Introducing the 2024 Dreamstarter Creatives: Empowering Native Voices

Introducing the 2024 Dreamstarter Creatives: Empowering Native Voices

Dreamstarter Creative was first announced in 2021 as a Dreamstarter companion program specifically designed to support Native American arts, crafts, and creativity. So far, we have granted a total of $50,000 to 20 Native American artists to support their artistic journeys. Past grants have supported artists in learning new skills, starting and growing businesses, hosting classes and community groups, and providing artists with critical supplies for their craft. This year, we are continuing our support with another $25,000 in grants to 10 new creatives.

This year, 2024 Dreamstarter Creatives are focused on sharing, representing, and preserving both traditional and modern Native stories. We believe that art is an intrinsic part of Native American culture, and Native artists are cultural stewards. Each tribe has its own symbols, motifs, and aesthetics that help tell the stories of their rich culture and history. These 10 new Dreamstarter Creatives are using their unique skills to celebrate and carry on this legacy.

Ashlen Hicks

Hicks’ Dream is to promote healing and connection to culture through sewing and beadwork. Her project, “Matriarch Circle”, will be a two-part project. She will create a personal series of intricate ribbon skirts pieced with traditional beadwork, each telling a unique story of resilience, cultural pride, and empowerment. She will also provide ribbon skirt and beading workshops to a small group of Choctaw women to provide teachings, and a create a supportive, safe space to heal via cultural practices.

Aubree Fasthorse

Fasthorse’s dream is to relearn and teach traditional cultural practices, through cradleboard in a two part project. She will create a set of traditional cradleboards, using traditional materials and adorning them with Ioway floral patters. She will also be documenting the process of creating the cradleboards, recording the stories and histories of cradleboards and floral patterns, and compiling these into a booklet that that can be distributed to other members of the community. 

Charlie Scott

Scott’s dream is to write into existence new narratives that centers and celebrates Queer and Trans Indigenous Relatives. They will create a Zine featuring 5 short stories, inspired by traditional Navajo Creation Stories, rewritten to be inclusive towards Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+  Relatives. The zine will feature art from local graphic design artist, and act as a community builder and reminder of the beauty and strength of the Two-Spirit and Trans Black and Indigenous community.

Eva Ellingson

Ellingson’s dream is to connect her community and make art available and affordable to everyone. This grant will allow her to purchase new equipment, to expand her business and outreach. She will be creating new pieces, exploring new designs, and adding her logo to pieces that will be given away within her community, free of charge.

Fredrick Dames Scott

Scott’s dream is to bring the Yurok language back into daily lives of his tribal members. With this grant he will purchase a special engraver, and daily life tools including flatware, journals, notebooks, water bottles and more and adorn them with English and Yurok terms and distribute them to his community. He hopes these items will be an easy and practical way to learn basic terms, and to inspire his community to continue learning the traditional Yurok language.

Harriet Peshlakai

Peshlakai’s dream is to be able to continue to connect urban Natives with each other and their culture. She will create a new series of handbags, each that will reflect different traditional Navajo stories and teachings. She will be implementing new styles, sizes and design elements that will challenge her as an artist and exhibit her skills to customers and judges at future events.

Janelle Cronin

Cronin’s dream is to show the interconnectedness of culture, craft, and family tradition through the creation of new cultural heirlooms. She will depict the four generations of women in her family through four separate but interconnected multimedia works on canvas. She will be incorporating traditional elements, paired with contemporary techniques and modern styles. These paintings will be accompanied by the writing she is doing on art as a collective memory, and act as a visual representation of oral histories her family has passed down.

Norma Two Lance

Two Lance’s dream is to provide support and connection to her community by eliminating the financial barrier that prevents others from obtaining culturally significant star quilts. With this grant she will be able to purchase supplies and provide completed quilts at low or no cost to those in her community in need. She is proud that she is able to use this skill to help her community and continue to honor her sister.

Paulette Scott

Scott’s dream is to create an inclusive and affirming environment for LGBTQ+ Relatives and pass down traditional knowledge and cultural practices to younger generations. This grant will allow her to purchase everything she needs to create rungs in the traditional way; sheep to spin her own wool, grinding stones and plants to create natural dyes, and weaving tools. She will teach small in person groups as she records her process to be shared later. She hopes to create these pieces in celebration of her eldest daughter and her friends and offer them an affirming and accepting story.

Natanii Yazzie

Yazzie’s dream is to make sure Navajo culture and storytelling traditions endure by inspiring urban Navajo youth to learn and interact with cultural pieces and stories. He will use the traditional Tufa casting method to create pieces of silver jewelry that reflects vital creation myths in their design. Accompanying these pieces will be information cards explaining the significance of each design backed by the Navajo myths and ceremonies.

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