(L to R) Front Row: Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Curtis Snell, Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation Executive Director Gary Cooper, Housing Authority commissioner Tony Yates, Cherokee National Treasure Donald Vann, Tribal Councilors Frankie Hargis and Janees Taylor, and Housing Authority commissioner Ron Amos. Back Row: Housing Authority commissioners James Simmons, Bob Mayfield and Josh King
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — Cherokee artist Donald Vann is donating 300 of his prints to the first 300 homeowners through the Cherokee Nation’s New Home Construction program.
Vann, of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, has art in more than 250 galleries worldwide. Vann received the Cherokee National Treasure honor in 2013 for his paintings portraying traditional Native American and Cherokee people, wildlife, landscapes and the Trail of Tears.
“The Cherokee Nation is truly grateful for this most generous gift from one of the most talented Native American artists of our time,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “Donald Vann’s work will not only bring culture and beauty to the homes, but bring a since of hope and inspiration that can only be expressed through art.”
Vann presented the 300 prints to Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation commissioners, Executive Director Gary Cooper and three Tribal Councilors, who serve as advisory members, at the monthly meeting in August.
“After hearing about the tribe’s home construction program, I felt compelled to do something for my fellow Cherokee Nation citizens,” Vann said. “Art has the ability to transform a house into a home, and through this donation my hope is that these pieces of art will bring happiness and pride to the new homeowners and their families.”
Signed and numbered, the prints titled “Smoky Mountain Sunrise” depict three Cherokee warriors and a medicine man finding an eagle feather left from an intruding tribesman the group had been tracking.
“Art can serve as a catalyst for learning in a number of ways, and Mr. Vann’s success may serve as an example to the youth that they, too, have the ability to achieve great things no matter where they come from,” said Tribal Councilor Frankie Hargis, who coordinated the donation. “As Mr. Vann has proven, if you have a vision of what you want to accomplish and you are willing to work, then you, too, can achieve it.”
The Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation will present the framed prints to Cherokee Nation citizens already in their new homes as early as October. The remaining prints will be presented to new homeowners as they receive the keys to their homes.
The New Home Construction program started in 2012. As of August, the Cherokee Nation had built 96 homes and currently has more than 200 under construction.