November 5, 2021

Native American Heritage Month! MCA Denver Staff Shares Their Influential Artists & Creators


November is Native American Heritage Month! It is a time to honor and recognize the diverse cultures, contributions, and achievements of  Native Americans. In recognition, we asked MCA Denver staff to share artists/creators who have impacted their lives, as well as those that have made an influence on arts and culture in the United States.

Mike Zubrinic  - Adult Programs Coordinator 

Who is an artist/creator that has been an influence in your life?

Photo of artist, Walt Pourier in from of skateboard decks designed by the artist

One of my favorite contemporary artists, who is doing truly amazing things, is Walt Pourier. Pourier is currently based in Denver, Colorado and is Oglala Lakota. He grew up on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.

Pourier is an artist, designer, skateboarder, and activist. He is the founder of Nakota Designs and designs skateboards for Wounded Knee Skateboards. He is most notably known as the co-founder of Stronghold Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization thats mission is, “to inspire confidence, creativity, hope, and ambition for the youth of Native communities and non-Native communities through empowerment, arts programs, skateboarding and athletic activities while encouraging youth to take action to live a healthy life in mind, body, and spirit.” 

Stronghold Society works to:

  • Promote a healthy way of life outlooks for youth of all races through skateboarding and athletic activities or events.
  • Create and sustain skateparks in Native American communities through resources collected and/or developed by Stronghold Society.
  • Develop ongoing arts programs and media campaigns to empower our youth to live life.

Share and discuss your favorite work from this artist/creator?

Some of my favorite works of art from Walt Pourier are his paintings of ravens and black birds. Pourier says, “It is believed the black birds fly to warn of the approaching storm, of hard times to come, but it is not to create unease. It is to build compassion, togetherness, and hope amongst the people, for once the storm passes, we get renewal.”

screenshot of action X Community X Together video

Share some resources for us to learn more!

Stronghold Society

Q&A with Artist Walt Pourier

Arts District: Walt Pourier