The Pine Ridge Arts Center is a partnership between Artspace, First Peoples Fund (a Native American 501c3 non-profit organization), Lakota Funds (a Native CDFI organization on Pine Ridge). Our goal is to create a space where Native artists can have access to studio space, computers for digital work and an electronic marketplace, classroom and gallery space. In order to meet the needs of artists living throughout the vast geographic area that is the Pine Ridge Reservation, the Pine Ridge Arts Center will consist of both a fixed arts center and a mobile arts lab.
In 2009, the Ford Foundation provided Artspace a grant to begin work targeted to meet the needs of three specific cultural communities; the American Indian community in the Northern Plains, the Native Hawaiian community in Hawaii and the African American community in central New Orleans. Unlike most of predevelopment grants, the Ford Foundation grant specifically identified engagement activities as a critical first step toward establishing the key relationships and understanding community arts facility needs.
Our work in the Northern Plains has evolved into strong relationships in both South and North Dakota. In North Dakota, our project in Minot includes work with Turtle Mountain Tribal Arts Association which has established an arts center and gallery space as an anchor tenant in the Minot Artspace Lofts.
In South Dakota, our work has resulted in a strong partnership with First Peoples Fund. In 2011, Artspace, First Peoples Fund and Colorado State University partnered to undertake a study of the American Indian creative economy. The goal of this study was 1) to document the depth of the creative economy in the Northern Plains Indian community and 2) to determine what space needs might exist within this economic sector.
What would be most helpful to increase the ability of a Native American artist to create and sell their art?
This study was funded by NWAF and LINC and was co-published with NWAF in August 2013.
The study identified a need for an Arts Center and mobile arts lab, now in operation.
"Art is the greatest asset Indian people have in our communities, yet it is the most underdeveloped."
-- Elouise Cobell, 1945-2011
Pine Ridge Arts Lab will provide a “portal” where artists can gain access to support. The Arts Lab will establish connections with other arts and cultural activities and institutions on Pine Ridge and in western South Dakota.
For the Lab to fully meet the needs on Pine Ridge, it must provide both a fixed (a centrally located structure in or near the community of Kyle, SD) and a mobile (a “bus” or other type of vehicle) solution.
The Arts Lab facility could include the following:
The Arts Lab should provide artist residency support space as follows
It is anticipated that the residency spaces would be provided within smaller ancillary structures surrounding main Arts Center structure.
The Mobile Art Unit could include the following:
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