George Morrison "Untitled," 1959. Courtesy of Tweed Museum of Art.
Four generations celebrate The George Morrison Center for Indigenous Arts

Four generations celebrate The George Morrison Center for Indigenous Arts

The George Morrison Center for Indigenous Arts is a collaborative space and collective, located at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, that brings together Native artists from across the creative arts spectrum—from visual arts to music and literature.
On February 2nd and 3rd, the Center welcomed the community in for two days of special events, including the opening of a traveling art exhibition called “Dreaming our Futures.” WTIP was there, and spoke to four generations of the Morrison and Belvo family, about the legacy of George Morrison and the significance of this historic moment.

We hear from “Dreaming our Futures” co-curator and visionary behind the new Center, Dr. Brenda Child. We also hear directly from George’s son Briand Morrison and his partner Roxann Berglund, Briand’s daughter Elizabeth and her husband Brandon Deschampe Morrison, Briand’s mother Hazel Belvo and her partner Marcia Cushmore and George’s great-granddaughters Maya and Myenna. (Family is pictured, above)

Oscar Howe, Yanktonai Dakota, “Creation of Weotanica,”1975 Casein on paper, 19 × 28 in. Collection of the University of South Dakota. Purchase of Oscar Howe Art Committee. The paintings of Oscar Howe are provided with permission from the Oscar Howe Family

Prof. Brenda Child shared how the work of George Morrison, Oscar Howe and Patrick DesJarlait influenced the next two generations of contemporary, modern Native artists, including many of the 29 artists in the exhibition.

Frank Big Bear, White Earth Band of Ojibwe, “Indian Bar,” 1972 Oil on canvas, 24 × 36¼ in. (61 × 92.1 cm) Collection of Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Gift of Kirk Nelson, 2021 © Frank Big Bear

According to Hazel Belvo, artist and professor of art, (and Briand Morrison’s mother), Frank Big Bear and Jim Denomie were George’s close friends. Both artists are represented by works in the exhibit.

Jim Denomie, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe, “Medicine Bear,” 2018 Oil on canvas, 35 × 49 in. (88.9 × 124.5 cm) The Jane Fluegel Collection. Courtesy of Bockley Gallery. © Jim Denomie Estate

With thanks to Howard Oransky, co-curator of “Dreaming our Futures” and director of the Katherine E. Nash Gallery, and Roxann Berglund, who shared images from the gallery opening to accompany this story.

Arts and culture reporting on WTIP is sponsored in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the Blandin Foundation.