One of the world’s pre-eminent Native American flute instructors, John Sarantos, will perform during First Friday’s free Opening Reception for the “Native Visions” Native American Art Exhibit on Friday, April 7th at the Southern Shore Art Association Gallery, 724 Franklin Street, Michigan City, Indiana 46360, from 5:00pm (CST) to 8:00pm (CST).  Sarantos has facilitated contemporary Native American flute workshops from coast-to-coast for over 20 years at New York City’s prestigious Open Center, at national cultural gatherings, intimate flute circles, and has performed live in venues large and small; including New York City’s Carnegie Hall.

“What makes performing at this year’s “Native Visions” Native American Art Exhibit so very special to me,” explains Sarantos, “is since last year, I have met most of the artists during several visits to the Indiana State Prisons where I have been teaching the Native American flute to about forty of the members of the Native American Circle.  I am extremely impressed by the high quality of artistic talents that are showcased at this year’s exhibit thanks to the Southern Shore Art Association and volunteers like Karl Dennis who personally strives to help support the members of the Native American Circle.”

This is the third year Southern Shore Art Association is hosting an exhibition of arts and crafts produced by the Native American Circle at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City.  Native American inmates, with many different tribal affiliations, meet weekly to study and are taught that all are related to every living thing, to respect themselves, their families, their friends, their community, and all of creation.  They also study Native American thoughts, philosophy, and spirituality and how it relates to the intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Learning to help others is part of their teachings and inmates, through their artistic gifts of creating paintings, jewelry, dream catchers, and other works expressive of Native American culture, give back to the community. The Native American Circle helps guide its members to find a different path of life while becoming a better person for it.

A percentage of proceeds from the sale of the artwork will be split between two organizations:  Camp New Happenings, which is run by the Episcopal Diocese in Northern Indiana (the camp provides a weeklong camping experience for boys and girls ages 8 – 11 who have a parent or parents who are incarcerated); and the Potawatomie Trail of Death Association, whose purpose is to collect, preserve, research and interpret the history and heritage of the Potawatomie 1838 Trail of Death March from Indiana to Kansas.

On Saturday April 15th, at 2:00pm a free documentary presentation will be offered.  “Like Birds in a Wind Storm” is the story of the Trail of Death, which took place in Indiana in 1838.  It was a time when the Governor of Indiana hired 100 militia, who at gunpoint, moved the Potawatomie and Miami tribes then living and working in Indiana to leave the state, and forced them to walk to the State of Kansas.  Over 40, mostly young children and elderly, died during this forced walk.  Kim Spirit Hawk, who is in the documentary and knowledgeable about the Trail of Death, will speak following the presentation.  She will talk about the film and the history of the Trail of Death.

The Exhibit runs through Sunday April 30th.  The Gallery and Gift Shop open hours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Noon to 5:00pm.

For additional information, visit the Southern Shore Art Association website here or visit the Southern Shore Art Association Facebook page here.