The only way to get change is not through the courts or—heaven forbid—the politicians, but through a change of human consciousness and through a change of heart. Only through the arts […] can we really reach each other.

― Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo)


The SHIFT – Transformative Change and Indigenous Arts program supports artist and community-driven projects responding to social, environmental or economic justice issues through a Native lens. The program focuses on efforts that are built upon community cultural assets, resilience and strengths and draw increased attention to Native communities, perspectives and challenges, shifting a national narrative of invisibility, misunderstanding and misappropriation. SHIFT provides invaluable resources for project development, production and presentation for the artists and their collaborators.

Resistance is its own reward.

– Haunani-Kay Trask (Native Hawaiian)

Following extensive research and strategic planning, SHIFT refocuses NACF’s programmatic efforts to embolden Native artists and stakeholder voices, to nurture their brilliance, to draw upon the resilience of our ancestors, to uplift the innovative spirit in our Native communities, and ultimately to foster education and healing for ourselves and our allies. NACF understands that the work of Native artists is critical to the greater contemporary arts discourse, the stewardship of our planet, and equity in our greater society. SHIFT then builds a more intensive body of support to limit constraints and provide crucial time and space for the realization of the artists’ work in partnership with other collaborators.

The program includes multi-year services for Native artists, cultural practitioners, and community partners, and allows for artists to consider more expansive projects and broad-based platforms for community engagement and presentation, while continuing to drive essential conversation on national and global issues.

We encourage artists who have experience developing projects that are focused on engaging communities and the public to address community issues; building upon community strengths; and partnering with organizations to develop and present the work to apply.


For more information about the SHIFT program’s eligibility, application process, criteria, and FAQ click on the link below!

Download a pdf of the SHIFT open call flyer!

Frank Waln (Sicangu Lakota)
2018 NACF National Artist Fellows Honoring Dinner


The SHIFT program consists of a two-year suite of support services that includes financial resources, professional development, artist/stakeholder convening, cross-sector collaboration, evaluation, exhibiting and presenting.

  • Applicants will submit a Letter of Interest (LOI), describing the project’s intent and scope, the issues addressed, its intended communities, the artists and collaborators, the anticipated timeline and provide a brief budget.
  • After review, finalists will be invited to submit full proposals.
  • The finalists will submit a full proposal that will outline the project activities in greater detail.
  • Full proposals will be reviewed by a panel of arts peers and professionals and up to 10 projects will be selected to receive support.
  • Projects will commence in late 2021 and be presented/premiered by late 2023.

For eligibility criteria and an application overview, CLICK HERE.

Header – Cara Romero (Chemehuevi)