Community Spirit Award Honoree Marie Meade

Brightening the Spotlight

The practices and needs of American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native creators in the performing arts.

read the report


about the report

Our newest report Brightening the Spotlight — led by First Peoples Fund in partnership with researchers from NORC at the University of Chicago, and funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation — shares key findings and lessons from extensive interviews with a diverse set of Native creators. This in-depth report is based on interviews with 46 Native creators and experts across various creative art forms, geographic locations, tribal affiliations, and years of experience.

A portrait of Tanaya Winder (Southern Ute, Pyramid Lake Paiute, Diné, and Duckwater Shoshone Nations) playing an acoustic steel string guitar guitar.
A portait of theater artist Kenny Ramos (Barona Band of Mission Indians / Kumeyaay Nation)
A portait of  Kalani Peʻa (Kānaka Maoli) singing.

Key findings

Current funding and presenting opportunities do not meet the needs of many Native creators.

Native creators want and deserve to work with partners who treat them as professionals and who trust in their creative decision-making.

Over half of interviewees recommend that more Natives and culturally knowledgeable non-Natives be involved in funding decisions.

Native creators do more than perform. Native creators play a wide range of roles in their communities, keeping traditions alive, promoting health and economic opportunities and educating non-Native audiences.

Brightening the Spotlight qualitively recognizes what many Indigenous-led organizations have known through the years. We hope this study will usher in meaningful conversations and changes to grantmaking practices that better support and uplift Native creators and Indigenous arts and culture.

read the report

ICT Newcast Highlight

I consider myself more than just a performing artist. I consider myself an advocate for our culture, a steward of our way of life, the beauty of our songs and dances and the honor and respect of our traditional ways.

If there's no word for art, all you can be [is] a human being.

I am constantly experiencing that push and pull of, like, this is traditional, this is not traditional, can the two come together, can they coexist, is that right, am I diluting the traditional or am I strengthening it, am I evolving it?

in the funding world... it's still separated: there's arts, and there's... the services we're giving community. And we are stuck in the middle and not getting the funding we need.