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Return of The Corn Mothers

return of the corn mothers




The Journey Through Our Heritage program, part of the Chicana/o Studies Department at Metro State University of Denver (MSU) is pleased to sponsor, Return of the Corn Mothers, a traveling photographic oral history exhibition of women from the Southwest who embody the spirit of community.


The nationally recognized exhibit has traveled extensively to universities and museums throughout Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming over the past ten years. The exhibition is based on the Pueblo myth of the Corn Mother, representing growth, life, creativity and feminine aspects of the world. Todd Pierson, master photojournalist, has trekked for a decade capturing the images and stories of women that have made significant contributions in their communities.

The show received a Rocky Mountain Women's Institute Fellowship in 2007 and began in the spring of 2008. Master photographer Todd Pierson has continued to add new women to the show since its inception. From there, the show has been the featured exhibition at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History in the fall of 2008, and in May of 2009 was presented by the Chicano Humanities Arts Council (CHAC) as the featured exhibition in honor of its 30-year anniversary.


The ten-member team behind the Return of the Corn Mothers received the prestigious Colorado Humanities Fellowship in 2009 for the program "A Celebration of Wise Women of the Southwest," which was presented in conjunction with the Colorado Folk Arts Council and Metro State (then called Metropolitan State College). A one-day symposium was held on the Metro State campus, featuring multi-cultural women of all ages who have made significant cultural and social contributions to their Southwestern communities as traditional or folk artists, storytellers, and healers, and in other cultural roles.


The Return of the Corn Mothers photo exhibition’s tour went to the Arizona State University Museum of Anthropology in the fall of 2010. The next stop was at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico from May through July of 2012. On September 20, 2012 the exhibition came home to Colorado to be housed at the MSU Center for Visual Art. A two-month series of workshops and lectures took place, culminating in a grand fiesta event for the Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). In April 2013, the exhibition was housed at Pima Community college in Tucson as part of a month-long literacy project. The 2016 Journey of the Corn Mothers exhibition was housed at Alamosa State University’s Hatfield Art Gallery, the San Luis Valley Museum in Alamosa, and at Metropolitan Sate University of Denver. In the Spring of 2017 the show was part of the El Pueblo History Museum (Pueblo Colorado), Salt Creek exhibition.

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