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Biography

Artist
Promotional Director


Educator

Emily Nell Yellow Bird marches to the beat of her own drum as she shares her stories and heritage within her paintings.  Her paper cuts with watercolor are unique and fanciful, combining the traditions of Folk- Art with the contemporary; some of her favorite things.

Self education is an integral component to the evolution of her artwork. As an artist Emily has created paintings for private collectors, solo & group exhibits.  She recently had a one-person interactive exhibit at the Paris Gibson Square Museum titled, “The Many Charms of Nature; Chust fer fancy”.  In July 2013 she was awarded first place in mixed media at the Pekin Days Art Show in Pekin ND and was invited to show at the Danforth Gallery’s group exhibit, “Wild Life” in Livingston MT, August 2013.  In 2011 she was a featured alumni at Messiah College, recognized for her achievements and diligence within her profession.   Emily also participates in the Montana Museum’s Annual Benefit auctions such as the Missoula Art Museum, Paris Gibson Square & Yellowstone Museum in Billings.  She and her husband reside in the Livingston MT area. 

Promotional Director and Co-owner of Black Pinto Horse Fine Arts, Emily Nell Yellow Bird has a Bachelors in Science, certificate of teaching K-6, and a specialty in art from Messiah College, Grantham PA.  Her continuing education includes “Natural History of the Dakota’s” at North Dakota State University, “Mathematics in Elementary Schools at the University of North Dakota and “Dakota Culture” from Cankdeska Cikana Community College.  She has years of classroom experience, 3rd and 5th grades, Librarian (K-5) and Art Teacher (K-6), which she utilizes and develops as she provides visual art workshops to K-12 students with her very own educational programs such as “Dreamin’, Fraktur, Folk-Art for the Fancy”, “The Animals Inside” and “Flowers; Up-Close and Personal”.


Dad's Darter


Near is the Night

As my untrained ancestors of the past, I fuse watercolor and paper-cutting as a contemporary folk artist.  I find inspiration and joy while I incorporate my heritage painting the many charms of nature...I began painting when I was eight; my parents bought me an oil paint set. 

Pleasantly plump as a child with severe asthma, I was the target of bullies– art was my outlet for empowerment, achievement & success. I grew up in the rural countryside of Pennsylvania, tucked in the Appalachian Mountains, filled with fresh sights, soothing sounds and aromatic smells; the beauty of creation inspired my artwork. 

High school Creations
Nature and landscapes with watercolor and oil were my focus for some time, but I transitioned into "Flags", as my mother calls them.  As a thoughtful gift, my husband told me to grab my camera and took me to an Iris farm where thousands of colored petals blanketed a very large area.  I took many pictures of the beauties in all their grandeur and was inspired to re-create the detail of the petal, countless colors and their fancy scalloped edges.

Pennies from Heaven



Sharing the Gifts II

However, in recent years as an artist, I came to a realization that I was at a point of necessary growth...Iris in watercolor? I enjoy painting them- but they lack energy. They lack the “IT factor”. They’re not me- not anymore.  These were the thoughts playing through my mind which caused me to ask myself, (drum-roll please)…How are my paintings unique? I was speechless. Having no answer made me feel uncertain and insecure about my skills and direction as an artist. This moment set into action, a chain of events, some conscious decisions and others that were totally out of my control. As in science class, when one mixes oxygen with phosphorus, an explosion occurs. I didn’t blow up, but it created a new vision & clear path with a solid foundation.

Bobbin' for Berries
As innovative entrepreneurs, in collaboration with art, my husband, Monte Yellow Bird and I provide educational programs; our spring board is visual art and heritage. My husband’s pride for his Arikara culture made me question my knowledge of my heritage, or lack of. I feel, subconsciously the words we share with students had a direct impact on my artwork, “Once you know where you come from, you have a better understanding of where you’re going.” Thus, I felt a deep need to learn about the traditions of my people; Pennsylvania German AKA PA Dutch. My ancestral quest took me to the Heritage Center in Kutztown PA where I was able to fulfill a portion of the emptiness. I was introduced to Scherenschnitte, German paper cutting and Fraktur, PA German Folk-Art. I instantly made a connection with these 2 forms of expression and used them as a vehicle to drive my work into a fresh direction that was more personal to me; a unique approach which explains where I come from.  The 1st style of works emerged; horizontal and vertical watercolor with paper cuts.

Sharing the Gifts IV
While fine tuning these, more recently, the 2nd style & my favorite, naturally emerged; paper cuts with watercolor in a circular form known as the “Centripetal Satire” series.  This series was born, when during my research, I was drawn to a PA German Valentine of very fine cutwork titled “Lovebird”; colorful birds in circular columns, completed by a schoolmaster in the early 1800’s.  Putting my spin on the circle, I wrap objects with irony to tell a story with a twist. “The Many Charms of Nature; Chust fer fancy” is my exhibit of 20 works from this series.  If you enjoy treasure hunts, this exhibit is your pot of gold.  My goal as an educator is to engage and educate my audiences, sharing just a snapshot of my culture. I decided to make it interactive, paper cutting little charms as clues, accompanied with a question that will lead you on a search to learn facts about these fancy folk.  The framing is also an art.  I frame all my works which are quite laborsome and time consuming; another part of the design phase which brings the piece to life & fulfills my complete vision.

Weaving together realism with the aspects of my traditions is food for my soul, filling me with the need to learn more and share that newfound knowledge with others. It has given me a stronger self identity, awareness of the world and excitement as an artist. I have found my voice and wish to empower others to do so.  As I continue to research my ancestors designs, it’s amazing, the comparisons I find in our artwork.  I revel at our love of flowers and birds.  Imagination, patience and embellishments are three things they impart and lastly I bring my heart. 

Short-term goals: author and illustrate children’s books & create a Traveling Show, a one-person exhibit to travel the nation, moving from galleries to museums. 

A long-term goal: be represented by the National Folk Art Museum in New York City during a one-person exhibit.


A Mother's Faith

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Education

B.S., Elementary Education, Messiah College, Grantham, PA
Art Specialty

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Experience
  • Practicing Artist, Co-Owner of Black Pinto Horse Fine Arts, Fine Arts and Educational Consulting Business, United States
  • Art Teacher, K-6, Great Falls Public Schools, Great Falls MT
  • Summer School, Sweet Water and Prairie View Elementary, Devils Lake ND
  • Substitute, Sweet Water, Prairie View and Minnie H Elementaries, Devils Lake ND
  • Classroom teacher, Grade 3, Four Winds Elementary, Fort Totten ND
  • Science Fair Tutor, Four Winds Elementary, Fort Totten ND
  • Classroom teacher, Grade 5, Four Winds Elementary, Fort Totten ND
  • Librarian, K-6, Line Mountain Elementary, Treverton PA
  • Home-Based Behavioral Support/ Habilitative Personal Care- Giver, Riverside Associates Psychology Clinic, Harrisburg PA
  • Personal Care Aid, Keystone Residence, Harrisburg PA

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Awards
  • 1st place, Mixed Media, Pekin Days Art Show, Nelson County Arts Council, Pekin ND June 2013
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Commissions
  • Illuminated by Moon-glow, personal collector, Philadelphia PA, December 2013
  • In Thy Ways, personal collector, Millersburg PA, August 2008
  • Carrousel, Fargo ND, 2006
  • Grandpa's Boy, Devils Lake ND, 2004
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Exhibitions and Art Shows
  • The Many Charms of Nature; Chust fer fancy, one-person exhibit, Paris Gibson Square Museum, September- December 30, 2013
  • The “Wild Life” Group Exhibition, Danforth Gallery, Livingston MT, August – September 2013
  • Pekin Days Art Show, Nelson County Arts Council, Pekin ND June 2013
  • “Centripetal Satires”, two-person exhibit, Art Center, Jamestown ND, May 2013
  • Riverfront Arts Festival, Harrisburg PA, May 2013
  • Missoula Art Museum Benefit Auction, Missoula MT, Winter 2013
  • Paris Gibson Art Auction, Great Falls MT, Winter 2013
  • National MT Watercolor Society Juried Show, Big Fork Museum, Big Fork MT, October 2012
  • Big West Art Festival, Sheridan WY, August 2012
  • National Juried Show, Lancaster County Art Association, Strasburg PA, June 10 –July 19 2012
  • 19th Annual Holter Museum Benefit Auction, Helena MT, June 2012
  • Jay Contway Western Art Show, Great Falls MT, March 2012
  • Art Auction, Paris Gibson Square Museum, Great Falls MT, January 2012
  • Big West Art Festival, Sheridan WY, August 2011
  • 18th Annual Holter Benefit Auction, Helena MT, June 2011
  • Yellowstone Museum Benefit Auction, Billings MT, March 2011
  • 17th Annual Holter Benefit Auction, Helena MT, June 2010
  • Art Auction, Paris Gibson Square Museum, Great Falls MT, January 2010
  • Big West Art Festival, Sheridan WY, August 2009
  • 16th Holter Museum Benefit Auction, Helena MT, June 2009
  • NCAC Winter Benefit, Pekin ND February 2009
  • Impressions De Provence, Art Auction, Paris Gibson Square Museum, Great Falls MT, January 2009
  • Teachers Show, Paris Gibson Square Museum, Great Falls MT, May- August 2008
  • James Memorial Center for the Visual Arts, Cultural Festival, Williston ND, October 2008
  • James Memorial Center for the Visual Arts, Cultural Festival fundraising event, Williston ND October 2007
  • NCAC Summer Art Show, Pekin ND August 2007
  • NCAC Winter art auction, donated Harmony, Pekin ND, February 2007
  • Mother Nature, a Woman's Perspective, Art Show, Heritage Hjemkomst, Moorhead MN, October 2006
  • Easter Seals Auction Event, donated Protection and Security, Sheridan WY, August 2006  
  • Art Center Spring Art Show, Jamestown ND, 2006
  • NCAC, Nelson County Arts Council Winter Art Auction, collaborated with Black Pinto Horse, donated and embellished buffalo, Pekin ND, 2006

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Publications
  • Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art's 17th Annual Art Auction, "Style, Form and Color", The Best of Great Falls, pg. 34, Winter 2013
  • Paris Gibson Square Museum Opening Two New Exhibits, KFBB ABC/ Fox News, Great Falls MT, September 19, 2013, http://www.kfbb.com/story/23480506/paris-gibson-square-museum-of-art-opening-two-new-exhibits
  • Touched By Montana: New exhibits at Paris Gibson Square show vast contrast between artists, Great Falls Tribune, October 4, 2013, http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013310040012
  • “Emily Nell Yellow Bird, The Many Charms of Nature; Chust fer fancy”, State of the Arts, Montana Arts Council newsletter, November/ December 2013, pg. 19
  • Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, Two New Exhibitions Opening, The Best of Great Falls, pg. 31, Fall 2013
  • Couple Shares Talents with Elementary Students, Hot Springs Star, January 29, 2013
  • Award Winning Artist Settles in Wilsall, The Livingston Enterprise, Livingston MT, January 4, 2013
  • Frazer Schools to Feature Native Artist in Visual Art Workshops, Fort Peck Journal, November 10, 2011
  • Frazer Awaits Inspirational Artist, Glasgow Courier, November 10, 2011
  • SLE: Personal Discoveries and Development Through Visual Art Workshops, Seeley Swan Pathfinder, April 2011
  • “Yellow Bird to Serve as Artist in Residence at UDA”, The Upper Dauphin Sentinel, Elizabethville, PA, January 2008
  • Celebrate Everyone's History", The Upper Dauphin Sentinel, Elizabethville PA, March 2007
Educational Programs
  • Artist in Residence, K-12, South Dakota School for the Blind, September 2013
  • Artist in Residence, K-12, St. Francis SD, April 2013
  • Artist in Residence, K-5, Hot Springs SD, January 2013
  • Artist in Residence, K-12, Sheridan Public Schools, Sheridan MT, October 2012
  • Artist in Residence, K-5, Greenfield Public Schools, Fairfield MT, September 2012
  • Artist in Residence, visual art summer program, Lake Andes SD, August 2012
  • Artist in Residence, 4-5 Jefferson Elementary, Helena MT, April 2012
  • Artist in Residence, K-12, Cascade Public School, Cascade MT, January 2012
  • Workshop, Warrior Shields, Bonner Elementary School, Bonner MT, January 2012
  • Artist in Residence, K-12, Frazer School District, Frazer MT, November 2011
  • Artist in Residence, K-5, Hot Springs Elementary, Hot Springs SD, October 2011
  • Artist in Residence, K-12, Centerville MT, September 2011
  • Workshop, Flowers Up Close and Personal, K-8, Ovando School, May 2011
  • Artist in Residence, K-8, Seeley Lake Elementary, Seeley Lake MT, May 2011
  • Artist in Residence, 7-8, Dillon Middle School, Dillon MT, April 2011
  • Artist in Residence, 3-5, Lincoln Elementary, Glendive MT, April 2011
  • Artist in Residence, K-8, East Fairview Elementary, Fairview ND, March 2011
  • Artist in Residence, K-5, Knollwood Heights Elementary, Rapid City SD, February 2011
  • Artist in Residence, 1-8, St. Joseph’s Indian School, Chamberlin SD, December 2010
  • Artist in Residence, K-4, South Park Elementary, Belle Fourche SD
  • Artist in Residence, 6-12, Hawley Middle and High Schools, Hawley MN, October 2010
  • Presentations, K-12, Pelican Rapids Schools, Pelican Rapids MN, May 2010
  • Artist in Residence, K-6, Hawley Elementary, Hawley MN, May 2010
  • Artist in Residence and Mural, 4-8, Madison Elementary, Ben Franklin and Carl Ben Eilson M.S., Fargo ND, May 2010
  • Artist in Residence, 5-8, Underwood M.S., Underwood MT, 2010
  • Artist in Residence, 5-8, Sidney M.S, Sidney MT, April 2010
  • Artist in Residence, K-8, Seeley Lake School, Seeley Lake MT, April 2010
  • Artist in Residence, K-8, Ovando School, Ovando MT, March 2010
  • Artist in Residence, Havre H.S., 9-12, Havre MT, February 2010
  • Artist in Residence, 5-8, De La Salle Blackfeet School, Browning MT, February 2010
  • Artist in Residence, 6- 8, Chief Joseph M.S., Bozeman MT, January 2010
  • Artist in Residence, K-4, Linderman Elementary, Polson MT, Januray 2010
  • Artist in Residence, K - 12, Belt Schools, Belt MT, September 2009
  • Artist in Residence, K - 12, Ryegate Schools, Ryegate MT, September 2009
  • Artist in Residence, K - 12, Judith Gap Schools, Judith Gap MT, September 2009
  • Artist in Residence, K - 12, Missoula Public Schools, Missoula MT, May 2009
  • Artist in Residence, K- 8, Bonner Public Schools, Bonner MT, May 2009
  • Artist in Residence, K- 12, Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln MT, April 2009
  • Artist in Residence, 5- 8, Havre Public Schools, Havre MT, April 2009
  • Artist in Residence, Havre Middle School, Havre MT, October 2009
  • Artist in Residence, K-6, Warrior Shields and Mud Ponies, Devils Lake schools, Devils Lake ND, April 2008
  • Artist in Residence, K-4, Warrior Shields, Upper Dauphin Elementary, Loyalton, PA, April 2008
  • Minnie H fourth grade graduation, Devils Lake ND, May 2007
  • CASA's, "Stop Horsin' Around Help Stop Child Abuse", Presentations; Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Rapid City SD, May 2007  
  • Warrior Shields,  student workshop, Rapid City SD, May 2007
  • Artist in Residence, 4, Warrior Shields, Minnie H Elementary, Devils Lake ND, April 2007
  • Winter Counts, Storytelling on Buffalo Hides, student workshop, Eight Mile Public School, Trenton ND, January 2007
  • Artist in Residence, 4,“Creating Your Own Identity”, Williston Area Schools, Williston ND, January 2007
  • “Winter Counts, Storytelling on Buffalo Hides”, Poplar Junior High School, Poplar MT January 2007
  •  “Creating Your Own Identity”, artist-in-residence, Jamestown Area Elementary Schools, November 2006
  • Warrior Shields, workshop, Madison Elementary, Fargo ND, November 2006
  • Winter Counts, workshop, Madison Elementary, Fargo ND, November 2006     
  • Warrior Shields, student workshop, Minnie H Elementary, Devils Lake ND, June 2006   
  • “Warrior Shields, Creating Your Own Identity”, workshop, Bennett Elementary, Fargo ND, March 2006
  • “Celebrating your Identity”, student workshop, Horace Mann Elementary, Fargo ND, March 2006
  • Warrior Shields, student workshop, Devils Lake Middle School, Devils Lake ND, February 2006
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