LIFT – Early Career Support for Native Artists

We are what we imagine. Our very existence consists in our imagination of ourselves. Our best destiny is to imagine, at least, completely, who and what and that we are.

—N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa)

NURTURE, ELEVATE, UNFOLD

LIFT – Early Career Support for Native Artists program will provide invaluable support to early career Native artists with one-year awards to develop and realize new projects. Support for burgeoning artists is critical in developing fresh voices and envisioning the future of our respective Native practices. LIFT encourages artists to uplift communities, advance positive social change, point courageously toward environmental sustainability, and foster communal meaning making.

Following extensive research and strategic planning, LIFT refocuses NACF’s programmatic efforts to expand the potential of emergent Native artists. LIFT consists of a suite of activities that includes financial support, artist professional development, and artist convening. It is essential that artists in these stages of their practices be provided the opportunity to improve their craft, build their careers and cultivate their place as creative people within their communities.

We encourage artists who are shaping their practices and for whom the award may serve as a launching point in their career to apply.

Click here for more information about the LIFT program’s eligibility, application process, criteria, and FAQ.

NACF is grateful to the
Leon Polk Smith Foundation
for their support of the
LIFT – Early Career Support
for Native Artists program

2021 LIFT AWARDEES

Taylor Antone

One of few young Native animators in the country, Taylor Antone’s work addresses Indigenous underrepresentation and negative stereotypes in mass media.

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Del Curfman

Del Curfman wants his art to be seen by urban Indian and tribal communities, as well as non-Native communities, for a meaningful dialogue to be opened.

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Maya Rose Dittloff

Maya Rose Dittloff has dedicated her art, career, and work to advancing the conversation on Indigenous cinema.

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Cecily Engelhart

Cecily Engelhart is passionate about how methods of expression shape our understandings of ourselves and each other.

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Chelsea T. Hicks

Chelsea T. Hicks hopes to inspire the future of writing and publishing solely in an Indigenous language.

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Ursala Hudson

Ursala Hudson comes from a family of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers and traditional artists.

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Kalalea Ka’uhane

Kalalea’s music contains a diverse sound that is driven by cultural consciousness and world change.

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Olivia Komahcheet

Olivia Komahcheet is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer whose music spans numerous genres.

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Dawn E. LeBeau

Dawn E. LeBeau believes photography helps us to continue with a modern form of documentation for our Indigenous people.

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Carrie G. Lind

Carrie G. Lind works with clay to reconnect directly with the earth and as a way to connect with her people and heritage.

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Camas Logue

Camas Logue’s work invites audiences to see, not through colonial capitalist eyes, but from an Indigenous perspective, where land is our relative to be cared for and respected.

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Jessica (Tyner) Mehta

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is a multi-award-winning interdisciplinary artist and poet. Place, space, and personal ancestry inform much of her creative work.

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Gretchen Potter

While Gretchen Potter’s stories subvert that false narrative that Natives are of the past, she also aims for her work to go beyond challenging the insistent, tired tropes of Native Americans to explore universal questions of identity, loss, power, and agency.

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Monica Jo Raphael

Monica Jo Raphael is a culture bearer and fifth generation quill worker who learned the tradition of embroidering porcupine quills onto birch bark from her father and auntie.

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Henu Josephine Tarrant

Surrounded by a family of talented performers, Henu Josephine Tarrant was inspired to create from a very early age.

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Kellen Trenal

Kellen Trenal is a multi-disciplinary artist and performer with a strong focus in traditional niimíipuu, Nez Perce beading, weaving, and regalia construction.

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Richard D. York

Richard D. York is a contemporary painter and mixed-media artist who is driven to learn from traditional ways of making and share his knowledge and practices with his community.

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