Newport Visual Arts Center Exhibits Native American Artist Lillian Pitt | Community


The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts presents the “Ancestors Known and Unknown” exhibit by renowned Native American artist Lillian Pitt May 7-28 at the Runyan Gallery at the Newport Visual Arts Center. Pitt will present his multimedia works, monotypes, clay masks and sculptures in ceramic, steel and cast glass. The Runyan Gallery will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, with a soft opening from noon to 4 p.m. on May 7.

Lillian Pitt is a Native American artist from the Pacific Northwest whose ancestors lived in and near the Columbia River Gorge. The goal of his work is to create works of contemporary art that delight contemporary art lovers, while refining the history and legends of his people. Pitt was born and raised on the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon and is a descendant of the Wasco, Yakama, and Warm Springs peoples. Pitt currently resides in Portland.

“My goal in this exhibit is to honor my ancestors in many media, giving me the opportunity to learn more about myself and my skills,” Pitt said.

Pitt’s work has been exhibited and assessed regionally, nationally and internationally, and she has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades. His awards include the 2007 Earle A. Chiles Lifetime Achievement Award and the 1990 Governor’s Award from the Oregon Commission on the Arts.

“Native American arts of the Columbia River and related plateau regions are unique in many ways compared to the arts of Indigenous peoples elsewhere in North America,” Pitt said. “But few people are aware that there was enormous diversity from region to region. The differences include, among other things, the types of baskets, the materials and the design that have been created.

Lillian Pitt’s work is in many museum collections, including the National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, DC), the Portland Art Museum, and the Burke Museum at the University of Washington. More information about the artist’s work can be found at

“We are thrilled to welcome Lillian Pitt to the Newport Visual Arts Center,” said Tom Webb, Director of OCCA VAC. “She’s a good friend of Newport and the Oregon Coast.”

The Newport Visual Arts Center adheres to all health and safety protocols provided by the Governor’s Office as well as the City of Newport. All VAC visitors are encouraged but not required to wear appropriate masks.


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