First exhibit of Hopi Pottery Masterworks opens in Scottsdale

More than 65 of the finest examples of Hopi pottery will go on exhibit for the first time Saturday, Sept. 16, when the “Canvas of Clay: Hopi Pottery Masterworks from The Allan and Judith Cooke Collection” exhibition opens at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West.

Spanning six centuries, the exhibition explores the history and stylistic traditions of the Hopi, who have excelled in the creation of ceramics for generations.

Among the historic and contemporary masterworks are 18 ceramics by Nampeyo of Hano (Hopi/Tewa, c. 1860-1942), the most famous of the Hopi potters.

Twenty-two other master potters are also represented in the exhibition, including Nampeyo’s daughters and other descendants, according to a press release.

The exhibition includes approximately half of The Allan and Judith Cooke Collection, one of the finest private collections of Hopi pottery, which has been gifted to the museum. Ceramics from the collection will be permanently featured in a new museum gallery, The Allan and Judith Cooke Gallery. Sponsored by the city of Scottsdale, the gallery honors the donor and his late wife, and the Hopi people whose tribal land lies in northern Arizona.

Postcard image of Hano Nampeyo, on right, with Fannie Nampeyo. (photo by Scottsdale’s Museum of the West)

Exhibitions of ceramics from the Cooke collection will be in ongoing rotation in the new, permanent gallery. The inaugural “Canvas of Clay” exhibition is scheduled Sept. 16, through December 2019, the press release stated. Native American guests will receive free museum admission Sept. 16, through Dec. 30, 2018. The museum is located in downtown Scottsdale at 3830 N. Marshall Way.

“The city of Scottsdale is privileged to provide its residents and the millions of annual visitors to our community with the opportunity to see this national treasure first-hand,” Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane said in a prepared statement. “It serves as a point of pride not only for the city, but for the state of Arizona.”

According to Tricia Loscher, chief curator of Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, Native American artists played a vital role in transforming Scottsdale from a small farming and ranching community into a nationally acclaimed creative and artistic regional hub. Among the best known are fashion and textile designer Lloyd Kiva New (Cherokee) and jeweler and potter Charles Loloma (Hopi), who have inspired generations of Native American artists with their innovative designs.

Shortly after World War II, new founded Scottsdale’s Craftsman Court on Main Street and then, in the early 1950s, the highly successful Kiva Craft Center (a series of small shops operated by individual artists) on Scottsdale’s Fifth Avenue. Mr. Loloma and his wife Otellie Loloma (Hopi) were the first tenants of the Kiva Craft Center.

“We are honored to be entrusted with this exquisite collection,” Mike Fox, museum director/CEO, said in a prepared statement. “This exhibition is an ongoing tribute to the people of Hopi, and as such serves as an important resource for research, education and inspiration for the tribe, our local community, students, artisans and visitors worldwide. We are deeply appreciative of Dr. Cooke’s generosity and this opportunity to celebrate these gifted artists.”

For more information go to

The Scottsdale Independent publishes a free daily newsletter. A print edition is mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses each month. If you value our journalistic mission, please consider showing us your support.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable. Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the arrow in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment