Janet Smith-Peterson

The Sundance Gallery




My serious interest in Native American culture and art began in college. But, long before that I was fascinated by the turquoise jewelry worn by my mother, and the Indian lore shared by my uncle, during visits to his home.

When my brother attended college in Arizona, I made a trip from Chicago to Tucson for a visit.  It was during that trip that my life changed course.  I had an “aha” moment, and realized that rather than social work, I wanted to work with native peoples, and surround myself with artwork created by native artists.  For 34 years I have traveled to reservations around the country studying Indian art, and purchasing authentic Indian goods.

I opened my gallery in 1984 and have devoted my life to the mission of promoting and preserving Native American arts. My relationships with artists have afforded me the opportunity to both offer the best artwork, and to bring the artwork "to life" by introducing artists personally in my gallery.

My interest in Native America is not limited to business and retailing.   I have been invited numerous times by the Southwest Association on Indian Arts to judge the famed Santa Fe Indian Market, and also helped establish the Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures, at Aurora University in Illinois. 

Also, giving back is a part of my gallery’s mission, and in addition to board participation, I have helped to build 5 homes on reservations across the country.

Recently, I have partnered with the cruise industry to join cruise ships around the world, to lecture about Native American culture, and sell jewelry to the guests on board luxury ships.

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