A hip hop artist from the Rosebud Reservation found a welcome home at a Chinese dance center in New York City.

And a Northern Cheyenne artist found herself connected to the plight of Americans imprisoned at a relocation camp in Wyoming… and told their story through art.

Our Nation’s Spaces grants, offered by First Peoples Fund in 2012, have a way of bringing together unlikely people and ideas. The success of the program—with its innovative way of bringing artists and organizations together for collaboration—propelled the Ford Foundation to once again partner with First Peoples Fund to offer a new set of competitive grants right now.

“We are genuinely grateful to be partnering with the Ford Foundation once again for this grant program,” said Miranne Walker, program officer. “The reach and impact of Our Nation’s Spaces was wonderful to see. There is a lot of enthusiasm among organizations to apply for this new round of grants—we are eager to see what collaborations are proposed.”

The 2013-2015 Our Nation’s Spaces Grant Program application is now available online here. The program partners organizations with artists who spend time performing or competing works of art in the organization’s community. Grantees are eligible for up to $20,000.

The mission of this particular grant program is to empower organizations to work creatively with artists, explained Walker.

“In New York City this year, the Chen Dance Center welcomed hip hop artist Frank Waln to work with dance students of all ages,” Walker said. “Frank said he is happy to be part of a program that not only gives him the opportunity to share his culture and art, but also encourages up-and-coming Native artists to step out of their comfort zone and use their voices in a positive way.

“In Wyoming,” she added, “Heart Mountain Relocation Camp staff have told us that the simple, beautiful traditional ledger artwork by Alaina Buffalo Spirit helped visitors connect with the past and paint a picture of how art can be used to tell the story of Native people.”

The application deadline is September 30, 2013, and projects must be completed by April 1, 2015. The program has been used by organizations to bridge gaps among different ethnic groups, to promote diversity, to establish art programs in local communities, and to support artists of all mediums.

For more information about the Our Nation’s Spaces grant, click here. Interested organizations can contact Miranne Walker at (605) 348-0324 or email miranne@firstpeoplesfund.org to choose an art medium and artist who would be the right fit for the space and audience. Applicants must put together a budget for the program and upload it while filling out the online application at www.facebook.com/firstpeoplesfund.

Our Nation’s Spaces selected grantees will be notified mid-October.