Tomaquag Museum Receives NEFA’s Native Arts Program Grant for Exploration of Consortium

The Exeter, RI. Tomaquag Museum has been awarded $3000 by the New England Foundation for the Arts as a planning grant along with other five Native-led organizations to support the exploration of supporting New England Native artists through the formation of a regional consortium. These awards mark the final round of grant-making for the Native Arts program, which comes to a close on June 1, 2014. Support for Native American artists will continue to be available through other NEFA programs and services.

Tomaquag Museum has agreed to be part of the six to eight month planning process which will be led by NEFA Native Arts program manager Dawn Spears (Narragansett), who will transition to a consultant role after June 1. The other organizations awarded with Tomaquag Museum are Aquinnah Cultural Center , Aquinnah, MA; Gedakina – offices in VT, MA, and ME; Maine Indian Basketmakers Association, Old Town, ME; and Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center , Mashantucket, CT.

“NEFA’s Native Arts program was designed with participation by the region’s Native American leaders in 2005-2006,” said board chair Larry Simpson. “It is our belief that a consortium of Native-led organizations will be better positioned to support the field, leverage resources, and continue the important work the program has done since 2007.”

NEFA’s Native Arts program has had many achievements including provided over $350,000 through 131 grants to 74 artists and nine organizations representing over 35 tribes through regional, national, and master-apprentice grant-making areas. It has brought visibility to the region’s artists and their art through advocacy, press, and social media and re-connected diverse Native communities around the region via numerous workshops, gatherings, professional development opportunities, technical assistance, and conferences.

“I have been involved in this program in many ways over the years from the advisory council, as a grantee organization, and an arts presenter at the artists gatherings, Creative Communities Exchange and other Native Arts at NEFA events,” said Lorén Spears (Narragansett) the Executive Director of Tomaquag Museum.  “I am excited to be part of the next phase of the Native Arts New England program through the establishment of this new consortium.”

About the Native Arts program
Guided by Native staff and advisers and fueled by a commitment to increase the visibility, self-determination, and sustainability of Native artists and art forms, NEFA’s Native Arts program has supported projects that nurture artistic exchange, community development, youth engagement, environmental resource research and preservation, cultural preservation, and artistic innovation. The Native Arts program was made possible with lead funding from the Ford Foundation’s Indigenous Knowledge and Expressive Culture program from 2005 to 2013, with additional support from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Anonymous donors.