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Wabanaki artists take top spots at Prestigious Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market

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MAINE Jeremy Frey (Passamaquoddy), a basket artist from Indian Township, won the 2015 Best of Show Award at the 57th annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market, which draws nearly 15,000 visitors and more than 600 of the nation's most outstanding and successful American Indian artists. David Moses Bridges (Passamaquoddy), a basket artist from Bar Harbor, won first place in Traditional Basketry. Of the 645 artists who participated in the world-acclaimed cultural event, five were Wabanaki artists from the state of Maine.

"This is an exciting time for Wabanaki artists working on a national stage, and these wins tell us that northeastern basketry is the one to watch!' said Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, Abbe Museum's president and CEO. 'The competition at juried shows is serious, and to place requires extraordinary talent and execution. Congratulations to all of the Wabanaki artists who participated and placed."

Frey, who comes from a long line of Native weavers, was honored at the fair's March 6 awards reception for his winning 'Loon' basket. In 2011, Frey won Best of Show at the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market and the Sante Fe Indian Market, the largest Native American Indian arts market. It is only the second time that someone has won both shows in the same year, and it was the first time in the Sante Fe Indian Market's 90+ year history that a basket achieved the highest honor. Frey specializes in fancy ash baskets, a traditional form of Wabanaki weaving, and his work has been featured at the Smithsonian, Museum of Art and Design in New York City and in many other prominent museums around the country.

Bridges, a birch bark basketmaker and Abbe Museum Trustee, won first place for his Etched Winterbark Basket. His work has been exhibited at the Abbe, Eiteljorg Museum of Indians and Western Art, Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian and internationally. He is renowned for etching traditional double curl patterns in bark, and his stitching with spruce roots along basket seams distinguishes his work from other birch bark artists.

Other Wabanaki artists invited to attend the fair were Abbe Museum Educator George Neptune (Passamaquoddy), Abbe Museum Trustee Jennifer Neptune (Penobscot) and Theresa Secord (Penobscot). A complete list of winners can be found athttp://heard.org/event/fair-2015/.

The Abbe Museum shop features artwork by each of these Wabanaki artists. Winter hours are Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free through April thanks to Machias Savings Bank.

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