Dreamstarter Creative Brooke Waldron Update May 2022
Running Strong for American Indian Youth® Dreamstarter Creative Brooke Waldron (Seaconke Wampanoag Tribe), 31, Hopkinton, Rhode Island, used her grant funding over the past several months to research, develop and create a body of work that reproduces traditional and contemporary Woodland Northeast pottery.
The Dreamstarter Creative grant funds were allocated to purchase a few hundred pounds of clay, a pottery wheel and various tools and equipment needed to make and utilize both functional and decorative Native ceramics.
“Programs like the Dreamstarter grant made possible thanks to the supporters Running Strong for American Indian Youth®, aligns with the overall need nationwide to better fund the arts, and better support creative career opportunities,” says Brooke. “It is essential that Native people of all ages and regions can network and find the necessary financial support to peruse their own dreams and goals.”
In a program report submitted this month, she reported that “my own artistic growth has increased with the development of my project. Consequently, my surrounding friends/family/public have had the opportunity to engage in conversations with me about various pieces I have made.”
She also noted that when these project opportunities are funded, “they also engage the public in conversation about traditional art. Both the pieces, the process, and the importance of the artform raises awareness and visibility to Native narratives and identity.
“Dreamstarter Creative directly amplifies Native artists, but also impacts and strengthens Native stories, identity and visibility through art.”
Brooke commented that “learning to embrace challenges is essential when learning a new craft. Nearly none of the pieces are free from flaws. Ceramics is a craft I think that takes many years to master.
“I am grateful for this grant opportunity and the assistance it’s provided to lift my goals as an artist. Without this grant, it would have taken much longer to save and purchase the items necessary to build a strong foundation as a potter.”
Native communities across the United States have both a historic and spiritual commonality that relies heavily on artwork and oral storytelling to pass down culture to the next generation, says Brooke. Without programs funding and supporting Native artists it can be very challenging during modern times to continue practicing these essential crafts.
“The money I was provided through the Dreamstarter grant absolutely provided me with the first essential financial support necessary to acquire the material and equipment I need to be a Native potter.”