Roxanne Best (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation) is a photographer, culinary artist, and storyteller. She grew up on the Colville Indian Reservation, then spent a season of life as a scuba diving instructor where she took underwater photos and video at the Turks and Caicos Islands. She later moved to Kauai, Hawai’i where she honed her cooking and photography skills.
Peter Williams (Yup’ik) produces high-end fur garments that blur the line between art and fashion. He has demonstrated the technique of sewing seal and sea otter fur by hand at museums, cultural centers, and to Alaska Natives at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In 2015, he presented at New York Fashion Week and was profiled in The Guardian. His first runway show was at Brooklyn Fashion Week, 2016.
Every year, First Peoples Fund welcomes a new cohort of artists who embody the Collective Spirit® and live out the traditional values at the heart of our work — generosity, wisdom, respect, integrity, strength, fortitude and humility. We offer two grant programs for artists: Artist in Business Leadership and Cultural Capital.
This year, we are pleased to welcome artist leaders whose art takes many forms, and those who are investing in the cultural capital of their communities.
2017 has been a year of reflection for First Peoples Fund. In August, our founder Jennifer Easton passed away, far too early. First Peoples Fund has changed the lives of thousands of Native artists, culture bearers and their families — as they have changed ours — since Jennifer’s founding in 1995. We are proud and deeply grateful to be part of carrying on her vision.
A talented and well-respected artist, Cliff Fragua (Jemez Pueblo) received a 2017 Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Award (CSA). Held in the New Mexico Jemez Pueblo community, the gathering recognized Cliff’s service, life, and art. Over the past 40 years, Cliff has demonstrated his dedication to helping Native artists whether through his award-winning art, committee and volunteer work, or teaching.
A fresh look — evolved, expanded, and with room to grow. First Peoples Fund recently completed a revision of our Native Artist Professional Development Training curriculum, weaving in the business needs of performing artists. As the number of these artists coming in for training increased, we recognized the call to address their unique business development needs. Read more.
A collaborative of Rapid City-based nonprofits is seeking a Native artist affiliated with a South Dakota tribe to carve and/or sandblast a piece of granite located in the center of a Lakota medicine in front of Main Street Square in downtown Rapid City. The artist will be selected by a committee made up of representatives from First Peoples Fund and Native POP Art Market and Cultural Celebration. The project is privately funded and the artist’s fee, to include all materials and fabrication costs, is $30,000.