Fall Artist in Residence Mona Cliff

Mona Cliff, Spottedcloud Studio, Lawrence, Kansas, is a multidisciplinary artist whose influence blends the diverse cultures of her heritage, Aaniiih (“People of the White Clay”), Nakota and Eastern European.

“My practice traverses indigenous knowledge systems,” said Cliff. “Generational knowledge connects me to my past and the blend of cultures. I am still figuring it out.”

Cliff said her perspective shifted in the last few years from focusing on mainly political issues to blending the beauty of indigenous women’s work with identity.

You’ll have the opportunity to meet her and watch her create art Sat and Sun, Nov 5 and 6, noon – 4pm in the library’s Reed Studio as our Artist in Residence.

Intuition and exploration

“I create from a place of intuition and exploration of my identity and lived experience,” said Cliff. “My connection to the materials used in Indian Country is important.”

To this intent, she uses fabrics, applique’, beading, leather and other materials to create assemblages. She has also painted murals.

When I asked Cliff about developing her art skills she said, “I constantly have to be learning a new skill and challenging myself to keep it interesting. I usually have several different projects going at one time.”

Success for Cliff is about more than just portraying hardship or resilience. She creates artworks with “clarity of vision to foster Native visibility and a sense of place for other Natives.”

Education and other work

Cliff acquired a B.F.A in Printmaking from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA. She works as a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion field representative for indigenous communities for the Kansas Creative Arts Industry Commission.

Cliff recently concluded a commissioned installation for the Kansas City Museum, where she is incorporating seed beads as a way to work in harmony and honor nature’s forms. Cliff is embarking on a commissioned beaded piece spanning 17 feet for the Kansas City Airport Terminal’s 1% for the arts program.

Betsy is the associate curator and museum educator at the Sabatini Gallery. She has an MFA from the University of Missouri with a major in Fibers. Betsy has taught art classes at UMKC, Kansas City Art Institute and Washburn University. As an artist, her work is sculptural fibers and focuses on ecological concerns such as the preservation of Kansas prairies in the Flint Hills.