About Trickster

The Trickster Art Gallery is a registered nonprofit 501c3 Native American gallery and community arts center that also serves Native American veterans and their needs. The gallery features contemporary Native American art (post 1960’s), and augments its multicultural exhibits with featured speakers, panel discussions, school tours, and educator workshops. Come to the gallery to learn about Native American culture, Native peoples and their contributions to the U.S. military, view veteran’s artwork, experience multicultural exhibits, and browse unique items in the gift shop.

Trickster Art Gallery was established on March 5th, 2005 to create a unique contemporary view of Native arts, cultural education, and awareness. Today the Trickster Art Gallery is the only Native American owned and operated arts institution in the state of Illinois.


Trickster Art Gallery increases the visibility and impact of contemporary cultural arts and education nationally through: all arts media, music, veterans, fatherhood, and social justice issues to advance these programs.


To be an authentic first voice of Native American veterans and cultural arts.


Within the stories of many cultures throughout the world, there exists a figure meant to create and provoke thought. This figure is often known at the trickster. In the stories of the Plains tribes, the trickster often appears as a coyote; the silhouette of which is represented on the gallery’s logo.

The name trickster carries profound meaning. In Native American culture, a trickster is a spiritual and cultural educator. The trickster of the past taught life principles, and at times worked through levity and jokes. In the world of today, the trickster wishes to teach us another truth: the impact that art, both Native and non-Native, has had in shaping our mutual cultures.

The Trickster Art Gallery derives its name from this figure because the Native American community welcomes the idea of thought, cultural sharing, and interactions teaching understanding about modern Native society. The gallery is a where the Native voice can be seen and heard, and where visitors are invited to celebrate this living culture through the lenses of contemporary artists. Trickster Art Gallery honors the past by sharing the present day lives of Native people, while projecting ideals for future generations.

Native American people, (also known as American Indians), have been placed in a perpetual state of nostalgia. Trickster Art Gallery focuses on contemporary art to go beyond the romantic iconography seen in movies and TV, and instead address the state of Native America today as a living, breathing culture.

The gallery’s programs raise public awareness and advance ideals of tolerance and diversity by combating stereotypes and deconstructing predetermined imagery that has long defined Native Americans with one generalized cultural aesthetic. Native people are not all the same; their lives are shaped by their individual tribes, whether they live on reservation or off, how they choose to practice their culture, and more. The Native American community is strong and diverse, which makes it necessary provide a platform for cultural exchange as we continue to celebrate Native people in Illinois.

In March of 2005 at an Illinois Arts Council meeting, Betsey Arnistead, Director of the Prairie Art Center in Schaumburg, heard local American Indian artists express their need for exhibit space. She went to Schaumburg’s mayor, who in turn made an offer of TAG’s current building to Joe Podlasek.

Thanks for Visiting

Trickster hopes that you as a visitor have experienced a friendly environment at the gallery–one full of “surprises” for you. If you walk away saying, “Wow, I really enjoyed that; I learned a lot,” we’re happy. We thank you for your openness in coming. Hopefully, we’ve shared with you in a meaningful way the American Indian culture through today’s Native artists. And, finally, and most importantly, we hope that we’ve shown how our overall heritage in our country is a multi-cultural blend of artistic traditions.