2014 Bridge Initiative for the Native Arts

Regional grantmaking allows the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) opportunity to connect with American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities in depth.

“By working with Meyer Memorial Trust and a California donor who prefers anonymity, the foundation offered support to Native organizations in Oregon, Washington and California over the past two years,” explained NACF President/CEO T. Lulani Arquette (Native Hawaiian). “For our third year of the Bridge Initiative, we were asked to work directly with artists in the same region as NACF headquarters.”

When the foundation began talking with donor partners, Spirit Mountain Community Fund, the giving arm of the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde, was the first funder to agree to partner with NACF, awarding a challenge grant that other tribes in the region matched. The Nisqually, Puyallup, QuinaultSnoqualmie,Stillaguamish and Tulalip nations donated in support of the initiative and NACF began by contracting a Pacific Northwest Liaison. “It’s been an honor to be part of this initiative and to learn more about what the Native communities in Oregon and Washington want to provide for their artists,” said museum consultant Lisa Watt (Seneca), who conducted outreach for NACF over the fall from her office in Portland, Ore.

Panel during NACF Native Artist Training session in Portland, Ore., 2014.
Panel during NACF Native Artist Training session in Portland, Ore., 2014.

American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian arts organizations and tribal governments outlined what kinds of arts marketing training would build the capacity of practicing artists in their communities. With the help of The Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at Evergreen State College, an NACF grantee and partner, NACF offered a series of well-attended, no-cost arts marketing workshops in Portland (Feb. 1) and Olympia (Feb. 14). Artists who attended the at-capacity workshops ranged from emerging to established artists and the feedback received was that they found the information inspiring and helpful.

NACF and the Warm Springs Community Action Team offered a workshop on the Warm Springs Reservation on March 1. An additional Oregon workshop was held on March 15, on the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde (CTGR) reservation, which was leveraged with support from the tribe’s USDA Rural Enterprise grant. “This arts marketing workshop supports our efforts to build the capacity of Native artists in the area,” explained CTGR Planning and Grants Manager Kim Rogers.

“This initiative gave NACF the chance to support individual artists in Oregon and Washington beyond our annual NACF Artist Fellowship program,” said former NACF Programs Director Reuben Roqueñi (Yaqui/Mexican). “Native artists in all regions need support from as many partners as are willing to gather to do the work. To learn about other training programs available in your region, connect with any of the following organizations: First Peoples Fund, The Longhouse, Sundance Institute Native Program, the PA’I Foundation or the Potlatch Fund.”

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