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Gallery explores the center of the universe

 (Click the arrows on the left and right sides of the photos to change slides in the gallery.)

By Abi Lesmeister. Photos by Saul Rodriguez.

The word Chemeketa means a place of gathering.

For thousands of years, Celilo Falls was a place of gathering for many Native American cultures. It was considered the center of the universe because it was the essential location of trade and commerce for the area.

The Gretchen Schuette Art Gallery recently made an all-out effort to put this Native American culture on display for students and community members.

Kay Bunnenberg-Boehmer, the coordinator of the gallery, said that this art exhibit “gives exposure [to the Native American culture].”

The Center of the Universe art exhibit included two different angles: the art exhibit itself, which featured the works of Native American artists from the Pacific Northwest, and the events that featured some of these artists.The art exhibit was held in the Gretchen Schuette Art Gallery at the Chemeketa Community College Salem campus from April 5 to May 5.

The first event took place on April 5 and featured artist Pat Courtney Gold, who opened with an artist talk. Gold is a weaver who brings traditional and contemporary views. According to Gold’s website, her work is exhibited nationally, in Washington DC, and Harvard University, and also internationally, in England, New Zealand, and Canada.

The second event took place on April 11 and featured artist Ed Edmo, who did some traditional storytelling. Edmo is known for his storytellings and lectures, and plays a coyote spirit on the popular show Portlandia. He has also written plays and narrated “Children of the Raven” for the Eugene Ballet Co.

The last event that took place on May 3. Artist Ka’ila Farrell-Smith lead an event where participants created healing flags that are displayed around campus. Farrell-Smith is a painter, weaver, and muralist who has been exhibited nationally in Oregon, Washington, Illinois, and Montana, and internationally in Italy.

The Center of the Universe celebrated a new perspective of appreciation and understanding of the Native American culture. Bunnenberg-Boehmer said the importance of an event like this is to “remember something we may have forgotten or expand on [the] knowledge that we have.”