Photo courtesy of the McKnight Foundation
The American Indian Community Housing Organization are proud and humbled to be recognized as a "Regional Cultural Treasure" by the McKnight Foundation. and their generosity given to us.
Minnesota is home to incredible Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American-led arts organizations! The McKnight Foundation is recognizing and investing in Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American-Led Arts Organizations meeting this moment in time with imagination, persistence, and creativity.
“We use the term ‘Cultural Treasures’ with intention, to honor the diversity of expression and artistic excellence that these organizations contribute to the cultural vitality of our state, despite having historically experienced under-investment ,” said Tonya Allen, President of the McKnight Foundation. “As our arts institutions prepare to safely re-open after the pandemic, we’re thrilled to shine a spotlight on these remarkable organizations.”
AICHO strives to honor our ancestors, to reclaim our traditional art and support Indigenous People, and empower our community and the future generations to come. Miigwech, thank you, for the hard work that we collectively do to bring Indigenous arts - the first art of this land - into the forefront, into the light, and into the eyes, minds, and hearts of our communities. We are PROUD to stand with, and we congratulate, the 9 other organizations who received this funding. AICHO is grateful for the vision and leadership of our AICHO Board and the dedication of our AICHO staff, who not only provide services and support to our community, but also their work behind the scenes to support our art programming. Chi miigwech! Big thanks!
Chi miigwech to our contract staff/former Cultural Arts Coordinator Moira Villiard for nominating our organization for this funding, to all the brilliant and ah-mazing artists who have worked with AICHO since 2012 to transform Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin into the arts and cultural center it is today. And a special acknowledgement for our Arts and Cultural Arts Coordinator Ivy Vainio for her creative vision and keeping our Cultural Arts Programming alive and thriving especially during this past year.
Miigwech to the funding partners: McKnight Foundation, The Bush Foundation, Ford Foundation, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, The Minneapolis Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and Propel Nonprofits.
Daryl Olson, AICHO's Director of Programming, has organized several public health events at AICHO such as providing free saliva testing for the community. At AICHO's vaccination clinic, Olson has helped numerous elders including Portia Johnson. Photo by Ivy Vainio
Except from the Duluth News Tribune:
Groups most vulnerable to poor health outcomes are being prioritized for COVID-19 vaccinations by the local public health department.
St. Louis County Public Health is directing 20% of its COVID-19 vaccination allotments to people in minority and marginalized populations. The county is reaching underserved populations by partnering with community organizations aimed at serving those people.
It’s meant vaccination clinics at board and lodges, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and places such as the American Indian Community Housing Organization, which hosted a vaccination clinic earlier this month for its housing and shelter residents, and communities of color.
AICHO was featured on FOX21 for our Giwiidookoodaadimin "We help each other" COVID-19 Emergency Food Distribution.
The program provides food food boxes to the Duluth community. In addition to food boxes, households received disposable masks and cloth masks for adults and children, hand sanitizer, hand wipes, cleaning supplies and thermometers. We also provided families with baby essentials. Over the past month, AICHO has continued to distribute PPE to tribal communities, local non-profits, individuals and families across St. Louis County and Carlton County.
Read "AICHO Gives 400 Bags of Food to Those in Need" by FOX21
AICHO staff member Ivy Vainio was interviewed by the Minnesota Department of Health, discussing AICHO’s work in “Amplifying the Message” of COVID-19 safety measures to American Indians and beyond.
Vainio, a Grand Portage Band of Ojibwe direct descendant, leads AICHO's social media and community public health messaging. She has worked with Indigenous artists in helping AICHO provide artfully crafted messages that our Indigenous communities can connect with in partnerships with tribal, state, and county public health departments.
Read more of “Amplifying the Message: Integrating Art and Public Health to Protect the American Indian Community”
For more artwork created by AICHO-affiliated artists, visit the AICHO Artists' Response page.
Artwork by NSGRTS
Deanna Reder is the legal advocate for the American Indian Community Housing Organization. She shares her journey in advocating for victims of domestic violence.
This video was produced by WDSE WRPT.
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.
Click here to read more...
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
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