Arts & Humanities

USU Art Museum Awarded Two National Grants From Terra Foundation for American Art

The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art at Utah State University has received two major grants from the Terra Foundation for American Art in the last 12 months.

The Terra Foundation fosters intercultural dialogues and encourages transformative practices to expand narratives of American art. NEHMA received a grant of $75,000 for the upcoming exhibition “Artepaño: Chicano Prisoner Kerchief Art” and a second $72,000 grant for the upcoming exhibition featuring murals from the former Intermountain Inter-tribal Indian School. These grants help the museum share these important artworks, the stories and experiences of the people who created them. They also help the museum bring these important parts of Utah and American history to the forefront.

“Artepaño: Chicano Prisoner Kerchief Art” highlights an artistic tradition that emerged from penitentiaries across the American Southwest over the last 50 years. A paño is a standard cotton handkerchief transformed into a work of art, hence the term artepaño.

Curated by USU art history professor Álvaro Ibarra, the exhibition will feature 66 artworks from three collections (the Reno Leplat-Torti collection in France, the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and from the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art).

Made by prisoners who alternatively self-identify as Chicano, Mexican-American, Latino, and/or Hispanic, the exhibition presents a thorough sampling of the distinctive styles found in paño art, ranging from grand biographical narratives and sentimental valentines to chilling threats. The artists also self-identify as inmates, convicts and/or pintos.

This exhibition will be on view from Aug. 24 through Feb. 5.

NEHMA also received a $72,000 grant from the Terra Foundation of American Art to assist with the conservation and exhibition expenses for an exhibition highlighting murals saved from the Intermountain Inter-tribal Indian School.

NEHMA’s intention for the exhibition is to shed light on the Native American boarding school experience in a way that supports Native American communities in feeling more represented and helps the wider community better understand how Intermountain specifically contributed to this complicated history.

The exhibition features 11 murals made by students, some clearly with the help of art teachers, who attended the School in Brigham City, Utah, one of the largest Native American boarding schools in the country.

The murals were salvaged from the abandoned walls of the school before demolition. NEHMA will display the murals from January through July 2025. Events will include a special reception and gathering for Intermountain alumni, discussion groups with alumni and Native American USU students, and a communitywide panel discussion.

This exhibit and its associated programming will provide regional and national audiences the opportunity to learn about this important history.

The Terra Foundation fosters intercultural dialogues and encourages transformative practices to expand narratives of American art. The foundation’s grant programs, art collection and initiatives support visual art projects engaged in reshaping how the story of American art is told. NEHMA is grateful for the support of the Terra Foundation for American Art, and looks forward to sharing these two important exhibitions with the public.

Admission is free and open to all. Parking is available in the free museum parking stalls and at the Gateway Terrace. For more information, visit or contact Shaylee Briones.

Heary, Untitled, circa 1997, Ink on cotton, 15 x 15 inches, Gift of the Kathryn C. Wanlass Foundation, Collection of the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Utah State University


Shaylee Briones
Visitor Experience and Public Engagement Specialist
Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art


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