July 12, 2017 (489 days ago)
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Colorado, United States
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First Nations Awards 18 Native Arts Initiative Grants Totaling $465,000

LONGMONT, Colorado (July 12, 2017) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) recently awarded 15 Supporting Native Arts grants and three professional development mini-grants to Native American tribes and organizations under First Nations’ Native Arts Initiative (NAI). Launched in early 2014, the purpose of the NAI is to support the perpetuation and proliferation of Native American arts, cultures and traditions as integral to Native community life. Funding for this project is provided in part by Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies.

NAI grantees will utilize their grants to strengthen their organizational and programmatic infrastructure and sustainability to reinforce their role in supporting the field of Native arts and artists as culture bearers in their communities, and ultimately, the perpetuation and proliferation of traditional Native arts, traditions and cultures. In addition to financial support, the NAI grantees will receive individualized training and technical assistance as well as professional development opportunities for staff members. 

The new Supporting Native Arts grantees are:

  1. American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO), Duluth, Minnesota, $32,000 – The funding will support AICHO’s ongoing Native arts project and will focus on showcasing and supporting traditional art forms in collaboration with Native artists and elders in the community.
  2. The Hopi School, Inc., Hotevilla, Arizona, $32,000 – The grant will strengthen both The Hopi School’s current arts programming and organizational capacity by providing support for Hopi artists to teach youth about endangered Hopi arts and how to create these art forms, and funding organizational strategic planning and training for The Hopi School board and financial management activities for the organization.
  3. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico, $32,000 – The center will use the grant to support its Daily Artist Program by providing Native artists with an Investing in Artist Success workshop series in which 20 artists will gain tools to promote themselves as artist, market their work, submit their work in art shows, and build professional portfolios.
  4. Keya Foundation Inc., Eagle Butte, South Dakota, $32,000 – The funding will support the foundation’s Learning from the Best - Native Artists Learning Together project, which will offer Native artists in the community four peer-learning, educational meetings at the Lakota Cultural Center on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. Established, experienced Native American artists and other professionals from the community will work with beginning/emerging artists on topics to include portfolio-building, inventory management, gallery work, presenting themselves and their art in different settings, business preparation and development, and skill-building.
  5. Little Eagle Arts Foundation (LEAF), Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, $22,000 – This project will use the funding to focus on the complete inventory process of LEAF's art collection, a teaching compendium for Native artists in which two LEAF staff members will oversee the inventory process and the organization's use of objects as educational resources to Native artists, resulting in a professionally inventoried collection of Native art that will be accessible to Native artists and local educational institutions.
  6. Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Keshena, Wisconsin, $24,000 – The Menominee Historic Preservation Department and Cultural Museum will use the grant to provide a series of traditional Menominee arts workshops taught by artist instructors and organize a strategic planning session with local Native artists, resulting in guidance and direction to better support and promote local Native arts in the future.
  7. Native Americans for Community Action, Inc. (NACA), Flagstaff, Arizona, $32,000 – The grant will support NACA’s ongoing management of the Oak Creek Vista Vendor Project in partnership with the Coconino National Forest. NACA will provide new Navajo, Hopi and Zuni artist vendors with quarterly vendor orientations to enhance their personal and professional skills to better prepare them to sell their art at the Oak Creek Vista Overlook. The project will also support the NACA Master Apprenticeship Program in which a master jewelry artist will teach 20 members of the community how the artist’s particular style of art is created, and participants will learn how to make other simple traditional Native jewelry pieces.
  8. Santa Fe Indian School, Leadership Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico, $32,000 – The grant will support six objectives of the institute’s Art & Archaeology Academy. Under this project, the institute will convene 50 artists at a two-day art institute in which artist participants reflect on the past, present and future of traditional arts in Pueblo communities, the creation of a high school arts curriculum based on the learnings at the art institute and the implementation of the Art & Archaeology Academy’s student and mentor art exhibition and conservation in partnership with the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. The project will also survey up to 200 Pueblo artists during the 2017 Pueblo Market to gain a better understanding of their views and strategies on preserving traditional Pueblo art forms.
  9. Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation, Suquamish, Washington, $32,000 – The grant will support the Suquamish Museum’s artist-in-residence program in which a Native artist will be selected to produce his/her art work in public view at the museum and will offer regular, hands-on workshops to teach skills to artists and other community members       
  10. Tulalip Foundation, Tulalip, Washington, $20,000 – This project will grow the community of Native artists working in the Tulalip reservation and surrounding area by developing an arts curriculum. Through a series of artist-led workshops, the tribe’s Hibulb Cultural Center will provide the space and opportunity for dedicated individuals interested in learning more and exploring their artistic sides.
  11. Turtle Mountain Tribal Arts Association (TMTAA), Belcourt, North Dakota, $32,000 – TMTAA organized and hosted its first annual juried art show in 2016 and will utilize the funding to continue the show in 2017 with seven divisions including Fine Art, Sculpture, Mixed Media, Textiles, Diversified Arts, Beadwork, Baskets for adult artists and four divisions for youth artists (age 7-17). Under this project, the show will offer additional services to participating artists including a training component in which TMTAA staff members work with Native artists on strategies for developing successful art show applications, maximizing sales, and presenting their artwork for optimal sales. The trainings will also support youth/adult mentorships with established artists to help prepare emerging youth artists for the juried art show and other shows.       
  12. Upper Sioux Community, Granite Falls, Minnesota, $32,000 – The funded project, Gathering and Healing Through Arts, will support two goals: increasing access to and awareness and appreciation of Dakota arts in the Upper Sioux community through hosting artist gatherings and showcasing community artists and their art; and increasing the intergenerational transfer of Dakota arts by supporting a communal artist space and nurturing the teaching and sharing of artistic and cultural practices through traditional and contemporary Dakota art forms.    
  13. Warm Springs Community Action Team, Warm Springs, Oregon, $32,000 – The grant funds will support the efforts of the Warm Springs Artisans' Community to incorporate as a nonprofit utilizing cooperative principles; provide opportunities for Native artists to sell their work locally, regionally and online; and provide education and training to increase artists' knowledge of cooperative principles, business and marketing strategies, and sales techniques.       
  14. Woodland Indian Art, Inc., Oneida, Wisconsin, $32,000 – The 11-year-old Woodland Indian Art Show & Market will utilize the funds to work with arts advisory councils at the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe and the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to expand Woodland Indian art events for Native artists with the goal of creating the infrastructure necessary to establish a traveling Woodland Indian Art Show and Market based on the WIA model and in partnership among Woodland Indian tribes in Wisconsin.       
  15. Zuni Youth Enrichment Project (ZYEP), Zuni, New Mexico, $32,000 – During the grant period, ZYEP’s six-member master artist committee will undergo training to learn how to create, disseminate and select requests for proposals for traditional Zuni art work that will ultimately be created by local artists in the tribe’s Hon A-wan Park to ensure that the park reflects Zuni's rich artistic tradition and provides a space for future art creation. After artists are selected, the master artist committee will oversee the development of traditional Zuni artwork in the Hon A-wan Park and provide the contracted artists with technical expertise and training.

The new professional development grantees are:

  1. Native POP: People of the Plains, A Gathering of Arts and Culture, Rapid City, South Dakota, $5,000 – Native POP will utilize the professional development grant to strengthen the leadership and governance capacity of Native POP Organizing Committee members by engaging them in a board development training and strategic planning process. These activities will also position committee members to set priorities for Native POP's future.
  2. Shallow Gallery Advisory Council, Gallup, New Mexico, $5,000 – The Shallow Gallery is an innovative exhibit space in Gallup featuring rising-star Native artists who address relevant issues in their work. The professional development grant will be used to support a strategic planning training for the Shallow Gallery Advisory Council, and one Advisory Council member will attend the 2017 Western Museum Association Conference to gain capacity in leadership, governance and management.
  3. Yavapai-Apache Nation, Camp Verde, Arizona, $5,000 – The professional development grant will be used to formalize the Yavapai-Apache Nation’s Artist Coordination Team, which will be comprised of local Yavapai-Apache artists, and provide the team with strategic planning training to gain leadership skills. The trainings will position the team to inform the direction of the tribe’s future arts programming, identify ways the tribe can work with its artists, and raise the community’s awareness of traditional Yavapai-Apache art.

About First Nations Development Institute

For 37 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage, or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit


Program Contact:
Catherine Bryan, First Nations Senior Program Officer or (303) 774-7836 x201

Media Contact: 
Randy Blauvelt, First Nations Senior Communications Officer or (303) 774-7836 x213


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