Good Apple Award, February 12, 2009, Great Falls MT
"Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you have been nominated for our Human Resources "Good Apple" award by Jane Gregoire, Principle at North Middle School. This award has long been associated with education. In our field, receiving an apple is an expression of appreciation and esteem! The presentation of the enclosed pin is appropriate in light of their letter, which reads in part:
In December, Mr. Yellow Bird brought his magic to our school. As a guest teacher in Mr. Odden's art classes, he captivated students with his artistic inspiration, expertise and with his ability to connect with kids. Mr. Yellow Bird is an accomplished artist, but he is certainly so much more. He has a natural empathy and communication with your people, "talking" to them through art and storytelling. He teaches personal responsibility, coping skills and hope. He understands kids' struggles and difficult home lives, and energizes them with encouragement and belief they can rise above their struggles. His quiet voice, even cadence and skilled hands work as surely as his artwork does to inspire and focus students.
Please except this award as a token of our sincere appreciation....." -Tammy Lacy, Human Resource Director
What are people saying about Black Pinto Horse Fine Arts Educational Programs?
"I really want to tell you how much I enjoyed your visit at the Ovando School last week... I was really moved. You guys had a way of really reaching our students and having them be in touch with themselves ( a really difficult feat at this age). Both art and inspiring students to excell are a love of mine. Thank you for providing a path to use both loves."
Leigh Ann Valiton , Teacher, Ovando MT
"How fortunate for me, my students, staff and community of Bozeman to have your obvious passion and generosity surrounding us for one week. You've inspired us all to be the best we can be and give all we can at what we do-- a much needed message in the mid doldrums of winter and always.
Kerry, Art Teacher, Bozeman MT
Thank you so much for sharing your special talents with myself and our students. You both are very inspirational people who have touched many students throughout the week. I am sure you will leave a lasting impression on many hearts and minds, especially mine!
Pam Fanning , Art Teacher, Havre MT
"I am writing to tell you how much I enjoyed having you work with my students and teaching them how to make mud ponies. They really enjoyed that time with you and you did a marvelous job with them! The ponies turned out really nice and they worked so hard on them. They loved the stories that you told."
Stephanie Kunze , Kindergarten Teacher, Whiteshield ND
"Your residency was just a great success. The presentations were fantastic, and I was impressed with how much emotion and thought the students were able to express visually and verbally. Wow!"
Andrea Morgan , Parent, Ovando MT
"Just a short note to thank you again for opening up our students' minds a little more to tolerance and diversity. Quite a few of the students, who I know live in very small worlds, now have a little different and positive perception of Native People. My one little guy who is autistic was SO caught up in the storytelling and for the first time actually interacted in a school wide event. Thank you for that. Perhaps in the future our school will be able to ask you back to work with our children."
Judy Holmes, Para Educator, Seeley Lake MT
"I saw a kindergarten student (boy) afterschool, at Loy. His eyes lit up when he saw me and his face was glowing. He said, "That was the BEST story I ever heard!"
Kristi Wasson, Art Teacher, Great Falls MT
"What a remarkable two days we had with Monte YellowBird! We were able to share this week with Monte with a neighboring school, so financially it worked out well for our school. We set up a very busy schedule for Monte. We presented Monte with a welcoming breakfast from our teachers to begin his busy day. Our main goal was to show our hospitality and appreciation to our special guest for the opportunity presented to our community. The students, staff, and teachers were “buzzing” with excitement. Monte presented “Mud Ponies” with grades K-2, “War Shield” with grades 3-6, lecture and art work with the 8tth and 12th grade art class, and storytelling and dancing with the After School Program. All the projects planned were very age appropriate. Monte deserves a score of “10” for his presentation of the subject matter, his enthusiasm, his stories, his guidance, and his ability to bring out the artistic talent in our students. Many parents commented on how much their child enjoyed Monte at our school. One of our students brought Monte a gift of elk meat. Monte gave him a gift back which was a warrior shield that he had made. Our student at our school went home and hung the shield over his bed and told his family to be careful and not touch it as it was very special to him. We definitely plan on having Monte again in the future. We hope next time that he can stay for a longer time frame of time. His work and friendship made a lasting impression on the teachers, staff, and students at our school. Thank you, Monte, for all you do for our children."
Lisa Mueller, 4th Grade Teacher, Hot Springs Elementary, Hot Springs MT
"Dear Monte and Emily,
Everytime I have reason to think about an artist residency, you are in my thoughts. There are times, when I am in my own quite thoughts, something you have written, Emily, comes to mind that reminds me why I keep trying to encourage the study of art in our schools and individual lives. Thank you both for sending your thoughts. Thank you for inspiring the young and the old through your art and your good souls. Thank you for teaching us the beauty of the earth and how it can transform our lives."
Brenda Bjorlie, Nelson County Arts Council Direstor, Pekin ND
"Monte recently visited our school, Hot Springs Elementary. We really enjoyed his visit and would like him to visit us again."
Candy Franklin, 6th Grade teacher, Hot Springs MT
"We had a ball at Lubrecht! Monte was a big success, many people told me personally how much they enjoyed him. Monte's ledger workshop provided a rich and layered investigation of the American Indian peoples' visual journey through history. He brought a deep spiritual essence to us which was carried through to our art making during his time with us. He stimulated us to investigate our own ancestral visual traditions and incorporate it into our personal story telling. The workshop prompted robust intellectual conversation and inspiration for making Art."
Betsy Rogstad, Montana Arts Education Association- Missoula MT
"I really enjoyed your presentation, especially coming back for the second session to hear you explain your art. I spent some time looking at your website last night, admiring your work and looking forward to visiting with you again."
Andy Carlson , Education Coordinator, Havre MT
"Emily and Monte~ Thanks for a fantastic week with our students. They really enjoyed themselves."
Sandy Wilson , Indian Education Coordinator, Havre MT
I believe that Monte is a candidate of the highest caliber who would represent your organization, objectives and constituency with the same superior quality and excellence in which he has served the communities of Cascade County and beyond.
Monte came to Great Falls, MT in the fall of last year after accepting the position of Artist-in-Residence with the Great Falls Public Schools—a program that our museum has partnered with since its inception in the 1970’s. Over the course of the past year, Monte served thousands of children in Great Falls and the surrounding areas promoting the goals of the program. When he was not performing these responsibilities, or working in his studio, Monte hardly missed an opportunity to share his insights, talents and experiences at regional events as well as pursue other short-term residencies as time allowed.
....The exhibition title is indicative not only of the content of Monte’s work, but of the quality of his life. I cannot express sincerely enough the positive role that Monte serves as an advocate for the Arts, community building and First Peoples concerns. His ability to integrate his spiritual, aesthetic, and Native heritage into his work and convey that experience to a broad audience is profound. In addition to his visual work, Monte conveys his cultural wisdom, through apt story telling abilities, to audiences where ever he goes. Monte has refined this heritage into a focal point for his life and art. His visual narrative express the dualities of the past and present along with reminders about the incongruities that have occurred (and too often continue to occur) between the U.S. Government and the First People Nations in a compassionate, thoughtful and positive manner that reminds of us all of our responsibilities to our communities and their individual members.
It is all too rare that I meet someone of Monte Yellow Bird, Sr.'s maturity in response to culture and community. His ability to share wisdom, broaden and share opportunities, build bridges and strengthen communities is remarkable, and I fully and unequivocally support his application for a First Peoples Fund Fellowship.
Bob Durdan ,Paris Gibson Square Museum Curator of Art- Great Falls, MT
"I think at sometime in our lives we have all felt the sting of the porcupine, the story was a nice way to get that message across to a younger audience."
"That was a wonderful presentation--Monte's art work was awesome and
his talk about art coming from who you are was fantastic!"
Cascade County Homeschoolers, Great Falls MT
"Emily and Monte Yellowbird had a great rapport with the students at Upper Dauphin. The students felt comfortable asking many questions and learned a lot- not only about Black Pinto Horse's art, but also about the customs, dances, and beliefs of the First Nation people, the sound of the Arikara language, and the art of storytelling handed down to Monte through generations. Our art clubs who worked with Monte and Emily also did research into their own personal history and discovered the meaning of colors, symbols and designs as they related to their warrior shields. The Yellowbirds were punctual and willing to serve the school in any way they could, offering lots of ideas for our programs and future events. We would love to have the Yellowbirds return."
Ann Bonwit, Elementary Art Teacher- Loyalton PA
"Congratulations, to both of you! Your work just continues to grow and develop in breadth and depth. You are both an inspiration to me, and many others I am sure."
Anna Hoffman , Highschool Art Teacher- Williston, ND
"Monte Yellow Bird visited our classrooms 7 - 12, What an experience,...Educational, definitely!! is a word that come to mind. It is a experience that everyone should share, you will walk away with a better understanding for Art and life"
Tara Hagar, Art Education - Pelican Rapids,Minnesota
Monte Yellowbird just recently completed a community art project for the CASA Program that included the painting of two fiberglass horses that will be auctioned off during the Black Hills Stock Show, 2008, to raise funds to recruit, train and supervise community volunteers for abused and neglected children (please see completed horses on blackpintohorsefinearts.com.) Not only did Monte’s extraordinary talent win the hearts of the community, but his ability to communicate through his words as well as his art truly made his mission here a gift to the children. Monte clearly showed his leadership capability and demonstrated a great capacity to include the public in his work, only making this project even more special. Monte was constantly surrounded by individuals who stopped to admire his work as he painted in the Rushmore Mall. He made time for each of them to ask their questions and he answered from his heart, thus putting himself out there as a knowledgeable artist and Native American male role model. His ability to speak of the great need for volunteers to advocate for abused children resulted in a substantial increase in the number of individuals requesting information about becoming a CASA Volunteer.
Shelia Troxel- Snyder , Executive Director, 7th Circuit Rapid City CASA - Rapid City, SD
"I receive your information on what you two have been doing. Its wonderful. I am very proud to have work and met you both. You are an inspiration to me. Take care and remember the sun will always shine when we have great people like you both."
Mary Bischof, Director / Development of Easter Seals Goodwill ND Inc.
"Thank You ! Monte, It was truly a pleasure to have you here at BECEP, and thank you from Art Venture! Peace."
Amy - Bismarck ND
“The Partnership” operated by Emily and Monte Yellow Bird has provided the Fargo Public Schools with invaluable cultural educational programming. Monte and Emily Yellow Bird have proven outstanding leadership abilities. The Warrior Shields and the Winter Count were both great hands on projects that made everyone evaluate their lives, both past and present. We are looking forward to having them come back and do more presentations. Emily and Monte Yellow Bird are held in high regard in the Fargo Public Schools!
Thanks for your many fine contributions!
Melody Staebner, Fargo/Moorhead Indian Education Director- Fargo ND
"Monte, So nice to see you again and meet your lovely wife, Emily. I fell in love with your art a couple years ago when we shared (gallery) space at the Rough Rider Art Show in Williston. At that time I was also taken with your approach to life's lessons via the
meia of your work. As time has passed, you haven't dissappointed me. In fact, you keep getting better. And, it's not just your art work.
Your persona representing your,(and all people's)heritage is so true and down-to-earth that I wonder why we (I and others) haven't thought about it before. As I listened to you tell the stories and explain the symbolism in your art, I watched the face's of the students and was amazed to be able to "read" their recognition and response as they
connected with a deep spiritual side of themself. I'd also like to say, "Thank You, Monte," for being a concerned, thoughtful teacher. I learned a valuable lesson observing your
competent and authoritative command of student interest and respect."
Nadine Anthony, K- 12 Art Instructor- Trenton ND
"Thank you again for your kind way with the children. You are both such wonderful role models and teachers!The children and teachers really learned a lot from you and enjoyed themselves very much!
Pam Lambert, Principle at Wilkinson Elementary- Williston ND
"Wonderful workshop! Really enjoyed the native folk tales that were shared. Kids were enthralled. Explained all elements of the art thoroughly and on a level students could understand.
Strengths of the workshop? Making shields, discussing/ interpreting heritage, accomplishments, goals. Storytelling by Mr. Yellow Bird
Teacher in the Williston Area Elementary School, Williston ND
...."Winter Counts, storytelling on buffalo hides" presentation by Monte and Emily Yellow Bird. Our students in grades four through seven thoroughly enjoyed and learned immensely from the program. Students were able to complete a small winter count art project that explained where they come from, who they are and setting specific goals for themselves. The Yellow Bird's spoke to our students about the evolution of Tribal people and monumental accounts of family oriented people. They talked about the changes that have shaped Tribal people from traditional folkways to modern day expressions such as music, literature, world events and art.
I highly recommend the Yellow Bird's for students to learn the history and culture of Tribal people. There program was well received and Trenton school hopes to have the Yellow Bird's come back in the future to speak to our students about the Warrior Shield project."
Riley Mattson, Elementary Principle- Trenton ND
“The students enjoy the project and when finished, they were very proud of their shield and wanted to do more"......" now a main resource for the Fargo School District to use for many different projects with the schools.”
Kim Belgarde, IWI Education Coordinator and 5th Grade Teacher, Bennett Elementary- Fargo ND
"Dear Emily and Monte, ...Your contributions were so valuable to our success! Thanks so much. I am so happy for you and the new direction you are taking in your lives, as artists and as educators."
James Memorial Preservation Society - Williston ND
"I would love for them to come back"
"Thanks for a super 2 days. Wish it could have been longer. Maybe next time"
"I greatly enjoyed this artist"
"I really like the idea of making a shield with their goals and achievements...it was amazing to see the ideas they came up with."
- "Students love the story telling"
- " Strong motivation techniques"
- "I use the respect discussion already. I will use the theme idea again."
- " I liked that they asked the students to find out were their ancestors came from. I want to go more in-depth with that. I also liked how he said he was not Native American and he would refer to his family background. But, that we are Native Americans because we were born on this land."
Gussner, Washington, Lincoln, Louis Lamour, Roosevelt, St. John's Academy Elementary School, Jamestown ND
Artist in Residence - Sponsored by the Jamestown Art Center, Jamestown ND