Museum Masters: Allan Houser

We had such fun today creating sculptures inspired by Allan Houser, one of the most renowned Native American artists of the 20th Century. Born in Oklahoma, Allan was a member of the Warm Spring Chiricahua Apache Tribe. His great uncle was Geronimo, the legendary Native American spiritual leader. Born with an artistic flair, Allan was a gifted painter, illustrator and sculptor whose artwork captured the true spirit of the Native American experience.  He was the first Native American to receive the National Medal of Arts in 1992 and his artwork graces the walls and landscapes of museums, galleries and landmarks worldwide.
We looked at a variety of his most famous sculptures, including my personal favorites, Reflections  and Pleasant Burden.  (The kids had a ball discovering the little baby peeking over his mama’s shoulder…)
Reflections, Allan Houser
Pleasant Burden, Allan Houser

We talked about what stories lay behind each piece and discussed his very stylized method of creating sculpture. While listening to traditional Chiricahua music, each child was given the opportunity to create their own sculpture in the spirit of Allan Houser. These pieces are remarkable both for their style and story. The children worked so hard to capture each of their own ideas in clay and the results are amazing.

We had a long-tailed mouse…

 A many-whiskered cat…

A curious dog…

And, from my youngest student…a first-grader…a butterfly resting on a rock…


To learn more about Allan Houser’s famous great uncle Geronimo, look for George Stanley’s wonderful children’s book, Geronimo: Young Warrior. This is part of a great series called Childhood of Famous Americans.


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