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Santa Fe, NM - Native Treasures: Indian Arts Festival organizers are pleased to announce the Native Treasures 2010 Living Treasure Award recipient, famed Nambé Pueblo potter Lonnie Vigil. Vigil is credited with transforming the perception of micaceous pottery from utilitarian ware to collectible art.  His elegant and organic forms have earned him wide acclaim and numerous awards, including the Best of Show honor at the 2001 Santa Fe Indian Market and a Dubin Fellow at the School of American Research. 

"Lonnie deserves this recognition," says Ardith Eicher, Co-Chair of Native Treasures.  "His work is innovative and highly collected. Although his pots are constructed in the traditional coil method, his designs are modern and even timeless. For a collector of exceptional contemporary pottery Lonnie is a must and even a highlight of the collection."

In just five short years Native Treasures has emerged as one of the leading Indian art shows in the country.  Almost 200 artists from over 40 tribes and pueblos will showcase their work on Saturday, May 22 and Sunday, May 23, 2010. In addition to supporting talented Native artists, proceeds from Native Treasures are the primary source of exhibit and education funding for the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture.

Vigil will be honored at the Native Treasures benefit on Friday evening, May 21, at the Santa Fe Convention Center.  "We have a wonderful tradition that the previous year's Living Treasure honoree makes a unique art piece for the current year's honoree," explains Shelby Tisdale, Director of MIAC.  "Last year's recipient was Santa Clara sculptor, Upton Ethelbah, Jr. (Greyshoes).  In addition to the honoring ceremony on Friday night, Vigil will be the featured artist throughout the weekend at the Native Treasures show.

"I am honored to be receiving the 2010 Native Treasures Living Treasure Award," says Vigil.  "I've been involved with the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture for a long time, so this is particularly rewarding for me."

Vigil is a self-taught member of a pottery family from Nambe Pueblo, NM. Vigil started his art in his early 30s, after a career in finance and business with Northern Pueblos in New Mexico and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.   

"When I first started working with clay 26 years ago," says Vigil, "I didn't know exactly how to do it. I started by experimentation, prayer and meditation, and slowly the information began to come.  I asked for guidance from the spirits of my great-grandmother and my great-aunt, who are both potters. And I still ask their guidance today."

For Vigil, each pot created is a collaborative effort between him and the clay. Micaceous pieces are both beautiful and functional, and Vigil makes them for utilitarian uses such as cooking, serving and holding water. He says that beans, rice, everything tastes better when it is cooked in micaceous pottery. It is common for the pots to break during the firing process, so when they emerge unscathed Vigil feels great appreciation.

Vigil's pieces are collected by individual collectors and prestigious museums such as Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, School of Advanced Research, Peabody-Essex Museum, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art and many others.  His pieces are also made for use in his village and surrounding pueblos.
In addition to his outstanding body of work, Vigil has also been a generous supporter of the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, his community and many non-profit organizations, one of the criteria for this award. He has served on the boards of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and the Wheelwright Museum of American Indian Institute of American Indian Art and has served on advisory committees at the School of Advanced Research and the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture.

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Native Treasures, now in its sixth year, is an invitational art show and sale featuring the best Native art in the U.S.  Proceeds benefit the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture in Santa Fe, NM.


  • Museum-quality art from almost 200 artists from 40 tribes and pueblos
  • Santa Fe's only museum-quality Indian Art show
  • Musical entertainment
  • Food by Cowgirl BBQ
  • Relaxed, intimate event for collectors, dealers and visitors
  • 2010 "Living Treasure" award to outstanding Nambe potter Lonnie Vigil

WHEN:          Saturday May 22 & Sunday May 23, 2010
Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $5; Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m, Free
(Early Bird Market Saturday, 9-10 a.m., $15)
Festival tickets available at entrance and at the Museum of New Mexico Foundation museum shops.

Friday, May 21, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Benefit Pre-Sale Gala, offering special pieces for sale selected by each artist.
Attendees will meet the artists and mingle with other collectors.

Honoring ceremony for this year's Native Treasures Living Treasure Award recipient, Nambe potter Lonnie Vigil
Hors d'oeuvres and wine will be served; $75. This includes an Early Bird ticket for Saturday.

Tickets: 505-982-6366, ext. 112.

WHERE:       Santa Fe Convention Center at the corner of Marcy and Grant Streets; Santa Fe, New Mexico

INFO:             505-476-1250;

PLEASE CONTACT Jennifer Marshall, 505-231-1776,

Jennifer Marshall