What is Common Ground?
Common Ground, a dynamic initiative orchestrated by the Arts Council of Kern, stands as a vibrant celebration of Native American arts and culture. This program brings together a quartet of exceptionally talented indigenous artists: Alan Salazar, Gene Albitre, Lori Myers, and Sean Navejas. Common Ground’s mission is to foster appreciation and understanding of Native American artistry through a series of educational events and outreach activities. Throughout the program’s duration, these artists will embark on a journey throughout Kern County, sharing their rich heritage, knowledge and artistic skills, and illuminating the profound cultural significance behind their work. Common Ground is a testament to the power of art to promote unity among diverse communities, while also preserving and celebrating the invaluable traditions of Native American cultures.
Meet the Common Ground artists
Alan Salazar is a Chumash and Tataviam elder, a native storyteller, and a retired probation officer. During his two decades working in probation, he also began working as a native consultant to help preserve native artifacts and native grounds from disturbance. He has been monitoring groundworks for the past 25 years, with locations spanning from Northern L.A. County in the Santa Clarita area. Alan can be found across southern California teaching the cultural significance of the Chumash and Tataviam people today. Alan can be found telling stories which reflect the lessons and principles of his culture.
Gene Albitre is a retired Native American Spiritual Leader whose diverse contributions span many roles. His lifelong engagement with rawhide craftsmanship, utilizing buffalo, elk, deer, and various animal skins, is rooted in his Native American culture’s principle of waste reduction. Using these skins, he skillfully fashions rattles, drums, cookware and more. Gene highlights the pivotal role animals played in Native American culture’s survival, emphasizing the importance and relevance of our connection with nature.
Lori Myers, a proud Alaskan hailing from Sitka, embodies the spirit of her heritage as an Alaskan and Tlingit Indian, belonging to the Raven Clan, House of Dog-Salmon. Lori is passionate about preserving her cultural legacy and sharing her craft with others. She passes on her native artistry by teaching beading classes across Kern County, where she helps aspiring artists discover the beauty and significance of Native American beadwork.
Catch up with Common Ground