ROSE, OK – Known for his characteristic and animated style, Robert Lewis pulls his audience into Cherokee traditional stories. A new exhibit at the Saline Courthouse Museum details his path to becoming a Cherokee National Treasure and his efforts to share Cherokee history and culture.
“Robert Lewis: Bringing Stories to Life” opened to the public on Jan. 10 and goes until Apr. 8, and details Lewis’ work as an engaging and interactive storyteller, as well as a visual artist.
“The work he does sharing our history and culture is important, but the way he does it is what makes it so incredible,” said Karen Shade-Lanier, Exhibits Manager for Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism. “His approach is inviting, educational and downright fun for anyone watching. The energy he brings can draw a crowd, and he quickly gets them involved by having them represent the characters in his stories. You may have heard one of his stories before, but each and every time brings something new.”
Lewis earned his National Treasure designation in 2015 for storytelling and is a frequent guest at the Cherokee Days festival at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. He has performed all over the country with Cherokee Nation’s Community and Cultural Outreach and visits area community groups and schools to share his experiences.
Although best known for storytelling, Lewis is also a longtime visual artist. The Cherokee National Collection, currently housed at the Cherokee National Research Center, holds some of his work, which is on display in the exhibit alongside available work for sale.
The Saline Courthouse is the last of nine district courthouses built in the 1800’s by the Cherokee Nation. After years of ongoing work to restore, preserve and modernize the structure, Cherokee Nation reopened the site in August 2020 as a cultural museum. The museum features historical and cultural exhibits relevant to the area and showcases different Cherokee artists throughout the year.