The Virtual Coe Being together while being apart....
July 3, 2020
My most rewarding experience...

Among the friends I made in searching out Northern Woodlands basket makers, one of the nicest personalities I encountered was the late Theresa Neptune Gardner.

This American flag basket was made for me by Theresa and shipped to me as a gift for helping her receive a fellowship award in 1996 [Individual Artist Fellowship from the Maine Arts Commission for her handiwork in traditional fancy basket making].

As I remember, in exchange for this patriot basket I sent her a gift box, at her request from the Southwest. My contact with the Neptune sisters remains my most rewarding experiences during my years collecting in the Northeast. —Ralph T. Coe

To learn more about this piece and the history of basketry in the United States, click here .

Theresa Neptune Gardner (Sipayik Passamaquoddy Reservation, Maine), Lidded Container , 1997-1998. Wicker, dyed and undyed ash splints, 4 x 8.125 x 7 in. (10.2 x 20.6 x 17.8 cm). NA0045

With a few minutes of handling...

I see this coin purse most days when I am at work, and it has become one of my favorite purses in the collection. I don’t think I ever opened it, nor really spent time with it until recently. After a few minutes of handling and admiring the buckskin lining, it became clear to me what it made me nostalgic for: powwows.

—Samantha Tracy, Collections Manager at the Coe
Based in Cherokee, North Carolina, this purse is from Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc .. founded in 1946 with the goal of promoting authentic Cherokee arts and crafts with the majority of the work coming from Eastern Band of Cherokee members. Visitors will find top-quality, handmade Cherokee craft-baskets, pottery, woodcarving, bead work, jewelry, masks, dolls, and other items of Cherokee traditional art.

Qualla Arts and Crafts is one of the oldest Native American cooperatives in the United States that provides a place for Cherokee artists to market their creations. It also encourages the preservation of the many craft traditions, and promotes traditional artists and their work. The “co-op” attracts collectors from all over the world. When items are sold, they are tagged with a certificate of authenticity, which this coin purse has.

To learn more about this piece and Samantha's thoughts about it, click here
Unknown (Arapaho, Plains, United States), Purse , n.d. Beads, buckskin, 3.25 x 5.75 x 1 in. (8.2 x 14.6 x 2.54 cm). NA1054.

The most recent Collections Spotlight event took place on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 with Tahnee Ahtoneharjo-Growingthunder.

Tahnee Ahtoneharjo-Growingthunder (Kiowa / Mvskoki / Seminole) is the director of the Kiowa Tribal Museum and a beadwork and textile artist based in Oklahoma. Previously she served as a curator for the Oklahoma History Center. She is an alumna of Harvard Extension School and the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Collections Spotlight , a program developed in partnership with  First American Art Magazine , is a free interactive, online discussion that brings together the public, scholars, and Native artists who select artworks from the Coe’s collection to interpret and discuss.

To view, click here .

Photo by Jason S. Ordaz

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The Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts is a private operating 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent of the Internal Revenue Code. Please donate online or mail checks to the Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts, 1590 B Pacheco Street, Santa Fe, NM 87505. Your support creates connection. Thank you.

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