Artist Bios

 
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Lynsea Montanari

Narragansett

Lynsea Montanari is the Museum Educator Associate at the Tomaquag Museum. Lynsea’s passion for education shines through within her artwork. She is a Narragansett artist whose focus is on being an authentic indigenous person in the 21st century. She runs her own small business, Loving Sea Creations, creating Eastern woodland design on contemporary items and has participated in art shows throughout Southern New England. She is currently attending College Unbound pursuing a degree in organizational leadership and change and has aspirations to rise within the education department at Tomaquag.

“My art is my self-expression and as an activist I find that subtly comes through in my pieces as I try to break down stereotypes about what indigenous art should look like.”
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Toni Scott

Narragansett

Toni Scott is a retired counselor. She holds a B.A. from Barrington College and an M.S. from the University of Bridgeport. She worked as the Director of Minority Affairs at several Universities. An avid traveler, she has been to over 22 countries on 4 different continents. She now spends her free time with family, her tribal community, and creating beautiful works of art from her home. As a contemporary artist, she has been featured in the Warwick Museum.

“Nature inspires me to create my art rather in blankets, silk scarves, and jewelry making, needle felting, one of my newest art forms to grasp my attention.”
 
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Deborah Spears-Moorehead


Seaconke Pokanoket Wampanoag

Advocate, Educator, Consultant, Writer, Playwright, Illustrator, Historian, Singer/Song Writer and Storyteller. Masters of Arts in Cultural Sustainability and Bachelors of Fine Art, she owns and operates an art Studio where she teaches private lessons. Her work focuses on the contemporary cultural existence of Eastern Woodland Natives who live in a traditional way.

“My art, songs, stories, performances and literary works serve to assert, promote, value and validate the identity of the past, present and future generations of Eastern woodland Native American Tribal Nations.”
 
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Lorén M. Spears

“Muhkusunee Pashau” Narragansett

Tomaquag Museum Executive Director, has been an educator and artist for over 30 years. She has been an adjunct professor at the University of Rhode Island where she is an alum. Mrs. Spears holds a Master’s in Education from the University of New England. She shares her cultural knowledge and traditional arts with the public through museum programs and publications. She works tirelessly to empower Native youth and to educate the public on Native history, culture, the environment and the arts. Governor appointed to serve on the RI State Council on the Arts Board. Under her leadership, Tomaquag Museum has received the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ National Medal.

“I feel that doing traditional arts empowers me & my community. It keeps us connected to our ancestors & keep our culture vibrant.”
 
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Dawn Spears

Narragansett/Choctaw

Executive Director of the Northeast Indigenous Arts Alliance (NIAA), she works to support Native American artists by sharing resources and opportunities, addressing their needs and increasing visibility of Native Arts in the Northeast.  Dawn is the daughter of artist/teacher Diosa Summers (Choctaw), a featured artist in one of our museum exhibits.  A wife, mother and grandmother, Dawn has been teaching and demonstrating for over 25 years years in many forms of art. 

“I try to capture the vibrant colors of our natural world; they are my inspiration along with my appreciation of the symbolism within our indigenous culture…I work in both contemporary and traditional mediums; I use both traditional and unconventional tools.  I like to experiment with these mediums and create amazing colors. I feel like the possibilities are endless.”
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Yolanda Smith

Narragansett 

Yolanda Smith is an active Native artist of Rhode Island. She has been an active student and artisan of North Eastern Quillwork and Beadwork for the past 4-8 years, and is currently studying ceramics at CCRI. What led Yolanda to become involved in learning Native art forms was, as a child, watching her mother religiously create contemporary and traditional Native art, and, while learning at her side, observing how that body of work touched people’s lives throughout the Native community.  

It wasn't until her late 20s that Yolanda began learning in depth the techniques of beading and quill work appliqué. In expressing herself & exploring in the making of Traditional & Contemporary art forms, and with practice and time in mastering these techniques, a very unique style and voice developed through her body of work. 

Over the past 6 years her work has been sold, demonstrated and exhibited at numerous Native cultural events throughout New England. In 2014, she was the featured artist of the Warwick Museum’s “Love Medicine” exhibit, and has been showcasing her work in RISCA’s annual Native and cultural exhibitions in the Atrium Gallery since 2013. 

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Robert Peters

Mashpee Wampanoag

Robert is an accomplished artist, poet and author. Retired from the Massachusetts Bay transportation Authority after 24 years of service, he spent those years observing the culture of Boton’s subway system drawing pictures, taking notes and making commentary. Thus inspired, his artwork is highly imaginative, evoking deep thought and stirring moods. His work has been featured in many galleries and museums. He continues to paint, write, and work with youth. Robert inspires the community and serves as a fire keeper and keeper of oral tradition.

“Go to the dream, and the dream will follow.”
 
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Mishki Thompson

Narragansett

The artist behind “Red Fern’s BOWtique” is Mishki Thompson, a member of the Narragansett Tribe. Wife and disabled mother of three, she took her craft and developed it into a small business in order to contribute to her family. With a flair for all things girly she merges the contemporary with the traditional, specializing in hair-bows, earrings, loom-beading, and needlepoint. She is constantly learning new techniques to enhance her work and style, taking extra care to make things beautiful and durable. Often assisted by her children she is raising another generation of crafters.

“I enjoy seeing children with pretty things in their hair. It’s fun to learn new styles and work with different materials. I also enjoy meeting different people and helping them accentuate their outfits with my earrings. Most of all, I want to show that I am capable regardless of my disability.”
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Quanah LaRose

Northern Ute

Quanah LaRose is a Tomaquag Intern and Student studying computer programing. Married father of five lovely children, this champion grass dancer and singer on the award winning northern drum group “The Boyz”, he has traveled nationally and internationally sharing his culture and talent with individuals of all ages.

“When I was young, I learned to sing by listening to my father and older male relatives in sweat lodges, sundances, and at powwows. I learned to draw, bead, and make drums by watching my father. So i really just learned a lot by watching and asking questions. All of the things that I learned growing up are things that I continue to do today, for which I am truly grateful as they remind me of the time I spent growing up with my family."
 
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Silvermoon LaRose

Narragansett

Silvermoon is the Assistant Director of the Tomaquag Museum. With a bachelors in Sociology and Justice Law and Society, she partially completed a Masters in rehabilitation counseling before changing fields to art and history. She still continues her work in the disability community by serving on the RIPIN board and connecting community members to disability resources. Silvermoon dabbles in writing, storytelling, beading, finger weaving and other traditional arts. Though art is not her strength, she does enjoy learning new skills to carry on and share these traditions.

“I believe it’s extremely important to continue to learn and share our traditional arts for each generation to receive. I may not be gifted but someone I share my knowledge with may create great masterpieces and I would be so proud to be a part of their success!”
 
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Robin Spears Jr.

Narragansett

Robin Spears is a hunter, fisherman, and gatherer. He uses these gifts of the earth to create. He grew up in a family of

stone masons and has spent over 35 years doing the art of stone work. Lieutenant Spears is an Environmental Police Officer for the Narragansett Tribe, caring for the land and its resources. He especially enjoys working with antler, cedar, turtle shells, bone, stone, wampum and other natural materials to create dance sticks, fans, pipes, rattles and other pieces of art. He is inspired by nature, his family, and his Narragansett culture.

“I do my artwork in memory of my mother because it was a way for me to cope with her loss when she passed away & I also do it to keep our heritage of doing artwork alive to pass along to our younger generation”.

 

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Quaiapen P. Perry

Narragansett

Born in Charlestown, RI of the Narragansett Nation. Growing up she has always been active in her Native community. Going to powwows, rounddances, socials, and other various cultural functions. Beadwork is one of her many passions. Starting in 2010 she took up beading. Crafting earrings of all sorts of shapes and sizes. Progressing over the years to bigger projects such as medallions, hairbows, hairties, and other major regailia pieces. Inspired by the love of her culture and the challenge of designing different works of art. Seeing her beadwork throughout Indian Country gives her a sense of enjoyment and accomplishment.