Advocating for Native Arts on a National Stage

gia-conferenceNative Arts and Cultures Foundation staff will speak to issues affecting the national arts and cultures sector this fall at the 2017 Grantmakers in the Arts conference in Detroit.

On October 28, 2017, Director of Programs Francene Blythe speaks on the panel for Artists & Place: Insights/Incites on Site:

  • Individual artists simultaneously occupy and transform the sites where they reside, work, and perform. This preconference explores artists’ roles in our understanding of “place”; how their literal and figurative positions in the arts ecosystem inform, inspire, activate, or sometimes suppress their creative work; and the funder’s role in supporting or impeding them. Discussion questions include: How are artists’ power and positionality used in place, especially in the historic preservation, equitable development, or transformation of community? What is the responsibility, if any, of funders to tear down walls that restrict access? In addition to these questions, we will interrogate common ideas and language used to describe creative work in places, including the premise that belonging to community is inherently geographic in nature. The day will be facilitated by Ryan Myers-Johnson, Detroit-based choreographer and dancer, founder of Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts, and assistant director of Kresge Arts in Detroit. The morning will start with an artist panel featuring stories and insights from Brad Kik, co-founder and co-director of Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology in rural Michigan; Yosimar Reyes, LA-based artist and artist-in-residence at Define American; and Jenenne Whitfield, executive director of Detroit’s The Heidelberg Project. The afternoon panel will feature funder insights on the topic from rural, public agency, and private foundation perspectives: Sharon LaRue, executive director of Kentucky Foundation for Women; Matthew Richter, cultural space liaison at Seattle Office of Arts & Culture; and another funder to be confirmed. Each panel will be followed by 90-minute interactive, peer-to-peer sessions where participants can explore issues facing their own artists and communities.

Also on October 28, President and CEO Lulani Arquette will present at the Racial Equity in Arts Philanthropy Preconference:

Grantmakers in the Arts’ team of arts philanthropists will lead a discussion of how our grantmaking can impact change for African, Latino/a, Asian, Arab and Native American (ALAANA) artists and communities, signifying a new beginning of equitable philanthropy in the nonprofit arts sector.

On October 30, President and CEO Lulani Arquette leads the panel and discussion around Arts and Social Change: A New Framework for Assessing Aesthetics:

What makes “arts for change” excellent? The new Aesthetic Perspectives framework, developed by artists and allies in Animating Democracy’s Evaluation Learning Lab, describes eleven attributes of excellence that contribute to artistic potency and social and civic effectiveness. The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation will discuss how it applied the “aesthetic-appreciative” framework along with Indigenous principles to evaluate Native artist-driven social impact projects supported by its Community Inspiration Program. The artist collective Complex Movements will share how artists used the framework’s attributes and inquiry questions to look critically at creative choices and outcomes of a multimedia installation/workshop exploring connections between complex science and justice movements. MAP Fund will describe its use of the framework to evaluate its application guidelines. Participants will receive the framework, the funder companion, and NACF’s evaluation report.


For more information about the Grantmakers in the Arts Conference, click here.

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