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Beauty Speaks for Us, an exhibition of more than 200 American Indian artworks, will be the inaugural exhibit in the Heard Museum’s new Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Grand Gallery, which opens Feb. 9.

Beauty Speaks

Beauty Speaks for Us will present works of American Indian art that span generations and cultures but share the transcendent quality of beauty. The exhibit will be open until April 2, and will showcase a wide variety of artistic media including pottery, textiles, jewelry, beadwork, functional art, paintings, basketry and carvings. The artwork is drawn from the Heard’s permanent collection as well as esteemed local collections including those of Nadine Basha, Carol Ann and Harvey Mackay, and Janis and Dennis Lyon. Many are being shown publicly for the first time.

Beauty SpeaksThe 7,000-square-foot gallery is the Heard’s first new gallery in 11 years. Funding for the Grand Gallery was started by a $1.25 million grant from the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. Its opening culminates nearly eight months of reshaping, restructuring and modernizing two older gallery spaces. Featuring energy efficient technology and custom-designed casework, the gallery will further the Heard Museum’s ability to inspire and educate audiences about Native peoples and cultures.

“The Piper Grand Gallery ushers in a new era for the Heard Museum and this exhibition, celebrating American Indian art and the Phoenix community, represents the first step toward achieving an exciting and expanded vision,” Heard Museum Director and CEO David M. Roche said. “We are deeply grateful to the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and our many patrons who have supported us so generously in making this dream a reality.”

The Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation is sponsoring the exhibit, which will include iconic artists such as Charles Loloma, Maria Martinez and Fritz Scholder as well as artwork by unnamed masters of the past. Highlights include:

DSC_5284_MelonPots-A Kiapkwa polychrome jar of Zuni origin, circa 1820 to 1840
-A Kiowa beaded cradle, circa 1890
-A classic Navajo wearing blanket, circa 1870
-The contemporary painting Those Close to the Heart of God by T.C. Cannon.

A Feb. 9 evening gala will celebrate the opening of the exhibit and new gallery. Tickets are $100, available at heard.org.

Images courtesy of the Heard Museum.