2020 Juried Competition Judges

Classification I - Jewelry and Lapidary Work

Dexter Cirillo
A noted authority on Native American jewelry, Cirillo is author of the highly successful Southwestern Indian Jewelry (New York: Abbeville Press, 1992) and Southwestern Indian Jewelry- Crafting New Traditions (New York: Rizzoli, 2008), winner of the 2008 New Mexico Book Award for best art book. She has written extensively on jewelry for American Indian Art and Native Peoples over the years and judged at both the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market and the Santa Fe Indian Market. Some of Cirillo’s other publications include Across Frontiers – Hispanic Crafts of New Mexico and The Third Woman: Minority Women Writers of the United States. She holds a PhD in English from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Norbert Peshlakai (Navajo)
Born in Fort Defiance, NM, Peshlakai lived in his homestead in Crystal, NM and now in Gallup, NM where he owns Peshlakai Vision Studio Inc. After high school in Albuquerque he enrolled in Haskell Indian Junior College where he discovered his talent for jewelry making. He often says: "Upon entering the new ground of jewelry making, it’s just like painting and sculpting." He has been creating jewelry and silver pots and jars in pottery shapes for over 40 plus years now. Peshlakai is the Navajo word for ‘silversmith’.

Marie Wittwer
In 1970 Wittwer’s life changed as she ventured to Arizona from Wisconsin. Her interest in American Indian Art was truly ignited after visiting the Heard Museum. In the mid-80s after retiring from her teaching career, she joined the Heard Museum Guild and became a guide and a shop volunteer. She trained shop volunteers and taught jewelry workshops. In 1995 when Heard Museum North opened, she was given the shop manager position. She remained manager until her retirement in 2011. She has enjoyed all aspects of her Museum experiences and has collected baskets, pottery, sculpture, and textiles, but jewelry is her passion!

Classification II - Pottery

Max Early (Laguna Pueblo)
Early is well known for his revival of classical Laguna shapes and designs on his pottery. He has been an award winning potter since 1994 and continues to push the boundaries of both traditional and contemporary pottery. Honors in pottery include a Fellowship and a Lifetime Achievement Allan Houser Legacy Award from the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, a Native American Community Scholar Appointment: Office of Fellowships and Grants, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market and Santa Fe Indian Market Awards among others. Early is also a published poet and currently attending the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, where he will receive his MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) in May 2020.

Jill Giller
After receiving her Master's of Arts in Education and Psychology at Northwestern University, and having taught reading and English on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, Giller began collecting and admiring Indian arts. In 1994 she established Native American Collections Gallery in Denver, Colorado. Giller has had the honor of being a judge of Pueblo Pottery at the Indian Market in Santa Fe, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, and the Tesoro Foundation in Colorado. She has been President of the Board of Directors of the Douglas Society (the support group of Tribal Arts at the Denver Art Museum) and on the executive Board of Directors in charge of programming. She has won several awards from the National Association of Professional and Executive Women.

Peter Held
In the course of his impressive three-decade career as a museum director and contemporary art curator, Held has organized more than 200 exhibitions and been an editor and essayist for ten books. He has received three of the highest accolades possible within the field from the Friends of Contemporary Ceramics; the Smithsonian’s James Renwick Alliance, and the National Council for Education on the Ceramic Arts. In 2014 he retired from his position as curator of ceramics, Arizona State University Art Museum, Ceramics Research Center. Held is the principal owner of an art appraisal and consulting business based in Phoenix, Arizona.

Classification III - 2-Dimensional Art

Tricia Loscher, PhD
Dr. Loscher serves as the Assistant Museum Director – Collections, Exhibitions, and Research at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (SMoW). She has curated exhibitions that range from Hopi pottery, the Taos Society of Artists, the Cowboy Artists of America to T.C. Cannon. More recently, she co-curated the most comprehensive retrospective exhibition to date showcasing Maynard Dixon’s artistic career and life. Prior to SMoW, she was a curator at the Heard Museum North in Scottsdale. Dr. Loscher has taught contemporary art and non-western art history courses at universities in the Southwest and overseas. She holds a PhD from the University of Arizona and an MA from Arizona State University in art history and education, with minors in Latin American art, anthropology, and museum studies.

America Meredith (Cherokee Nation)
Meredith is the publishing editor of First American Art Magazine and is an art critic, writer, visual artist, and independent curator whose curatorial practice spans a quarter of a century. She earned her MFA degree from San Francisco Art Institute and taught Native art history at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe Community College, and Cherokee Humanities Course. Northeastern State University named Meredith its 2018 Sequoyah Fellow. Based in Norman, Oklahoma, Meredith serves on the Cherokee Arts and Humanities Council board and the collections and acquisitions committee of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.

Julie Sasse, PhD
Dr. Sasse is Chief Curator at the Tucson Museum of Art. She has authored more than 35 publications and organized more than 400 exhibitions of regional, national, and international artists. Sasse received fellowships from the Clark Art Institute (2008); Latino Museum Studies, Washington, DC (2007); Louise Foucar Marshall Foundation (2013); Westfjord residency, Thingery, Iceland (2014); and residencies at the Women’s International Study Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico (2016, 2017). Sasse holds a BA from Southern Illinois University, a MFA and a MA from Arizona State University, and a PhD from the University of Arizona.

Classifications IV and V - Pueblo Carvings (IV) and Sculpture (V)

Greyshoes, Upton S. Ethelbah, Jr. (Santa Clara Pueblo/White Mountain Apache)
Greyshoes is a multiple award-winning stone and bronze sculptor whose dynamic, essentialized, and contemporary style is largely inspired by the traditional and ceremonial aesthetic of his Native American heritage. Greyshoes served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Southwest Association for Indian Arts from 2002 to 2003, was named a Living Treasure by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in 2009, and was a Heard Museum shop Featured Artist during the 2018 Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market.

Bill Howard
A retired electronics industry executive and consultant, Bill Howard, together with his wife, Kathy, has been an eager collector of American Indian art and artifacts for over 35 years. From their homes in Scottsdale and Santa Fe they have admired and acquired both traditional and contemporary Native American art and artifacts. They particularly enjoy knowing the artists and stories behind each object. Both have been active at the Heard and Wheelwright Museums for many years. Bill is President of the Board of Trustees of the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, NM.

Jennifer McCabe
A curator, writer, and museum professional, McCabe is Director and Chief Curator of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art where she supports an artist and audience-centered program. Previously McCabe served as Director and Chief Curator at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco. She is a PhD candidate in art history at Arizona State University, where she is a visiting instructor in the School of Art.

Classification VI - Weavings and Textiles

Velma Kee Craig (Navajo)
Velma Kee Craig is a textile artist and writer of poetry and screenplays. Velma is a graduate of ASU with a BA in English Literature and a minor in American Indian studies. Her short films have been screened in indigenous film festivals locally and globally. Outside of weaving or teaching weaving, she enjoys writing and time at the gym. Her weaving has been exhibited as part of: WOVEN: The Art of Contemporary Native Weaving; Connective Tissue; and Color Riot! How Color Changed Navajo Weaving. She lives in Mesa with her children, dogs Tina and Marcello, and cat Frankie.

Carol Ann Mackay
Mackay attended Wellesley College, the Medill School of Journalism, and holds a master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota. She taught at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center for over 30 years and served for 14 years on the Minnesota State Arts Board. Mackay began collecting Navajo weaving in 1967 when she discovered that Navajo blankets closely paralleled the abstract geometric paintings of many American midcentury painters. To date she has actively collected for over 53 years and has no intention of stopping. She is a Life Trustee of the Heard, having served on the board since the 1990s, and has actively worked in the Heard collection for many years. At the Heard she was co-curator of Beauty Speaks for Us and Color Riot and has lent weaving to many other Heard exhibitions.

Arthur Pelberg, MD, MPA
Dr. Pelberg is a chief advisor for Bayless Integrated Healthcare and a Life Trustee of the Heard Museum, as well as an avid collector of art. He earned his medical degree at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Classification VII - Diverse Arts (Including Beadwork & Quillwork)

Alex Marr
Alexander Brier Marr is assistant curator for Native American art at the Saint Louis Art Museum, where he recently organized the exhibition “Southwest Weavings: 800 Years of Artistic Exchange”. He is co-editor of Art of the North American Indians: The Thaw Collection, revised edition (2016). His writing has appeared in Winterthur Portfolio, HALI, and American Indian Art Magazine, and he has received grants from the Center for the Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the American Philosophical Society, and the Missouri Humanities Council. Marr received his PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester.

Nina Sanders (Apsáalooke)
Sanders is a curator, writer, beadwork artist, and cultural consultant. She has worked at the School for Advanced Research, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, where she curated and created finding guides for over 250 historic Crow photographs for the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archive. Most recently Sanders curated an exhibition of Contemporary Native American art at the Coe Foundation for the Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has written for the SmithsonianFirst American Art Magazine, and Native American Art Magazine. She is currently collaborating with Neubauer Collegium Curator Dieter Roelstraete on a gallery exhibition scheduled for March 2020 that emerges from the Neubauer Collegium's Open Fields project.

Bill Wiggins, PhD

Dr. Wiggins is Director & Curator of the J. W. Wiggins Contemporary Native American Art Collection on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. A collector of Native American Art for over 44 years, he donated over 3,000 pieces to UA Little Rock. The collection focuses primarily on artists from the central region of America from Northern Mexico to the Arctic Coast. A unique aspect of the collection is that he knows most of the artists personally whose works are included, unusual in a collection this size.

Classification VIII - Baskets

Diane Dittemore
Dittemore is Associate Curator, Ethnological Collections, Arizona State Museum (ASM). She has published numerous articles on ASM’s collections in scholarly journals and popular Indian art magazines over the years, including the Journal of Arizona History. She was the lead curator of the exhibit, “Woven Through Time: American Treasures of Native Basketry and Fiber Art.”

Jeremy Frey (Passamaquoddy)
Frey specializes in ash fancy baskets, a traditional form of Wabanaki weaving. He has won numerous awards including the Best of Show award at the Santa Fe Indian Market in 2011 and Best of Show award at the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market in 2011 and 2015. His work was featured in the Changing Hands exhibition at the Museum of Arts and design in New York City. He has pieces in the Smithsonian as well as in many other prominent museums around the country.

Elaine Peters (Ak-Chin)
A member of the Ak-Chin Indian Community, Peters serves as the Director of the Ak-Chin Him-Dak Department, which comprises the Ak-Chin Him-Dak Eco Museum, Records & Archives Center, Community Art Program, Historic Properties and the Cultural Resources Program for the Community. She has served on the Ak-Chin Tribal Council and has worked in the museum program for over 30 years.

Classification IX - Personal Attire

Beverly Bear King Moran (Hunkpapa Lakota/Standing Rock Sioux Tribe)
Bear King is a beadwork artist specializing in northern traditional buckskin dresses and horse regalia. She has won numerous awards including Best of Show at the Autry Museum of the American West in 2016 and Best of Classification at the Heard Museum Indian Fair & Market in 2018. Recently she won a prestigious award for her dress "Seen By Her Nation" at the Southwestern Association of Indian Arts Native American Clothing Contest. She is actively participating in the world renowned Gathering of Nations Horse & Rider Regalia parade held in Albuquerque, NM in April.

Amber-Dawn Bear Robe (Siksika Nation, Canada)
Amber-Dawn Bear Robe achieved an MA in American Indian Studies and a second MA in Art History, both from the University of Arizona. Currently, she is Assistant Faculty of Art History in the Museum Studies department at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe. Current projects include producing the annual Indigenous fashion show for the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts and developing an exhibition for the San Diego Art Institute, 2020, and for the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in 2021

Jessica Metcalfe, PhD (Turtle Mountain Chippewa)
Dr. Metcalfe is the owner of Beyond Buckskin, which is a website and business dedicated to promoting Native American-made fashion. She has co-curated exhibitions and taught college courses in Native American studies, studio art, art history, and literature. Her current work focuses on American Indian art, clothing, and design from all time periods, with an emphasis on contemporary artists.

Classification XI - Open Standards

Heather Companiott
Companiott is Director of the Adult Arts Center and Native American Arts Program & Festival at Idyllwild Arts. Her 35+ year career spans cultural programming for museums and arts organizations, curating Native American artwork for galleries, and archaeology in the Southwest. For over 20 years, she has developed interactive workshops with Native American artists for Idyllwild Arts’ acclaimed Adult Arts Center, with the aim of supporting indigenous arts, cultures, and communities. Prior to Idyllwild Arts, she was program coordinator for the Colorado History Museum (Denver), managed the Squash Blossom Gallery (Denver), and worked for the Apache Culture Center (Whiteriver, AZ). She holds a BA in Anthropology from Colorado College and an MA in Folklore/Art from Indiana University.

Fausto Fernandez
Fernandez is a mixed-media collage artist based in Phoenix. His artworks include a variety of paintings, public art commissions and community engagement projects, including the Scottsdale waterfront and the 10,000-square-foot terrazzo floor design at the Sky Train Station, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Fernandez participated as a judge at the Heard Museum in 2018 and has assisted museum conservators, registrars and exhibit designers with their exhibitions. His collages are in the permanent collections of the Tucson Museum of Art, Phoenix Museum of Art and the Heard. His painting “Demographic Fabric of America” in the permanent collection of the Heard.

Patsy Phillips (Cherokee Nation)
Phillips is in her twelfth year as the Director of the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) and periodically teaches museum courses at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Prior to MoCNA, she worked at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. (2000-2008) and Atlatl in Phoenix, AZ (1996-2000). Phillips writes biographies of Native artists. Her most recent essay, No Rules Make Art: The Life and Art of C. Maxx Stevens is to be included in the publication based on the IAIA collection and edited by Dr. Nancy Marie Mithlo (UNM 2020).