American Indian Center to debut new museum
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:19

Project was started by Dundalk family

by Sara Blumberg

    It’s been a long two years for Dundalk resident Jovina Chavis.
    Since 2009, she and members of the Baltimore American Indian Center (BAIC)have worked hard to launch a new museum highlighting the Indian heritage in Baltimore.
    This weekend, their hard work will come to fruition as the BAIC celebrates the opening of the center’s new museum on Nov. 19.
  

For the last month, the group has been working around the clock to prepare for the opening.
    “It’s hard to believe there will be light at the end of the tunnel; everything is finally falling into place,” Chavis said.
    The museum will feature a collection of  Native American works ranging from paintings to pottery and baskets.
    A free-to-the-public visit also includes tour of the facility, which boasts a community center and garden.
    As part of the opening, the museum will feature local Dundalk artist Ashley Minner.
    Minner, a member of the North Carolina-based Lumbee tribe, will be the first artist to showcase her work at the gallery.
    The museum is planning to feature other artists who highlight the Native American landscape in Baltimore.
    “Our goal is to rotate artists as the museum gets more established,” Chavis said.
    Patrons will also have a chance to browse the museum’s gift shop and online store.
    Vendors will also be on hand, selling Native American food.
    The main goal of the museum is to recognize the presence of native culture in the community.
    Chavis knows firsthand the importance of keeping the Native American heritage alive.
    After coming to Dundalk from North Carolina, she, as well as her family, became active in running the Indian center.
    “The center features the diversity of culture in the Indian community,” she said.
    In addition to her work at the center, Chavis also works on coordinating yearly pow-wows.
    The opening of the museum is just the start for the center, which also runs a daycare.
    While grants helped get the museum this far, the BAIC eventually hopes to have a donation-based admission system to help keep the museum up to date.
    On Nov. 18, the center will have a private party for local supporters who have helped launch the project.
    “Friday’s event is a way to say ‘thank you’ to those groups and individuals that helped us out,” she said.
    The BAIC Museum opening will be held from 1 until 4 p.m. at 113 S. Broadway.
    For more information call 410-675-3535 or e-mail info@baic.org.