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Ceremonial art show to award $100K

Ceremonial art show to award $100K


As the Gallup Intertribal Indian Ceremonial is gearing up for its centennial celebration at Red Rock Park (Aug. 4 to 10), the Fine Art Exhibit is inviting Native American artists far and wide to enter this year’s in-person juried art show, scheduled Wednesday through Saturday (Aug. 10 to 14).

A total of $100,000 is set aside for awards this year with $10,000 for the best of show winner, which is the highest amount ever paid by Ceremonial to an artist.

“We’re expecting record entries,” said Gallup Ceremonial Board President Kyle Tom.

“This is about the people, the history, the community – there’s money up for grabs,” said Tom. “Please bring your pieces, win some money, sell your art.”

“We’ve pulled all of the amounts up as much as we could,” said art exhibit volunteer coordinator Joyce Graves. “We’re trying to give everybody a little bit of the ‘prize pie.’”

Tom said the higher payouts are thanks to the contributions of hundreds of “Centennial Club” members who have donated to Ceremonial since about 2017 in order to make the 100th anniversary a banner year for artists.

“When we started planning this five years ago, a lot of those plans fell in place,” said Ceremonial volunteer coordinator and former Board President Dudley Byerley. “Our community has stood up and given us twice the money they’ve ever given because Ceremonial belongs to this community.”

Opening night preview

The Fine Art Exhibit will open with the annual “Gallup’s Night Out” wine gala/art preview at Red Rock Park’s exhibit hall on Wednesday, Aug. 10, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“People can come in and view and purchase art and enjoy the night,” said Graves.

She said the art awards and prizes are announced with the opening of the art show, which makes it all the more exciting.

“When people come in, the ribbons will already be on the artist’s work that have prizes,” she said.

Byerley, who is coordinating the wine gala, said there will be live music by David Rosales and the Silver Country Band, hors d’oeuvres provided by Fire Rock Navajo Casino catering, plus door prizes, and, of course, wine tasting.

“We expect it to be huge!” said Byerley. “It’s fun get-together. People dress up nice and they come out and enjoy the camaraderie. Just come out and have a good time and enjoy the art show!”

Tickets for the wine gala are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. The event is partially sponsored by Rico Motor Company.

“It’s a great night to ‘see and be seen,’” said Tom. “It is all about the art so we encourage everybody to come.”

Art submissions

Artist check-in for the Ceremonial Fine Art Exhibit will happen the prior weekend on Friday, Aug. 5, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 6, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Graves recommends people enter their artwork on Friday or first thing Saturday morning to get ahead of the crowd they are expecting.

The “premium book” for the show, which contains all of the information and requirements for art submissions, including art classes and categories, is available online or may be picked up at the Ceremonial office in Gallup, said Tom.

“We are always looking forward to the art show,” said Graves. “We love seeing our artists come back every year and all the pieces that they enter. We are looking forward to seeing what artists will bring us this year.”

There is no limit to the amount of art pieces that individual artists can submit. However, they must keep their entries to three per art category.

“Every single year, the artists bring us their very best,” said Tom. “This year, with the prestige of the 100th anniversary, we’re pretty excited to see what’s going to be entered.”

Tom said last year’s best of show piece sold for $8,000 and won a $6,000 prize and this year ups the ante.

“We want to see artists win that money,” said Tom. “Times are tough right now so record payouts can go a long way.”

There is no entry fee required if artists will be selling their pieces at the show. If they want to just display their work, there is a $25 “not-for-sale” fee.

The Ceremonial Fine Art Exhibit keeps 25% of artists sales, which goes directly to funding the cost of putting on the show.

Graves is also looking for a few volunteers to join the art exhibit’s production crew from Aug. 5 to 15.

She said there are different shifts available to accommodate people’s schedules.

“There are evening shifts, weekend shifts,” said Graves.

Volunteers receive a shift meal, free parking and a 100th anniversary commemorative pin.

All volunteer meals are provided by Camille’s Sidewalk Cafe, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell.

Those interested in volunteering can contact Graves directly at 505-863-3075 or

This year’s Ceremonial poster art is titled “Shawl Dance” by Diné painter Richard Kee Yazzie.

And 100th anniversary posters and T-shirts will be sold at the opening night gala.

Byerley thanked the local business community and McKinley County Commissioners for their generous support for this year’s Centennial celebration.

“They stepped up big-time,” he said. “This is for our people. It was meant to be a celebration of a hundred years of history.”

The Ceremonial office is located in Gallup at 285 S. Boardman, Suite A, at 505-863-3896 or or

About The Author

Rima Krisst

Reporter and photojournalist Rima Krisst reported for the Navajo Times from July 2018 to October 2022. She covered Arts and Culture and Government Affairs beats.Before joining the editorial team at the Times, Krisst worked in various capacities in the areas of communications, public relations, marketing and Indian Affairs policy on behalf of the Tribes, Nations and Pueblos of New Mexico. Among her posts, she served as Director of PR and Communications for the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department under Governor Bill Richardson, Healthcare Outreach and Education Manager for the Eight Northern Pueblos, Tribal Tourism Liaison for the City of Santa Fe, and Marketing Projects Coordinator for Santa Fe Indian Market. As a writer and photographer, she has also worked independently as a contractor on many special projects, and her work has been published in magazines. Krisst earned her B.S. in Business Administration/Finance from the University of Connecticut.


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