GRIC Featured in New Exhibit at the Heard Museum

December 16, 2022


Emma Hughes

Community Newsperson



The Heard Museum proudly unveils a new, permanent exhibition titled “Substance of Stars,” which opened on Nov. 6.


The exhibit examines the collection of the Heard Museum from tribal perspectives across a wide variety of media and periods in history.  It incorporates Indigenous languages, sky knowledge, and spiritual values and includes elements of the origin stories that form Native Identities. 


Substance of Stars is a culmination of a three-year collaboration with advisers from four Indigenous Nations: the Akimel O’odham, Diné, Haudenosaunee, and Yup’ik, as they share their unique perspectives, stories, and experiences.


The exhibit features historical and contemporary works centered around a 360-degree theatrical portion of the exhibition titled the “Sky-Dome.”


The Sky-Dome offers a unique theatrical experience with edge-blend technology that showcases dynamic landscapes during the four seasons on 20-foot-high walls, while fiber optic ceiling lights simultaneously replicate a map of the cosmos centered on the North Star during the change of seasons from the Arizona night sky.


Gila River Broadcasting Corp. (GRBC) provided video showcasing O’odham lands at the request of the curators.


GRBC stated, “We would like to thank the Heard Museum for including us, and for everyone who worked tirelessly on the project bringing it to light for all to see.”  


GRIC members Anthony Marrietta, GRBC Media Editor, and James Jay, GRBC Multimedia Designer, capturing landscape video for the Sky-Dome.  Both contributed landscape footage from the Community and parts of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. 


Additionally, the exhibition acquired newly commissioned artwork by contemporary Indigenous artists.  These pieces are positioned prominently alongside historical works and site-specific immersive media from O’odham artists, including Thomas “Breeze” Marcus (Tohono O’odham), Dwayne Manuel (Onk Akimel O’odham), and Jacob Butler (Onk Akimel O’odham).


To represent each Native Nation included in Substance of Stars, at least two Indigenous curators and historians representing each tribal nation collaborated on the exhibition.  In addition, elders, artists, scholars, linguists, and traditional knowledge-keepers were consultants on the exhibit.


O’odham representatives include Barnaby V. Lewis (Akimel O’odham), cultural adviser; David Martinez (Akimel O’odham/Hia Ced O’odham/Mexican), cultural adviser; Gila River Broadcasting Corp. (Akimel O’odham), collaborating video contributors; Jacob Butler artist, curator, cultural adviser; Dwayne Manuel, participating artist, cultural adviser; Thomas “Breeze” Marcus, participating artist and cultural adviser.


This new signature exhibition features key works onloan to the Heard Museum by partnering institutions.   According to the museum’s press release, the Fenimore Museum, the Honolulu Museum of Art, and the Rochester Museum of Science and Culture were a few that lent items to the Heard Museum.


The Heard Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed during major holidays.  All tribal members receive free admission with tribal ID or CIB. 


For more information on this exhibit and the museum, visit