Gifts of the Northern Sun Exhibit: Call for Art
The sun is a source of enormous common wealth. It grows our food; it warms our water. And now, with solar energy technology, we have a new way to gather and share the sun’s abundant gifts. The Solar Commons Research Project and the American Indian Community Housing Organization are inviting Native artists of all ages who live in, or identify with Northern Minnesota to contribute art images that express to them, the idea of 'gathering the sun' in an online exhibit called "Gifts of the Northern Sun." Anyone who feels inspired to share an image and some written reflections can participate - you don't need to be a professional artist, but professional artists are welcome to share their vision too. Learn more at the exhibit website: https://arcg.is/0vfXKS
LeAnn Littlewolf at the Paul Wellstone Memorial Site in Eveleth, Minn.
Jaida Grey Eagle for MPR News
Throughout November, MPR News is featuring Indigenous Minnesotans making history to celebrate Native American Heritage Month.
LeAnn Littlewolf, 47, is the economic development director at the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) in Duluth, Minn. She is from the Anishinaabe Gaa-zagaskwaajimekaag Band of Ojibwe.
Littlewolf sees her work at AICHO as her cultural values in action.
“All of the answers are in our culture, the path forward is in our origin story. We do economic development but we do it in an Indigenous way,” she said.
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Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation AND MCKNIGHT FOUNDATION CREATE “ART IN THIS PRESENT MOMENT” IN support of BIPOC artists
Photo by Moira Villiard, selected. artist alongside Michelle Defoe for a Lincoln Park mural project.
Initiative seeks to amplify the voices and experiences of Minnesota artists by placing
a spotlight on their music, dance and visual arts
St. Paul, Minn. – Aug. 18, 2020 – The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation (the Foundation), in partnership with the McKnight Foundation, today announced “Art in This Present Moment,” an initiative supporting and celebrating Minnesota artists whose work addresses social issues, particularly those relevant in this moment of time. Their work will be featured on the Foundation’s website in early October.
With the intent of placing a spotlight on artistic expression, the Foundation and McKnight Foundation are investing in Minnesota artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and their art. Current crises have hit BIPOC communities especially hard. Black, Asian and Latinx communities continue to be hospitalized for COVID-19 at a rate significantly higher than the white population. Additionally, with the closures of arts venues and cancellations of in-person events, artists have lost income.
“During challenging and turbulent times, artists have been on the forefront of expressing our community’s demand for change,” said Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Foundation. “In the wake of COVID-19 and the aftermath of George Floyd’s tragic murder, Minnesota artists have continued this tradition. It is imperative that we amplify their voices by supporting their work as they memorialize and mark this moment.”
Twelve nonprofit arts organizations were invited by the Foundation to select member artists who will receive funding as participants in “Art in This Present Moment.” Over the course of six weeks, the artists will share new or in-progress work by using the hashtag #ArtInThisMoment. At the conclusion of the project, their work will be documented and found at www.spmcf.org/art.
“The diversity of artists and artwork is gorgeous, provocative, and astounding, but not surprising, given the rich artistic environment we have in Minnesota,” said Pamela Wheelock, interim president of the McKnight Foundation. “We are pleased to join forces with the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation and with artists whose work inspires and gives us hope for a more equitable tomorrow.”
Participating organizations include American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO), Brownbody, Catalyst Arts, Don’t You Feel It Too, Gizhiigin Arts Incubator, Indigenous Roots, Million Artist Movement, Monkeybear’s Harmolodic Workshop, Penumbra Center for Racial Healing, Soomaal House of Art, TruArtSpeaks, and Walker|West
About the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation
The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation believes in the best of Minnesota and the power of its communities. With roots in Saint Paul and partners across the state, it is Minnesota’s largest community foundation and the partner of choice for thousands of donors, nonprofits and community organizations. The Foundation aspires to create an equitable, just and vibrant Minnesota where all communities and people thrive by inspiring generosity, advocating for equity, and investing in community-led solutions. Visit: spmcf.org
About the McKnight Foundation
The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. Established in 1953, the McKnight Foundation is deeply committed to advancing climate solutions in the Midwest; building an equitable and inclusive Minnesota; and supporting the arts in Minnesota, neuroscience, and international crop research. Visit www.McKnight.org
Miigwech to Tashia Hart, Red Lake Nation tribal member and artist, for this virtual beadwork tutorial. This tutorial will be used in our Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin (social distanced) beading classes and also placed on social media to help bring cultural connections and art practices to our community. This vid is under 2 hours long. We encourage you to try beading and follow this tutorial. It's bound to bring healing to you.
Miigwech to our funder Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Behavioral Health Division. For more information on Tashia Hart: tashiahart.com.
Why We Need to Center Racial Equity in the Climate Movement
By Aimee Witteman
Note: Last month, we announced that Aimee Witteman, Midwest Climate & Energy program director, will step down from her position on July 30, 2020. After 10 years with McKnight, Aimee is pivoting to new adventures. Following are Aimee’s parting reflections on the climate movement and climate philanthropy, including her thoughts on McKnight’s newly expanded climate grantmaking.
As I wind down my time at the McKnight Foundation and engage in reflection and planning for what’s next, I’m deeply moved by the transformation happening across our country. The Covid-19 pandemic and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Aubrey—among countless others—have laid bare the painful inequities and structural racism that have persisted for centuries, including right here in Minnesota. At the same time, thanks to creative young organizers and the Movement for Black Lives, who have nurtured underlying social movement conditions for years, we also find ourselves in a time of deep possibility. We are living in what Black Lives Matter cofounder Alicia Garza and others have called a moment of “uprising, reckoning, and change.”
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AICHO received a $78,122 grant from the First Nations Development Institute in support of our Indigenous FOods Market, set to open in late 2020. Read more...
Our Annual Winter Market was a huge success, despite having to schedule around the winter storm of the decade! Miigwech to all who supported the over 30 artists who participated and who celebrated with us as we expanded Indigenous First Art & Gifts!
Click here to download accompanying slides
In the United States, there are 573 distinct federally recognized tribal nations, so the communities covered by the phrase “Indian Country” are many and varied. So too are the innovations that are emerging from these communities. This webinar, recorded on November 21, 2019, shows how Native American activists are building food hubs, creating marketplaces that feature indigenous foods, and restructuring markets so that Native artisans and producers achieve far greater benefit from their labor.
Following the interview, NPQ Senior Editor Steve Dubb facilitates a panel with three expert speakers: Nick Hernandez, Lakota, Director of Makoce Agriculture Development (Pine Ridge, South Dakota); LeAnn Littlewolf, Ojibwe, Economic Development Director of the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) in Duluth, Minnesota; and Hayes Lewis, Zuni Pueblo, Executive Director of A:shiwi College and Career Readiness Center (near Gallup, New Mexico).
This webinar explores:
Martin Jennings, Northwest Area Foundation, Native CDFI program: https://www.nwaf.org/portfolio/nativecdfi-2
LeAnn Littlewolf, American Indian Community Housing Organization
(Niiwin Indigenous Food Market)
Nick Hernandez, Makoce Agriculture Development
Hayes Lewis, A:shiwi College & Career Readiness Center
Additional resource recommended by LeAnn Littlewolf:
A Guide to Tribal Co-operative Development (published by the Minnesota Indigenous Business Alliance)
Watch all the previous webinars of NPQ’s Remaking the Economy series here.
Keep tabs on some of the exciting things happening at AICHO! Blog posts managed by volunteers as they are available.