Bridging the Gap: Seneca Art Across Generations

Cultural objects can connect us to the past and inform and inspire the present. Bridging the Gap: Seneca Art Across Generations was an exhibit that featured beadwork created by eight contemporary artists from Tonawanda Reservation displayed side-by-side with artwork created by their ancestors in the 1930s and beadwork made by Caroline G. Parker for Lewis Henry Morgan’s collections in the mid-19th century. Reflections of contemporary artists on the three collections spanning 170 years of Onöndawá’ga (Seneca) arts demonstrate the power of material culture to connect people across generations.

Bridging the Gap: Seneca Art Across Generations ran from December 7, 2018 to March 31, 2019 at the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC). It was part of Lewis Henry Morgan at 200, a University of Rochester Humanities Project that offers a critical appreciation of Morgan’s various legacies. Components of the project include: partnerships with community organizations, a speaker and film series, a research colloquium, public exhibits, and an innovative website offering digital resources for students, scholars and the general public.

­The RMSC gratefully acknowledges the generous contributions of Tonawanda artists—past and present—that made this exhibit possible. Special thanks to Adele DeRosa for planting the seeds of this project 10 years ago; Jamie Jacobs, Tonawanda Seneca, Turtle Clan, for his vision, expertise, and help in coordinating this effort; researcher Deborah Holler and professor Robert Foster for their insights and knowledge; and Samuel Schacht for research assistance. ­

Click on the features below to learn more about the exhibit and artists.