Mid-Year Highlights from Native Arts and Cultures

Blog, NACF

Wondering what keeps the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation staff so busy and inspired? What follows are just a few highlights reflecting our past year of work to revitalize, perpetuate and appreciate Native arts and cultures across the United States!

Fall 2016

Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Programs

  • Ongoing support of sixteen National Artist Fellows in visual arts, traditional arts, music, literature, and artistic innovation
  • Open Call for inaugural Mentor Fellowship Program, in ten states, in contemporary visual arts and traditional arts. Staff travel extensively through Southwest, Alaska, Upper Midwest, and Pacific Northwest to promote program and conduct outreach to Native-led arts organizations and centers
    Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts staff meet with Chickasaw Nation tribal members to educate Native artists on national and state-level funding, November 2016.
  • The NACF and the National Endowment for the Arts collaborate with the Chickasaw Nation to provide grant funding workshops to Native artists, culture bearers and Native-led organizations in Oklahoma

Notable Updates from NACF grantees:

  • Over 40 of NACF’s National Artist Fellows participated in advocacy efforts to support Standing Rock; multimedia artist Cannupa Hanska Luger (Mandan, Hisdatsa, Arikara, Lakota) gained national attention for designing a mirrored shield for Water Protectors on the front line, as well as creating an instructional video on how to make and send them to the Oceti Sakowin Camp
  • Return from Exile, a group exhibit featuring over 30 members of the Southeastern Indian Artists Association, adds venues in Oklahoma and North Carolina, filling its 2017 calendar
  • National Endowment for the Arts honors two NACF Fellows as National Heritage Fellows: weavers Clarissa Rizal (Tlingit) and Theresa Secord (Penobscot Nation)
To watch video: https://vimeo.com/192244819
To watch video: https://vimeo.com/192244819

Winter 2016 / 2017

Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Programs

  • Twelve Mentor Artist Fellows announced following competitive peer-review process
  • Community Inspiration Program: Documentaries by Native youth capturing the intersection of traditional lifeways, storytelling, and climate change, debut at several West Coast film festivals
  • Continued support and participation in the Vera List Center’s colloquia series Indigenous New York, Critically Speaking
Image courtesy Wisdom of the Elders.

Notable Updates from NACF grantees:

  • Documentary Through the Repellent Fence: A Land Art Film debuts at the Museum of Modern Art’s International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media; begins its national tour
  • Community Inspiration Program grantees Postcommodity are featured in the 2017 Whitney Biennial
  • Oyate Okodakiciyapi, a week-long performance and community engagement festival of Native dance, debuts in Minneapolis, Minnesota, featuring collaboration from NACF Fellows Rosy Simas (Seneca), and Christopher K. Morgan (Native Hawaiian)

rf-movieSpring & Summer 2017

Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Programs

  • Two-day 2016 National Artist Fellow Convening in Portland, Oregon, plus a semi-public Honoring Dinner held at the Portland Art Museum. Select post-convening feedback from Artist Fellows:
    • “I forged new relationships, many of which may turn into future collaborations. It also strengthened me in my own feelings of artistic isolation. Meeting and witnessing the work of several Native colleagues of multiple disciplines was empowering.”
    • “I’ve been wondering about the value – moreso the usefulness – of my own art. How am I, or simply am I actively making the world a better place? Does my work contribute to the movement of goodness in the world?… Over the course of our days in Portland, I was inspired, seeing, hearing, speaking with, and learning from the 2016 Fellows. Art IS necessary. Art CAN push goodness through the world in ways gentle and even violent when needed. And the Native artists supported by NACF are leading this charge, making art that heals, making art that’s a part of our solution.”
  • 2017 Mentor Artist Fellows and Apprentices convene in Portland, Oregon for multi-day trainings led by artists Theresa Secord (Penobscot Nation) and Cristobal Martinez of indigenous arts collective Postcommodity. Select post-convening feedback from Fellows:
    • “Brings up a conversations about greater issues/philosophical ideas/concepts that Indigenous artists think about but don’t necessarily get to voice their opinion or thoughts on in a positive or in group to confirm their beliefs or experiences navigating the art world, tribal communities.”
    • “The mentor trainings have been one of the best opportunities as an urban Native American Indian artist. Hearing from the tribal artists has been an enriching experience; artists sharing a rural artistic perspective. I have learned a lot from all of the artists.”
      2017 Mentor Artist Fellowship Training Session at Portland Art Museum. Photo credit: Mary Overman
      2017 Mentor Artist Fellowship Training Session at Portland Art Museum. Photo credit: Mary Overman
  • Release of indigenous arts program evaluation report, Progressing Issues of Social Importance Through the Work of Indigenous Artists and follow up via presentations and panels at Americans for the Arts, Philanthropy Northwest, Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums
  • Collaboration with Bioneers, to perform Hawaii poet laureate Kealoha Wong’s fusion of slam poetry, dance, visual art, and traditional chant, The Story of Everything, in California, in October 2017

Notable Updates from NACF grantees:

  • Dance/visual arts project Then A Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing at Stars debuts August 19, 2017 in New York City, a collaboration between 2011 Fellow Emily Johnson (Yup’ik) and 2015 Fellow Maggie Thompson (Fond du Lac Band of Minnesota Chippewa).
  • Portland Art Museum’s Center for Contemporary Native Art features “Connecting Lines,” a collaborative exhibit of two NACF Fellows and visual artists, Brenda Mallory (Cherokee Nation) and Luzene Hill (Eastern Band of Cherokee; at right during her performance for the installation), focusing on themes of disruption, violence against Native women, survival, renewal and empowerment.

Frankly, there are so many incredible things NACF grantees are up to that we highly recommend you check out our Facebook page for more excitement and inspiration. Great things are happening in the world of Native arts and cultures, and we at the NACF are humbled to support the innovators and leaders who are making a difference through their creativity.

Thank you to all those who donate to the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation – your gifts enable us to be the catalyst for groundbreaking American Indian, Native Hawaii and and Alaska Native art throughout the United States!