MENTOR ARTIST FELLOWSHIP

INITIATIVE GOALS

Through the Mentor Artist Fellowship initiative, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation will:

  • Foster a viable Native arts environment and livelihood
  • Increase intergenerational transference of American Indian and Alaska Native artistic knowledge and cultural practices
  • Further sustain artistic and cultural heritage within Native communities
  • Meet our mission by promoting Native arts and cultural revitalization, perpetuation and appreciation within Native communities and the broader arts world

SHARING KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS & CULTURAL WISDOM

An incredible wealth of cultural heritage and creative expression is held and maintained in Native arts and cultures. As our Native American elders pass—and with the integration of non-tribal worldviews in our Native communities—Indigenous people are experiencing a dilution of cultural wisdom. So, passing the fire between generations, particularly in Native arts and cultures, is of vital importance. Historically, Native artists and culture bearers dedicated their time, resources, and support to teaching the next generation by passing on technical skills, arts practice, and cultural knowledge needed to perpetuate visual and traditional arts in the community.

Yet in today’s fast-paced and overloaded modern world, mentorships can be resourcefully challenging. While even the most established Native artist faces challenges, emerging artists are especially vulnerable: pressed for time, resources, and support, their ability to advance their skills and attain necessary knowledge is often limited. Thus, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Mentor Artist Fellowship is focused on creating formal, structured opportunities for the transfer of knowledge, and supporting artistic rigor that furthers cultural perpetuation and creative development.

NACF Mentor Artist Fellowships will perpetuate the continuity of traditional practices, languages, and cultural expressions in Native communities, and provide an avenue for a new generation of artists to invest and strengthen their artistic voice in the evolution of contemporary visual arts.

HOW THE INITIATIVE WORKS

Following an open call for established American Indian and Alaska Native artists working in traditional or contemporary visual arts, Mentor Artist Fellows are reviewed and selected in a competitive process involving a peer review panel. Mentor Artist Fellows and their chosen apprentices are selected to participate in a 15-month program of routine and structured sessions. To demonstrate the experience and success of the mentoring, a completed joint mentor and apprentice art project is required at the end of the fellowship period and is to be shared in a community engagement event or activity.

2020 MENTOR ARTIST FELLOWS

TahNibaa Naataanii

TahNibaa Naataanii is revitalizing Navajo weaving and strengthening community through practicing and sharing ancestral ways of weaving and pastoral lifeway processes.

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April Stone

A self-taught traditional basket weaver, April Stone has been researching, practicing, and teaching the endangered art of Black-Ash weaving for over two decades.

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Cliff Fragua

Sculptor Cliff Fragua is dedicated to advancing and perpetuating Jemez Pueblo traditions, values, arts and culture through his carvings and teachings.

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Nathan P Jackson

Nathan P. Jackson is a highly-regarded artist and culture bearer within the Tlingit community and well beyond.

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Gerald Clarke Jr.

Gerald Clarke Jr. expresses his Cahuilla perspective as a twenty-first century citizen of the world embracing the passion, pain, and reverence he feels as a contemporary Cahuilla person.

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Jackie Larson Bread

Jackie Larson Bread began beading at a young age, influenced first by her grandmother’s work, and then later incorporated the artistic skills she developed over the years into the intricate, pictorial-style beadwork she creates today.

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Earl Atchak

Earl Atchak is a traditional practitioner and an accomplished artist, who utilizes wood, ivory and other natural materials in his carvings, sculptures, and jewelry.

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Ral Takook Christman

Ral Takook Christman is an educator, fluent speaker of the Kumeyaay language, a lifelong traditional Bird-Singer, orator, and facilitator of traditional Kumeyaay tribal knowledge.

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Brenda Mallory

Brenda Mallory is a contemporary mixed-media artist who creates prints, sculptures, installations and other artistic forms from materials which she often deconstructs in order to put them back together again.

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Joe Feddersen

Joe Feddersen is a sculptor, painter, photographer and mixed-media artist known for creating artworks that reflect the landscape and his cultural heritage.

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Nani Chacon

Nani Chacon is a painter, muralist and educator who focuses on community-engaged work in the public art sector.

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TahNibaa Naataanii, Navajo
Heritage Storytelling cultural exchange project, Croatia, 2018. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Patrick Kruse, Ojibwe
2018 Mentor Artist Fellow
2018 Mentor Artist Fellow Cohort
Lily Hope & Anastasia Hobson-George, Tlingit
2018 Mentor Artist Fellow & Apprentice. Photo by Barbara Soulé
Nicholas Galanin, Tlingit
2017 Mentor Artist Fellow teaching chasing and repoussé
2018 SWAIA Indian Art Market
NACF Programs Director, Francene Blythe & 2017 Mentor Artist Fellow Delina White (Ojibwe)
Delina White, Ojibwe
2017 Mentor Artist Fellow Teaching appliqué
Mentor Artist Fellow Apprentice Retreat
2017 Mentor Artist Fellowship Apprentices
Lani Hotch and Apprentice Carrie Ann Durr
2018 Mentor Artist Fellow
Cara Romero, Chemehuevi
Julia, 2018. Created with apprentice Leah Rose Kolakowski during the Mentor Artist Fellowship year. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Dyani White Hawk & Jennie Kappenman
Mentor Fellowship Joint Project, Ogiishkimanisii (King Fisher), 2018. Photo courtesy of Dyani White Hawk.
Samuel Sheakley, Tlingit/Haida
Copper Mask created for the NACF Mentor Artist Fellowship under Mentor Nicholas Galanin's guidance. Photo courtesy of Samuel Sheakley.
Joy Campaigne, Mentor Fellow apprentice
Delina White and Joy Campaigne's Joint Art Project presentation in May 2018. Photo courtesy of Delina White.
Will Wilson, Navajo Nation
2018 Mentor Artist Fellow
David Naranjo & Jason Garcia
2018 Mentor Artist Fellow and Apprentice
Lily Hope & Anastasia Hobson-George, Tlingit
2018 Mentor Artist Fellow
Lily Hope & Anastasia Hobson-George, Tlingit
2018 Mentor Artist Fellow
Kathleen Carlo Kendall, Koyukon Athabascan
2018 Mentor Artist Fellow
Cara Romero, Chemehuevi
2017 Mentor Artist Fellow
April Stone, Ojibwe
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow
April Stone, Ojibwe
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow
Brenda Mallory, Cherokee
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow
Brenda Mallory (Cherokee)
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow
Cliff Fragua, Jemez Pueblo
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow
Earl Atchak, Cup'ik Eskimo
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow
Gerald Clarke, Cahuilla
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow
Jackie Bread, Blackfeet
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow
Jackie Bread (Blackfeet)
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow
Joe Feddersen, Colville
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow
Joe Feddersen (Colville)
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow
Nani Chacon, Diné
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow
Nani Chacon, Diné
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow
Nathan Jackson, Tlingit
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow
Ral Takook Christman, Kumeyaay
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow
TahNibaa Naataanii (Navajo)
2020 Mentor Artist Fellow

Thank You Initiative Partners

The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation is grateful to Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, The Ford Family Foundation, and to the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation for their support of the mentor program.

 

Partner with the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation to support a Mentor Artist Fellow in your state.

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