NACF’s First Mentor Artist Fellow Cohort and Apprentices Convene

2017 Mentor Artist Fellow Dyani Whit Hawk (Sicangu Lakota) and Apprentice Jennie Kappenman (Red Lake Ojibwe) examine collections from the Portland Art Museum, May 10, 2017.
2017 Mentor Artist Fellow Dyani White Hawk (Sicangu Lakota) and Apprentice Jennie Kappenman (Red Lake Ojibwe) examine collections from the Portland Art Museum, May 10, 2017.

On May 9th and 10th, 2017, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation gathered its first group of Mentor Artist Fellows and their apprentices for a training in Portland, Oregon, kicking off a year-long mentorship to begin facilitating the intergenerational transference of American Indian and Alaska Native artistic knowledge and cultural practices.

The twelve Mentor Artist Fellows and their apprentices are as follows (in alphabetical order by the Mentor’s first name):

  • Cara Romero (Chemehuevi) is eager to impart her years of photographic study and professional experience to Leah Rose Kolakowski (Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa).
  • Delbert “Smutcoom” Miller wants to pass on traditional knowledge to and collaborate with Ho-Wan-Ut Old “Haila” Old Peter (both Skokomish) to create a sculpture in honor of a renowned community elder.
  • Delina White (Ojibwe) will guide Lisa La Fontaine (Turtle Mountain Anishinaabe) to develop an understanding of design, art form and how changing societal factors have influenced traditional apparel and accessories.
  • Dyani White Hawk (Sicangu Lakota) will embark on an artistic and cross-cultural exchange with Jennie Kappenman (Red Lake Ojibwe), while also sharing extensive knowledge about curating and the general business side of art.
  • Jackson Polys will work together with Robert Mills (both Tlingit), investigating both traditional and advanced Tlingit carving techniques and formline design concepts.
  • Lani Hotch will mentor Carrie Ann Durr (both from Chilkat Indian Village) in the entire process of the design, planning, and preparation to weave and complete a traditional weaving.
  • Laura Wong-Whitebear (Colville/Sinixt) wants Katrina Rounds-Herrera (Tlingit/Colville) to reach creative potential and see the possible opportunities as a practicing artist and basket weaver.
  • Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit/Unangax̂) will mentor Samuel Paul Sheakley (Tlingit/Haida) in Tlingit metalsmithing and the technique of chasing and repoussé.
  • Royce Manuel (Auk-Mierl Aw-Thum) will teach Matthew Yatsayte (Navajo/Zuni) the cultural and historical significance, and making of fiber art from the agave plant.
  • Shirod Younker (Coquille/Coos) will mentor Ka’ila Farrell-Smith (Klamath/Modoc) in traditional and contemporary tool making, canoe paddle carving and canoe model making.
  • TahNibaa Naataanii wants to increase Sonja K. Morgan’s (both Diné [Navajo]) artistic skill level by teaching her the holistic approach to Navajo weaving.
  • Wayne “Minogiizhig” Valliere (Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa) will mentor Lawrence Mann (Forest County Potawatomi) in birch-bark canoe making and pass on to him the traditional knowledge of birch, cedar and spruce forest ecosystems.

The twelve mentors attended two days of participatory training and critical discussion sessions. The trainings were designed to guide them in developing goals, expectations, and lesson plans for the coming year. The apprentices gathered on May 10th to discuss their hopes and goals of learning during the mentorship.

Theresa Secord (Penobscot), a 2016 NACF National Artist Fellow, and Cristóbal Martínez (Xicano/Mestizo) of Postcommodity, a 2014 NACF Community Inspiration Project, facilitated the training sessions.

Additionally, all of the artists were offered the opportunity to visit the Portland Art Museum’s galleries and to select items to view from the collection.

The 2017 Mentor Artist Fellows were filmed discussing their work on Facebook Live – visit NACF’s Facebook page and scroll to May 9th to see each artist discuss their work!

We give special thanks to all of our vendors, including the Paramount Hotel, and to the Portland Art Museum for supporting this unique and inspiring gathering.

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