Kelli Jo Ford, who graduated Magna Cum Laude with an MFA in English and writing from George Mason University, is known for engaging her readers with her story telling, character portrayals and flair for the dramatic.
Powering artistic growth and magnifying the Native voice
At its heart, the Artist Fellowship initiative is built around the fact that in order for any artist to succeed creatively, they need time, space, and financial support to cultivate their creative process, improve their craft, explore new concepts and, for some, take risks that they might not have had the capacity to take otherwise. Native artists in particular struggle with a lack of equal opportunity in the arts and culture sector, reflected in the mere 0.2% of all national arts funding which reaches them each year. By offering Fellowships, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation proactively strengthens the ecosystem of support for Native artists, enabling them to generate more artistic work, live sustainable lives, and contribute to their communities.
Goals of the Artist Fellowship Initiative
- Power the artistic growth and magnify the voices of Native artists through the development of new works or completing projects in motion
- Increase recognition and visibility for Native artists in national and international arenas
How the Initiative Works
Following a national open call for applicants, Artist Fellows are selected by a rigorous process mediated by Native Arts and Cultures Foundation staff, and led by discipline-specific volunteer panel reviewers. Following Board of Directors approval, Fellows are awarded an unrestricted grant to support their work on identified projects for one year. NACF staff check in with Fellows throughout their Fellowship year and beyond, to provide customized assistance to our range of emerging and advanced artists. For example, this could mean digital promotion, or opportunities to speak at national/regional conferences and panels. In 2017, the NACF held its first convening of National Artist Fellows to further our role as a catalyst for Native artists, communities, organizations, and the work they do.
Native Arts and Cultures Foundation 2016 National Artist Fellows
Thanks to the support of our community and partners, the NACF is humbled to have supported sixteen artists in Traditional Arts, Visual Arts, Artistic Innovation, Literature, and Music in 2016. These artists come from the states of Alaska, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawai’i, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington.
In 2017, the NACF convened National Artist Fellows for the first time. Learn more about our Fellows by watching the video or exploring their bios below.