Visitors to Friends of Ganondagan’s 2019 Native American Winter Arts Festival on Dec. 7 will experience an array of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) living culture, but with a new twist.
The Seneca Art & Culture Center, 7000 County Road 41, Victor, will host performances by Iroquois Social Dancers in regalia, storytelling, traditional foods, and a silent auction and Native American artisan gift market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A collaboration with Airigami — artists who create large-scale installations of balloons — will provide a visual, educational and participatory storytelling addition to the day.
Friends of Ganondagan is collaborating with Airigami founder and creative director Larry Moss and artistic director Kelly Cheatle to build and install a balloon creation to capture the essence of the Iroquois creation story, particularly Skywoman and how Turtle Island came to be.
“When thinking of Native Americans, balloons are not something that comes to mind, but it is when you think creatively and know how much children love balloons and storytelling,” said Jeanette Miller, Friends of Ganondagan program director. “We challenged Airigami to create a balloon realization of the Iroquois creation story and they stepped right up to the plate. We can’t wait to see the end result and combine it with one of Ganondagan’s premier storytellers, Tonia Loran (Mohawk), to add the words to the images.”
Utilizing over 600 balloons, the Skywoman sculpture is a “representation of the story that unfolds over the span of the sculpture,” Cheatle said. When completed, the piece will reach 18-20 feet.
“We are excited to collaborate with Ganondagan and visually interpret the Haudenosaunee creation story using our unique medium,” Cheatle said. “Storytelling is an integral part of our work at Airigami that we share with Native American culture and Ganondagan.”
Visitors have the opportunity to create balloons for the Skywoman sculpture.
In keeping with the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Seventh Generation principle in which decisions are made based on how they affect seven generations out, Airigami partners with Impact Earth to reduce its environmental footprint. Once the sculpture exhibition has ended, all of the natural latex rubber balloons from the piece will be composted.
All events are free. Call (585) 742-1690 or visit for information.