Restoring Identity and Resilience: Pomo Gallery and Family Statue Projects Garner Generous Support

The County of Lake is proud to announce the receipt of a $75,000 grant from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment for the transformation of the Lake Pomo Gallery at the Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport. This initiative, which began in March 2022, represents a collaborative effort between County Museum staff and the volunteer Tribal Advisory Committee to the Museums of Lake County. The funding is part of the $19.7 million awarded by the California Cultural and Historical Endowment to support 63 museum projects spanning from San Diego to Shasta counties. These projects aim to provide resources for small capital projects and programs in museums that have been severely affected by COVID-19 and serve historically underserved communities or students subject to Title 1.

Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Secretary, expressed his enthusiasm for the initiative, stating, "California's museums teach us about our state's dynamic, diverse history and culture. This funding will support projects across the state that lift up history and culture that has been underrepresented in the past and enable more people to learn these remarkable stories."

The ambitious endeavor will lead to the establishment of a permanent exhibit in the Historic Courthouse Museum, showcasing the rich and vibrant history of the seven federally recognized Pomo Nations of the Clear Lake basin. The exhibit will feature an extensive basketry collection and other cultural objects displayed in modern cases, incorporating dynamic mounts and interactive screens with oral histories and other cultural content in collaboration with the tribes in Lake County: Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Elem Indian Colony of Pomo Indians, Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake, the Koi nation of Northern California, Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California, the Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California, and the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians. Additionally, contemporary art from Pomo artists will be
included to connect the present and future with the generations of Lake County's indigenous heritage.

Planning for this transformative project began in the summer 2023, with a grand opening scheduled for 2024. The gallery will welcome museum visitors and students on tours, fostering knowledge and appreciation for the culture and identity of the Lake Pomo tribes.

In another partnership, the County of Lake was also successful in its application to the Upstate California Creative Corps Grant program, which will enable the completion of the Lake Pomo Family statue on the grounds of the Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport. This grant is part of a broader media, outreach, and engagement campaign designed to increase awareness for
issues such as public health, water and energy conservation, climate mitigation, and emergency preparedness, relief, and recovery. The California Arts Council views the California Creative Corps program as an opportunity for job creation and human infrastructure development, fostering artist engagement in public work and intersectional public interest goals.

The life-size bronze sculpture featuring a Lake Pomo Family will be erected on the grounds of the museum. The project represents the culmination of nearly a decade of fundraising efforts and will be a major attraction for the community, drawing visitors to the county and museums alike.

The statue holds profound symbolism, representing the cultural beauty and heritage of the Lake Pomo people for generations to come.

This statue project aims to address historical trauma and foster healing within Indigenous communities that have endured centuries of marginalization and assimilation. The power of public art, such as this statue, promotes well-being by providing individuals with a sense of purpose and inviting public spaces that encourage physical activity, socialization, and a deeper understanding of the world.

Throughout the process, the Tribal Advisory Committee to the Museums of Lake County has worked closely with Kelseyville artist Rolf Kriken to ensure cultural authenticity of the individual figures in the statue and reflect the family bonds, resiliency, and intergenerational connection of the Pomo people. The Committee, consisting of elders and tribal members representing all seven
Pomo tribes, has creatively guided the project and contributed significantly to its realization.

Their vision and input have been central to the creation of the Lake Pomo Family bronze statue.