For decades Native people, culture bearers, and artists dreamed of a national organization dedicated solely to supporting American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian arts and cultures. The creativity, generosity and commitment of Native Nations, forward thinking foundations and donors allowed such an organization to appear just as Native artists and culturemakers approached the darkest point of a global recession in 2008.
Under the direction of President/CEO T. Lulani Arquette (Native Hawaiian), the Native Arts and Cultures Organization opened its doors in the Portland-Metro Area in 2009 and began grant making in 2010. In its first five years, the Native foundation’s support allowed more than 842,000 people the chance to experience the power of Native art. Awards from this new national resource allowed Native artists to present, produce or exhibit at more than 300 events. Artists funded by the Native foundation led workshops and trainings for 146,000 people. Communities, organizations and individual artists in 22 states received NACF support, including a total of $1,602,000 in awards.
As the foundation moves into its next five years, it will continue its fellowship program and launch new signature programming that engages communities in artist driven projects that focus on social, cultural and environmental impact.