A group of people stand in front of an artwork in a gallery.

Opening reception for Native Futures. Photo courtesy of Center for Native Futures.

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Center for Native Futures: Dreaming and Funding a Different Future for Indigenous Art

November 14, 2023

The newly formed Center for Native Futures (CfNF) is the only all-Native artist-led arts non-profit organization in Chicago. Through gallery exhibitions, artist-in-residencies, and community events throughout the year, CfNF promotes the advancement of Native fine arts, fosters contemporary artists, and encourage Indigenous Futurists. The Terra Foundation provided seed funding for the center, as well as program support, including for their inaugural Native Futures exhibition.

Author Luz Magdaleno Flores expands on CfNF in the story “Center for Native Futures: Dreaming and Funding a Different Future for Indigenous Art,” originally published on Art Design Chicago’s website.

An Excerpt from “Center for Native Futures: Dreaming and Funding a Different Future for Indigenous Art"

Showing up and supporting Native-led spaces is fundamental to broadening understandings of American Art. On a gloomy Saturday, September 16, 2023, in the Marquette Building (56 W. Adams St., Chicago) there was cheerful energy to be found at Center for Native Futures (CfNF), a dynamic contemporary art space dedicated to Native artists in the city of Zhegagoynak (Chicago). CfNF serves as Zhegagoynak’s only all-Native artist-operated fine arts organization. A crowd gathered to celebrate the opening of the Center’s inaugural exhibition Native Futures, which is presented as part of Art Design Chicago, supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Featured at the opening reception was a musical performance by award-winning Sicangu Lakota rapper Frank Waln and catering by Menominee Indian Tribe member Chef Jessica Walks First of Ketapanen Kitchen. The gallery is showing more than a dozen established and emerging Native artists of the Great Lakes region through May 17, 2024, in Native Futures. The exhibition asks artists to envision a different future, and the responding contemporary artists include CfNF co-founders and  artists Debra Yepa-Pappan, Monica Rickert-Bolter, and Chris Pappan, as well as artists Noelle Garcia, Kelly Church, Jason Wesaw, Tom Jones, Holly Wilson, John Hitchcock, Camille Billie, June Carpenter, Codak Smith, Le’Ana Asher, Dakota Mace, Ji Hae Yepa-Pappan, Chelsea Big Horn, Lydia Cheshewalla, Hattie Lee, Paige Pettibon, X and TIES poets.

Read the full story on artdesignchicago.org.

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