Art that endures

In Denver, admire ― and buy ― great works by Native American artists

Pierced vase form

"Denver is right on the doorstep of all the great Indian nations in the country," says Jack Lima, owner of the Native American Trading Company. "We're near the northern and southern Plains peoples, and to the south are the Pueblo tribes and the Navajo nation."

Location is why Denver nurtures a thriving Native American art scene, both in its museums and its galleries.

One experience not to miss is the ground-breaking exhibit on ancient peoples that opened earlier this year at the Colorado History Museum. Ancient Voices: Stories of Colorado's Distant Past focuses on work by some of the state's earliest residents ― Paleoindians, Ancient Puebloans, and the Apishapa. Equally impressive are the American Indian collections at the Denver Art Museum. The permanent collection includes 16,000 objects from 100 tribes. Also of note are two current shows, Cheyenne Visions II (Cheyenne art and history) and New Classics (works by emerging artists).

If you're interested in acquiring your own collection, Denver is a good place to start. A block west from the Denver Art Museum is Jack Lima's well-respected Native American Trading Company, a fixture on the gallery scene since 1983. It's noted for Edward S. Curtis photographs from the early 1900s, traditional Navajo weavings, and Pueblo pottery.

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