Blog

4.22.16

Inaugural Native Arts in New England Gathering

Dawn Spears
Coordinator

 

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On Saturday April 9th amid much camaraderie, Northeast Indigenous Arts Alliance (NIAA) in partnership with New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) joined for the inaugural Native Arts in New England Gathering. With over 55 artists registered to attend and many last minute inquiries, we had a fantastic turnout. From the very beginning of the day, there was a clear sense of connectedness between all the participants and a quick viewing of one episode of APTN’s Askiboyz series.  As the meeting opened, I shared how NIAA was born from my prior work as the Program Manager for the Native Arts program at NEFA. This was a moment of reckoning for me. For so long, I had been working toward making NIAA a reality. Finally I could share my vision with those who the work was intended to assist.

This event also marked the first official convening for NIAA. It reminded me how much I love this work, connecting artists, advocacy, and most important, listening to what the needs and concerns are in our arts community. Our meeting provided artists networking time, updates from NIAA, time to share NEFA’s CreativeGround online directory, as well as tasting culinary treats from Chef Sherry Pocknett, (Wampanoag). Artists supported NIAA’s work by signing up for membership and offering their assistance in multitude of ways. 

 

2016 is a year of many firsts for NIAA; we have a new website, new logo, great new partnerships, and exciting events coming this spring!

In January we launched our website. Our website is a “showspace” for artists with each page featuring art from our region. Plans to expand the site are in the works. Soon we will include artist profiles, an artist location map, a resources page, and an online marketplace.

Our logo represents the connection of artists. The color is warm and bright, like the light of a new day. The design is a new basket design that brings in the color of wampum. The symbol itself represents meeting and connecting. Overall the logo represents new beginnings, raising awareness, and increasing the visibility of indigenous arts here in New England; the northeast.

One of NIAA’s most significant updates is the upcoming IFAM East - Indigenous Fine Art Market East which will take place May 20 – 22, 2016. One of NIAA’s overarching goals was to build a large market on the East coast. I proposed this idea to IFAM and in just one year, it has become a fantastic reality. IFAM is expected to be the largest 3-day juried Native art show and celebration on the East coast. The show will include 90 artists representing 50 nations. The unique aspect of IFAM(E) is the inclusion of visual, performing, and culinary arts as well as film. For information visit indigefam.org.

kutapatush (thank you) to those who have worked, volunteered and supported NIAA: NEFA, Trudie Lamb Richmond, Betsy Richards, Meredith Vasta, Loren Spears, Sarah Long Holland, Tailinh Agoyo, Cassius Spears, Jr., Endawnis Spears, Michael Johnson, Kiowa Spears, Misheashkedht Brown, Kimberly Shockley, Betty Johnson, Rick Pouliot, and Judy Dow. Our artist community has come together to create something important and wonderful and we are grateful.