Introducing the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation 2018 National Artist Fellows

Please join the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation staff, board and selection panelists in congratulating the following 20 artists who have been awarded a 2018 National Artist Fellowship!

The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation National Artist Fellowship includes an unrestricted monetary award of $20,000 that provides support for Native artists to explore, develop and experiment with original and existing projects. Fellows also work with their communities and share their culture in numerous ways. Fellowships are made possible with additional support from the Ford Foundation, the Second Sister Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the philanthropy of arts patrons nationwide.


  • Anthony Hudson (Grand Ronde) – Portland, Oregon. Performance artist Anthony Hudson confronts supremacy, complacency and the confusion of “mixed” identities while promoting understanding and acceptance of the full spectrum of experiences and selves through drag, performance, video and theater.
  • Bently Spang (Tsitsistas/Suhtai [Northern Cheyenne]) – Billings, Montana. Installation, performance and video artist Bently Spang blends the sacred and seemingly mundane to interpret contemporary life as an Tsistsistas (Northern Cheyenne) man from his Montana studio.
  • Ciara Leina`ala Lacy (Kanaka Maoli) – Hawaii. Filmmaker Ciara Leina`ala Lacy (Kanaka Maoli) is driven by her commitment to social justice, representation, and culture. Her latest film Out of State explores complex questions such as cultural and religious identity and the overabundance of Native Hawaiians and minorities in the prison system.
  • Frank Waln (Sicangu Lakota) – Chicago, Illinois. Frank Waln is an indigenous American rapper, songwriter and activist from the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. He travels the world telling his story through performance and workshops focusing on self-empowerment and expression of truth.


  • Elizabeth Woody (Navajo / Wasco / Yakama, and an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs) – Warm Springs, Oregon. Poet, author, essayist and visual artist, Elizabeth Woody is also an educator and mentor, a collaborator and community leader. Her vivid and powerful poetry conveys the immediate impact of a brilliant intellect and an astounding use of language.
  • Heid E. Erdrich (Ojibwe/Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) – Minneapolis, Minnesota. Writer, storyteller, poet and multidisciplinary artist Heid E. Erdrich reaches audiences through her voice as a woman from both Ojibwe and American cultures. She gracefully tackles difficult subjects – the threats of mining and pipelines, Native invisibility, abuse, stalking, racism and fascism – utilizing poetry and prose.
  • Luci Tapahonso (Diné [Navajo]) – Santa Fe, New Mexico. Writer Luci Tapahonso is the inaugural Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation. Her work is primarily in English, but it is enriched and interspersed with words and phrases in Navajo and honors the rich legacy of the Diné people.
  • Michael Wasson (Nez Perce [Nimíipuu]) – Lenore, Idaho. Writer Michael Wasson sees poetry as his calling and act of creation to make space for indigenous artists – not merely in the Western canon, but as a counterweight to its violence and legacy.


  • Allison Akootchook Warden (Iñupiaq, Native Village of Kaktovik) – Anchorage, Alaska. Through the medium of rap and performance, interdisciplinary hip-hop artist Allison Warden engages her audience with stories and themes of the Iñupiaq people, paying homage to tradition while bringing a fresh perspective to contemporary issues.
  • Cary Morin (Crow) – Fort Collins, Colorado. Cary Morin is a songwriter, fingerstyle guitarist, vocalist, and recording artist who excels in live performance and storytelling. An enrolled member of the Crow Tribe and also Assiniboine, he has been described as one of the best acoustic pickers on the scene today.
  • Jeff Peterson (Native Hawaiian) – Kailua, Hawaii. Jeff Peterson is a slack key guitarist, composer, and educator. Raised on the island of Maui, he has made it his focus to study and share the rich history of musical influence in Hawai’i across generations.
  • Kalani Pe’a (Native Hawaiian) – Wailuku, Hawaii. Kalani Pe’a is a songwriter and vocalist who celebrates his language and heritage through music and visual arts. In 2017, he made history as the first Hawaii recording artist to ever win a Na Hoku Award & Grammy Award for the same album ~ his debut, E Walea.
  • Marques Hanalei Marzan (Native Hawaiian) – Honolulu, Hawaii. Fiber artist and cultural practitioner Marques Hanalei Marzan has dedicated his career to recovering and reviving the art of kōkō pu’upu’u , or rope and cordage vessels, both physical and metaphoric vessels for Native Hawaiian values. He draws upon the foundation of knowledge to bridge the traditions on the past with the innovations of the present.
  • Melissa S. Cody  (Navajo / Diné) – Flagstaff, Arizona. Melissa S. Cody is a fourth generation Navajo weaver who is recognized for her skill in traditional weaving techniques and the perfection of her weaves. Her fusion of eclectic contemporary themes with traditional Navajo tapestry design employs vivid color schemes and produces sharp geometric overlays.
  • Pōhaku Kaho`ohanohano (Native Hawaiian) – Makawao, Hawaii. Pōhaku Kaho`ohanohano, a practitioner and preservationist of traditional weaving, works and teaches from his studio on family land in Kahakuloa. In addition to his passion for weaving, he feels a very strong kuleana (responsibility) to teach and perpetuate the cultural practice in its authentic form.
  • Brian Adams (Iñupiaq) – Anchorage, Alaska. Brian Adams captures vivid portraits of contemporary life in the North, using photography to document the beauty and complexity of Indigenous life. Inspired by his family roots in Kivalina – a village of 350 people on the Northwest coast of Alaska – he trains his lens on subjects in an effort to counter the misinformation and stereotypes that surround Alaska Native peoples. 
  • Courtney M. Leonard (Shinnecock) – Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ceramicist and multimedia artist Courtney M. Leonard is a member of the Shinnecock Nation of Long Island, New York and uses her community’s historic and cultural ties to whales, water, and material sustainability as recurring themes throughout her extensive body of internationally acclaimed work.
  • Jim Denomie (Ojibwe) – Shafer, Minnesota. Jim Denomie is a painter and multimedia artist. He refers to his work portraying historical, political and social issues as “narrative paintings,” expressing a broad range of ideas and experiences with sly humor and an eye-popping palette.
  • Linda Infante Lyons (Alutiiq) – Anchorage, Alaska. Visual artist and painter Linda Infante Lyons’ work presents a modern vision of the sacred icon following centuries of artistic representation of Christian religious symbols and archetypes. She honors her diverse subjects with combinations representing her own unique cultural, religious and geographic experiences.
  • RYAN! Feddersen (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation [Okanogan and Arrow Lakes]) – Tacoma, Washington. RYAN! Feddersen is a mixed-media installation artist whose interactive and immersive artworks invite the viewer to engage both intellectually and creatively  with the irrationalities and hypocrisies of contemporary American culture.


Click here for the official press release, via PR Web.

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