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Eiteljorg Brings the Best to the Midwest

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First Fridays in Indianapolis is the premiere evening activity for the city’s coolly sophisticated, established and aspiring art purveyors. The monthly gathering of hip Hoosiers shines a light on an ever-growing cultural evolution. Last Friday, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art kicked off its eighth annual Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale – where art lovers from Indy and across the country could view, sale and purchase high end art ranging from $1,000 to $85,000.

There was one African-American artist in the Eiteljorg’s 2013 Quest class and he left Indianapolis $30,000 richer after selling two paintings.

Washington, DC area landscape artist, Michael Godfrey, presented his signature breathtaking oil on canvas offerings for the seventh time at Quest. Aside from leaving here with padded pockets, he said the Hoosier hospitality he experiences year-after-year keeps him and wife, Kim, coming back to the Circle City.

“I always look forward to coming here”, said Godfrey. “When I leave, I am already thinking of next year.”

Godfrey says his goal is to paint so that “people notice the special moments that happen every day.” His art, which is available to see and purchase at the museum until Oct. 6, showcases magnificent scenes from his visits to Big Sur in California, springtime in his hometown and a beauteous representation of the famed Washington cherry blossoms. That painting, April Fluorescence, 2013, sold for $21,000 last Saturday night.

The Eiteljorg released a statement, Tuesday, touting a record weekend for this year’s sale. Art sold from Quest topped $1.2 million dollars. A portion of the proceeds will be used to bring more world-class art to the museum.

“We had more than 180 amazing pieces for sale in our gallery,” said John Vanausdall, Eiteljorg Museum president and CEO. “With such an extraordinary body of work – by 50 renowned artists in one room – this museum has positioned itself as a national resource for art of the West.”

A walk through the Quest gallery shows 181 paintings and sculptures of scenes from the West and Native America.  Cowboys, horses, basketry and Indians in ceremonial garments are just a few of the images. Godfrey’s art, however, is amongst the few that show America’s beautiful landscapes. Godfrey says he hopes his art will someday serve as an inspiration to black youth.

“In some ways it’s trailblazing,” he said. “There’s not a lot of African-American artists who do this type of work. It could be an inspiration to some African-American boy growing up… It’s a good way to kind of push the envelope.”

And feed his family. For the Godfreys, art is not a hobby. It is what pays the bills. When they found out April Fluorescence, sold during Quest. Michael told an Eiteljorg staffer, “I am so happy I sold my painting here at Quest! I’ve got three daughters – two in college and one just out of law school!”

You may check out the art of Michael Godfrey and all the Quest artists at Eiteljorg.org.

Quest for the West is one of several in an impressive line-up this fall at the Eiteljorg.

Other highlights include 2013 Out West: LGBT Stories of the American West featuring the documentary Two Spirits, about slain transgender Navajo teen Fred Martinez. The film will be shown at 12:30 p.m, Saturday, Sep. 28., with a panel discussion, and DVD and book signing scheduled directly after. 

To view an exclusive interview with Michael Godfrey click here 

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