the Canyon’s environment.

A party to celebrate the exhibit’s opening will be held at the Eiteljorg at 6 p.m., Friday, March 25, and is open to the public.

March 26 – Exhibit Opening (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)


  • Lecture and gallery talk by Curt Walters, world-renowned plein air impressionist painter heralded by Art of the West magazine as “the greatest living Grand Canyon artist”
  • Geology gallery talk with Dr. Erika Elswick, Director, Analytical Geochemistry Lab at IU Bloomington
  • Native American Social Round Dance (participation open to all)
  • Art-making activities

Home to indigenous people for thousands of years, the Grand Canyon has been an inspiration to generations of tourists, explorers, and artists. It is a national park and world heritage site that draws millions of visitors each year. The Grand Canyon exhibition’s programming days will reflect a family vacation/photography theme.  With the exception of opening day, exhibition programming will take place the second Saturday of each month.

Monthly programming (2nd Saturdays) (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)


  • Public talks with artists, including painter Peter Nisbet
  • Film showing of Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk (in collaboration with the IMAX at the Indiana State Museum
  • Performance of the Grand Canyon Suite by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
  • Curator talks
  • Art-making activities
  • Studio activities

On-going exhibition programming

  • Junior Ranger program
  • “Roaming Ranger” guide telling stories of the Canyon
  • Visitor comment wall
  • In-gallery photo op location

Event times and other details can be found on the museum’s calendar at eiteljorg.org. The hashtag #EJGrandCanyon will be used on social media to share exhibition and programming information.

The exhibition runs through Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016.

Eli Lilly & Company Foundation; The Capital Group Companies, home of the American Fund; and Ice Miller are the exhibition’s lead sponsors.

About the Eiteljorg
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the indigenous peoples of North America. The Eiteljorg is located in Downtown Indianapolis’ White River State Park, at 500 West Washington, Indianapolis, IN  46204. For general information about the museum and to learn more about exhibits and events, call 317.636.WEST (9378) or visit www.eiteljorg.org.

– See more at: http://www.eiteljorg.org/about/media/2016/03/07/eiteljorg-tells-the-hole-story-of-an-american-treasure#sthash.7CZQhazD.dpuf

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