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The Nelson and Gretchen Grice Collection of Native American Art

Passionate Journey:

The Grice Collection of Native American Art

July 18th - October 17th, 2009

Mint Museum of Art




Nicholas Ortiz

PG 2003.63.74

Promised Gift of Nelson & Gretchen Grice


This special exhibition features approximately 200 works selected from the Grice Collection of contemporary Native American ceramics, early 20th century baskets, modern Maya textiles from southern Mexico and Guatemala and modern performance masks from Mexico. These distinctive art forms present modern and contemporary expressions of native traditions alive and well in the United States, Mexico and Guatemala but whose origins are thousands of years old. The accompanying exhibition catalog comprehensively documents the Grice collections, featuring each artistic tradition with an explanatory text, commentaries by living artists represented among the works, and personal vignettes of the Grices’ collecting activities spanning nearly 20 years.


The Grice Collection complements The Mint Museum's outstanding ancient American art collection and bridges the historical and perceptual gap between indigenous American cultures and post-16th-century European-based cultural developments in North and Central America. The collection also complements the historic costume and North Carolina pottery collections by providing a comparative opportunity to appreciate the differences in these disparate traditions and to inspire local artists; one of the Grice's original intents when they chose The Mint Museum as the home for these remarkable works of art.
For overall information on Native American Art, see this list of resources from TFAO (Traditional Fine Arts Organization) which collects and provides links to journal articles, web sites, audio, video and more. Thank you TFAO for sending us this link!



Native American Pottery Resources:


Pueblos/Tribes/Artists featured in the collection:


Modern Maya Weavings (Southern New Mexico and Guatemala)



Tribes/Artists featured in the collection:



  • The Pitzer Collection of Mayan Textiles - an exhibit at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History - includes information on Maya history, weaving technology and their textile collection
  • More on Maya weaving - back-strap and treadle foot
  • Nim Po't- a consignment retailer for Maya textiles from Guatemala. Their retail store (and web site) also serves as a museum for hundreds of Maya textiles organized by village.


Mexican Performance Masks

  • Mexican Masks - a website of mask-related resources including a tour of masks from the regions of Mexico
  • Lesson plan for making masks
  • "Art History Prof. to Speak on Symbolism in Mexican Masks" - an article from The Daily Wildcat, University of Arizonia's student newspaper, on Janet Brody Esser's, a retired Latin American art history professor from San Diego State University, discovery of Mexican performance masks


Search MARCO: The Mint Art Research Catalog Online to find print resources available in the Mint Museum Library. Some suggested keywords: masks Mexico, Maya textile, Indian pottery, Pueblo pottery (also search by tribe or pueblo ie. Navajo, Acoma, etc.)


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Created by Rebecca Stockin, Volunteer for The Mint Museum Library