Conrad House Innovation Award

This award honors Conrad House (Navajo/Oneida), an artist who participated in the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market for many years. House worked in several media—paint, glass, collages, ceramics, textiles—all with a brilliant sense of drama and color. His early death in 2001 deprived the world of American Indian art and modern American art in general of a major innovative talent. Profoundly grounded in his Navajo and Oneida heritage, House used the symbols of that heritage to explore and express the problems of contemporary life.

The Conrad House award was established and funded the year of House’s death, 2001, by Marcia Berman and Jeanie Harlan. The award is given to an artist who is grounded in traditional precepts yet shows originality, vision, and innovation. The work, which may be entered in any of the classifications of artwork, must exemplify House’s vision as expressed in his artist statement:

“My concerns as an Artist reflect life and all its complexities, from color and textural relationships, to confronting contemporary issues (i.e., impact of A.I.D.S., political beliefs, spiritual values, environmental destruction, trips to Europe, Sweet Love Relationships, etc.), the list goes on, but are all interrelated. My concerns can change as drastically as the many mediums I play with, from pastels, to clay, to glass, to beads, to collages, to paints, then back to pastels. Freedom of choice is essential.

“With the drawing mediums I can spontaneously release my thoughts and findings, whether literal or not. I am always trying to learn and explore other possibilities freely, therefore growing and changing.”

The winners of the Conrad House award since its inception in 2001:

2001, Marilou Schultz (Navajo), Textiles, “Diversity IV”
2002, Travis Emerson (Navajo), Sculpture, “Casino Night”
2003, D. Y. Begay (Navajo), Textiles, “Drought 2002”
2004, Polly Rose Folwell (Santa Clara Pueblo) Pottery “Neurotic Nuclear Love”
2005, Barbara Teller Ornelas (Navajo), Textiles, Burntwater Tapestry
2006, Marvin Oliver (Quinalt), Sculpture, “Window to our Past”
2007, Pat Pruitt (Laguna Pueblo), Jewelry, Belt, “Lucky 13”
2008, Jason Garcia (Santa Clara Pueblo), Pottery, “Tewa Tales of Suspense #6”
2009, Warren Coriz (Santo Domingo Pueblo Kewa), Pottery, Large Dough Bowl
2010, Melissa S. Cody (Navajo), Textiles, “The Dopamine Regression”
2011, Orlando Dugi (Navajo), Diverse Art, Evening Bag, “Regal Dignity”
2012, Ryan Lee Smith (Cherokee Nation/Choctaw), Paintings, Oil Painting, “Angel Fish”
2013, Susan L. Folwell (Santa Clara Pueblo), Pottery, Pot, “Love Gun”
2014, Berdine Begay (Navajo), Textiles, “Navajo Gray”
2015, Shan Goshorn (Eastern Band Cherokee), Baskets, “Cloaked in Sovereignty”
2016, ShoSho Esquiro (Kaska), Textiles, Weavings, Clothing, “Moma yeh etsu yeh Glyets’ edih” (Remembering our mothers and grandmothers)
2017, Marlowe Katoney (Navajo), Weavings and Textiles, “Avis Radius”
2018, Angela Babby (Oglala Lakota), Paintings, Drawings, Graphics, Photography, “Kiksuyapi 1890  (Remember Don’t Forget)”
2019, Lyndon Tsosie (Navajo), Jewelry, “The Air People and Their Tea”
2020, Benson Manygoats (Navajo), Jewelry, “Guitar”
2021, Pat Pruitt (Laguna Pueblo), Jewelry, “Iridescent Opulence”
2022, Jamie Okuma (Luiseno/Shoshone/Bannock), “Becoming”
2023, Mark Taho (Hopi/Dine), “Blessings”