NASAA Notes: February 2024

February 6, 2024

Washington: Tribal Cultural Affairs Program

Marvin Oliver, Quinault/Isleta, Reaching for the Stars, 1999. Reaching for the Stars uses traditional Northwest Coast designs and motifs. Oliver noted that the print was created to represent “the Raven in the colorful clouds bringing the moon and the stars up into the sky. Raven’s friend, the Eagle, is represented in the black circle surrounding Raven. The black circle represents traditional argillite stone plates that were elaborately carved in the Queen Charlotte Islands, Haida.” Artwork copyright Marvin Oliver. Photo courtesy of Washington State Arts Commission

State arts agencies have a directive to recognize the rich tapestry of culture that exists within their states and support access to the creative economy for all constituents. In a first-of-its-kind program, the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) has created a Tribal Cultural Affairs program to support tribal communities and Indigenous artists in expanding community-directed access to economic opportunities.

The Tribal Cultural Affairs program aligns with ArtsWA’s 2022-2027 Strategic Plan goal to “Deepen Relationships with Tribes” via hiring a tribal cultural affairs manager and expanding tribal engagement through programs. The new program will work with Indigenous communities in Washington to develop relevant and effective programming. To foster relationships between ArtsWA and the 29 federally recognized tribes that share geography with Washington, ArtsWA has hired a new, full-time staff member to direct the program. Funding for the new staff position and for program administration was allocated in 2023 through a dedicated legislative appropriation of $1.7 million. Of that amount, $1 million is dedicated solely to grant funds each biennium.

The program’s first pilot project, the Tribal Arts Grant, will work to expand arts participation, support artistically diverse projects and facilitate Indigenous communities’ access to the creative economy. The grant is open only to federally recognized tribes within Washington state, and up to $18,000 has been set aside for each tribe. Applications are adjudicated on completeness only; the funding is not competitive. Grants do not require a match and can support a wide range of activities, including artist fees, rent and capital expenses, travel, and start-up costs for Native/Indigenous artists. Technical assistance is available to support preparation of the application. For more information, contact Tribal Cultural Affairs Manager Cheryl Wilcox, Cowlitz.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

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