It was in the early 70’s when John and Carol Krena began taking camping trips out west to explore the deserts of Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. During their travels they were exposed to, and fell in love with, the art and jewelry of Native Americans in the Southwest. As their appreciation for this rich culture grew, they fed their curiosity by learning how to distinguish quality pieces and immersed themselves in diverse forms of art.
Upon returning home after each adventure, Carol would wear some of the jewelry they had collected and received continual compliments from people for its exotic beauty. Before long, friends were asking John and Carol to pick up a necklace, or a pair of earrings for them the next time they traveled. Realizing peoples’ interest in these works of art, they began to buy a small amount of inventory to sell to individuals and local markets. The pair started to wonder, “Could we open a gallery? Would this work?” The idea became an obsession and their passion ultimately pulled everything together. In 1974, John quit his job at the steel mill and in a small shop on Walnut Street, Four Winds Trading Post opened its doors to the people of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Over the years, John, Carol and Jody Vignale, an original member of the Four Winds team, created a venue not just to access high quality Native American art, but also to expose this radiant culture to the East.
Four Winds diligently works to hold space for extraordinary antique works of art and jewelry along with the wisdom and allegories that follow them. Four Winds also curates a selection of exciting contemporary pieces, showcasing how the past influences the future.
It has been paramount to the Four Winds family to build valuable relationships with the artists they choose to represent. Knowing the artists intimately fosters a compassion for creativity and pursues a conversation between the maker and the admirer. With Four Winds acting as a fulcrum, information and ideas pass through a network, helping its artists achieve by offering them a platform to grow.
As part of the Pittsburgh community, the gallery has repeatedly organized art exhibitions since opening, helping to secure the bonds between artist, curator and customer. It’s this connection of energy, curiosity, passion, and fierce respect of Native American culture that is the prevailing current of Four Winds. Leaving you with the Navajo blessing: May You Always Walk in Beauty.