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Brave Honored with Artist Reception

Ponca City News November 29, 2018

Northern Oklahoma College welcomed Osage artist Joe Don Brave to the Cultural Engagement Center Wednesday, November 28 for an artist reception.

The Cultural Engagement Center, located in the Vineyard Library/Administration Building was created by a Native American Serving Nontribal Institution (NASNTI) five-year $1.75 million grant.

The exhibit displays a number of selections of Brave’s art symbolizing Osage Nation and Cherokee culture. The exhibit will be on display through the fall semester.

The CEC is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily during the school year.

Brave, a Native American of Osage and Cherokee descent, was born Vincent Paul Brave, named after two famous artists, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gogan by his father, Franklin Brave, a successful professional artist and graphic designer.

Two weeks after Brave was born, his father decided to nickname him Joe Don after Oklahoma Sooner football legend Joe Don Looney.

Brave moved to Oklahoma when he was nine and lived in Osage County with the Osage people until he went to college. He was raised in the tradition and customs of the Osages, and is still an active participant of annual traditional ceremonial dances.

His father was an accomplished artist, and though he passed away when Brave was eleven, he spent his childhood, being influenced by his father’s skills and artwork.

“I still remember visiting him as a child, in his studio and being given markers and paper to create with alongside him,” Brave said.

He studied art at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he learned the fundamentals of art and museum studies.

His career began as a Museum Technician at his tribal museum, the oldest tribal museum in the country, in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

His career continued at the National Museum of the American Indian; Smithsonian Institute in New York City. During his more than 10 years in New York City, he worked with other organizations such as Sotheby’s Auction House as an art handler, the Tibetan Museum of Art on Staten Island as Collections manager and the Native American Community House Art Gallery, as a Gallery Technician.

Besides his professional museum career and artwork, he has had the opportunity to work on a fishing boat off the coast of Monterey Bay, California, bar tending in New Mexico and landscaper in Colorado. After twenty years of working around the United States, he decided to return to Osage County and pursue his artwork full time.

“My artwork revolves around my heritage, emotions and expressions that I have picked up through my travels and adventures along the road, and while listening to my elder artists tell of their stories and experiences,” he said.

“I am the son of the Osage, part of its history and a product of its many changes endured over time. I am a citizen of the world, as such, seek to define my identity and place within these two worlds, which are but one,” he added.