Museum Info

Monday – Saturday:
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Noon – 5 p.m.

500 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Eiteljorg to share unexpected stories through poet’s residency, film screening

By Elizabeth Bostelman, public programs manager

Scott Gerber, singing cowboy
Image courtesy of Electric Yolk Media

The Eiteljorg Museum’s mission is to tell the stories of the Indigenous peoples of North America and the diverse peoples of the American West. This spring we will share stories you might not have heard before that underscore the West’s multi-cultural tapestry. The role of family is explored, both through the generational influence of family on an artist, and through people’s Jewish ancestry.

Poetry is focus of residency
The museum’s Artist in Residence program brings noted Native American artists to Indianapolis to work from the museum’s studios, meet visitors and educate the public about their art. A rare springtime residency will feature an artist whose medium is words and language rather than visual art.

You will want to meet Elise Paschen, D.Phil., during her residency March 30-April 1. A poet and member of the Osage Nation, Paschen holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford, and her poems have been published in books, magazines and anthologies. She is co-founder and co-editor of Poetry in Motion, a program that places poetry posters in subways and buses across the country.

Writing poetry for more than 25 years, Dr. Paschen seamlessly weaves her life experiences into her poems. The daughter of prima ballerina Maria Tallchief (1925-2013), Elise in her poem Swan Queen shares her emotions and experiences watching her mother dance in the iconic role of a swan in the Tchaikovsky ballet, Swan Lake.

Artist in Residence Dr. Elise Paschen (Osage Nation)

During her residency, she will make appearances in the community, visit schools, work on poetry in the museum, and present readings for guests. Check out for Dr. Paschen’s artist residency schedule.

This engagement was made possible through a partnership with Brick Street Poetry Inc., and is supported by the Arts Midwest GIG Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Indiana Arts Commission.

Fascinating history in film
The museum also will hold a screening of the award-winning documentary film Jews of the Wild West at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 15, in partnership with the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis. Learn about Jewish people who had significant impacts on the history of the West in the 19th century, such as entrepreneur Levi Strauss, who founded the blue jeans company; immigrant Solomon Bibo, who became governor of the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico; and others. The film also highlights present-day Westerners who are Jewish, such as singing cowboy Scott Gerber.

Levi Strauss, entrepreneur
Image courtesy of Levi Strauss & Co

The documentary features interviews with historians, rabbis and descendants of people highlighted in film. Viewers will leave with a greater appreciation of the impact Jewish immigrants had on the West. Following the screening, Amanda Kinsey, the documentary’s filmmaker, will conduct a live, virtual Q-and-A session.

Tickets are required for the Jews of the Wild West film screening. Cost for museum members is $10; general admission is $15. For reservations, visit

Amanda Kinsey, filmmaker
Image courtesy David Noles Photography


Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the February 2023 issue of Storyteller magazine.