Artist Leadership Program

Applications for Individual Artists and for Museums and Cultural Arts Organizations are not being accepted at this time. Please email alp@si.edu if you would like to be notified when a new call for proposals is open. Thank you for your support and interest in the National Museum of the American Indian Artist Leadership Program.

» ARTIST LEADERSHIP PROGRAM FOR INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS

» ARTIST LEADERSHIP PROGRAM FOR MUSEUMS AND CULTURAL ARTS ORGANIZATIONS

ARTIST LEADERSHIP PROGRAM FOR INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS

OVERVIEW

The National Museum of the American Indian’s (NMAI) Artist Leadership Program (ALP) for Individual Artists enables indigenous artists to research, document, and network in Washington, D.C., then return home empowered with new artistic insights, skills, and techniques to share with their communities and the general public the value of Native knowledge through art. The program aims to rebuild cultural self-confidence, challenge personal boundaries, and foster cultural continuity while reflecting artistic diversity.

The program’s primary objectives are for individual indigenous artists to focus on artistic processes while researching the vast collections of the Smithsonian Institution (SI); meet and consult with staff at SI and other arts organizations; participate in a public art panel discussion, speaking as voices of authority on their art; break down stereotypes about indigenous art; and, through a personal artistic narrative, speak to social justice issues and current events important to indigenous communities.

The program’s secondary objectives include to mentor young artists in collaboration with elders; convene local artists for networking and to share ideas and resources; affirm that indigenous arts hold value and knowledge; and through indigenous arts, offer communities a means for healing and new ways to exchange cultural information.

Applicants must choose one of two community projects and may not apply to both:

Up to four participants total may be selected for each of the two community projects. Artists selected in each of the projects will participate in a two-part program:

  • Travel to Washington, D.C., to conduct research in the collections of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), Smithsonian Institution (SI), and other local museums; meet with NMAI/SI staff; conduct presentations for NMAI staff and the museum public; and visit area museums and galleries.
  • Return home to facilitate a community project in order to share knowledge learned from their experience and research conducted in Washington, D.C.

KEY DATES

Applications for Individual Artists and for Museums and Cultural Arts Organizations are not being accepted at this time. Please email alp@si.edu if you would like to be notified when a new call for proposals is open. Thank you for your support and interest in the National Museum of the American Indian Artist Leadership Program.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

  • Indigenous artists of the Western Hemisphere or Hawai‘i who are recognized by their community and who can demonstrate significant artistic accomplishments. The targeted artistic experience will be from mid-career to accomplished artist.
  • Artists may work in any medium: visual art, media, sculpture, textile and fiber arts, performance arts, literature, etc.
  • Artists may submit only one application, to do either Youth Public Art or an Artist’s Community Workshop.
  • Artists who have participated in or served as panelists for the Artist Leadership Program are not eligible to apply for two years after the time they last participated. Artists who have participated in previous Youth Public Art, Visiting Artist, or Community Arts Symposiums may apply, but they must select a different community project than they previously selected.
  • Previous participants must have completed all prior requirements before acceptance in a new project. Previous participants also must wait one year after completing their community projects before they are eligible to apply.
  • Artists working with youth must be able to successfully pass a security background check conducted by the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Protection Services (OPS).
  • If selected, the artists must provide a DUNS number.
  • Artists must be in good standing with U.S. Government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and able to register in the System for Award Management (SAM), a database of individuals and companies that do contractual business with federal agencies. Registration in SAM is necessary to ensure payment of contractor invoices.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Washington Visit

Individuals selected for the Artist Leadership Program for Individual Artists will travel to Washington, D.C., to:

  • Conduct research in the collections of the NMAI, SI, and other local museums.
  • Meet with NMAI/SI staff; conduct presentations for NMAI staff and the museum public.
  • Visit area museums and galleries.

Selected artists will receive assistance to make appointments for training and museum research visits. ALP participants who request online research appointments from the National Museum of Natural History, National Anthropological Archives, and non-Smithsonian collections will be expected to follow through. While in Washington, D.C., artists will also be provided professional training services that may include developing PowerPoint presentations, web portfolios, video oversight and direction, marketing and career strategies, and business and leadership skills.

Participants in the Artist Leadership Program for Individual Artists will also be able to meet with staff and consultants taking part in the Artist Leadership Program for Museums and Cultural Arts Organizations.

NMAI program staff will provide a detailed itinerary prior to the artists' arrival, give an orientation, and offer administrative assistance for presentations to museum staff and the museum public. Every ALP participant is strongly encouraged to be on time for all departures and appointments provided in the itinerary.

During the research experience, participants may ask for copies of documents, photos, or collections data. All copy costs are the responsibility of the participant.

The Smithsonian requires all participants to pay a nominal fee for liability insurance, usually less than three percent of the participant’s contract amount.

All ALP participants are asked to take part in a public art panel discussion titled “Bringing It Home: Artists Reconnecting Cultural Heritage with Community,” and to provide a 5-minute PowerPoint presentation about their art, research, and community project to the public at the museum. This presentation will be developed in a training session and presented initially to NMAI staff during an informal brown-bag lunch. The public art panel discussion will be webcast live and archived on the NMAI YouTube channel.

Artists’ Community Projects

Following the visit to Washington, D.C, each artist will return home to facilitate a community project to share knowledge learned from the experience and research.

Community Project: Youth Public Art

After visiting Washington, the artist will return to his or her community and identify a local youth group to design, develop, and complete a public art project that will result in a finished artwork such as a sculpture, mural, theatrical production, musical performance, or video that will serve the local public. The goals of the Youth Public Art Project include offering an opportunity for program participants to mentor young artists in collaboration with elders, sharing ideas and resources, and exemplifying the values and knowledge held by local Native artists while offering the community a means for healing and for sustaining cultural information.

Suggested themes for Youth Public Art Projects include youth identity, suicide awareness, substance abuse, bullying, gangs, racially insensitive mascots, language revitalization, sustainable environments, or a theme inspired by a current exhibition on view on the NMAI website. The artist will provide ten art or production lessons to at least five community youth during the project schedule.

Community Project: Artist’s Community Workshop

After returning home, the artist will plan and manage a free workshop for a community of artists to share knowledge and demonstrate skills gained from collections research in Washington. The artist will select the workshop location, create the agenda and syllabus, obtain materials, and facilitate advertising and registration. The workshop should provide two to four days of instruction to at least ten community members interested in learning artistic skills.

Suggested themes for workshops include skills that the artist has mastered, new techniques learned as a result of the collections research visit, or new or revised cultural art techniques; breaking down stereotypes about indigenous art; and affirming that indigenous arts hold value and knowledge.

Video Documentation Option

Each artist has the option to identify a local video contractor to document the artist’s visit to Washington, D.C., and community project; interview key individuals of the community project; and produce a video—seven minutes or less in length—documenting the community project. Successfully completing the video usually includes taking part in two rounds of review and revision, securing video participants’ signed release forms, acquiring music rights and permissions, and closed-captioning the final approved video. ALP awardees will be provided Video Documentation and Production Guidelines and NMAI/SI release forms for video participants. Approved videos will be posted on the NMAI YouTube channel.

The purpose of this video is to share with a larger audience the meaning of the visit to Washington, D.C., and the impact of the community project. Examples of videos from the NMAI Artist Leadership Program for Individual Artists in earlier years are viewable here.

If you choose to do this option, provide a short statement that you understand the scope and goals for the video and wish to take part in this aspect of the Artist Leadership Program.

Public Program Option

Artists interested in collaborating with the NMAI on a public program during the November-December trip to Washington should submit a separate proposal that includes a description, rehearsal schedule, technical requirements, and biography. The proposal should include one set of supporting materials such as Internet links (e.g., YouTube) and/or previously printed programs that fully represent the applicant’s artistic distinction and educational capacity.

The proposal should describe how the performance or presentation will educate the public about the artistic achievements and traditions of the artist’s indigenous community, and identify how the performance or presentation supports the ongoing programs, projects, and mission of the NMAI or the Smithsonian.

FINANCIAL AWARD

Up to four participants total may be selected for each of the two project options. Each participant selected will receive a contract award to cover supplies, photocopies of transcripts, manuscripts, photos, photo duplication costs, and materials for community project expenses. Additional financial support to cover travel and video documentation expenses—if the artist chooses to do the optional video—will be provided on the artist’s contract. The artist is responsible for appropriate federal and state taxes on the award amount.

The NMAI will reimburse the artist for the efforts of the video contractor, if applicable; these may include design, production, editing, music permissions, closed captioning, translation fees, transcription of interviews, and use of NMAI and SI logos.

As contractors, the artists will be responsible for making their own air travel reservations and purchasing their own airline tickets. The artists will be provided with a recommended hotel in Washington, D.C., and will be responsible for paying their hotel bills upon departure. Artists will be responsible for paying all their meals and incidental costs, including any taxis, airport transfers, and baggage fees. Upon proper invoicing, the artist will be provided with a reasonable monetary payment for travel-related expenses including airfare, airport transfers, baggage fees, lodging, and per diem. It is recommended that SI contractors secure a U.S. bank account to receive invoiced amounts and a credit card with a balance and limit that will cover all travel costs. Reliance on debit cards is strongly discouraged.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Applications for Individual Artists and for Museums and Cultural Arts Organizations are not being accepted at this time. Please email alp@si.edu if you would like to be notified when a new call for proposals is open. Thank you for your support and interest in the National Museum of the American Indian Artist Leadership Program.


ARTIST LEADERSHIP PROGRAM FOR MUSEUMS AND CULTURAL ARTS ORGANIZATIONS

OVERVIEW

The Artist Leadership Program (ALP) for Museums and Cultural Arts Organizations invites local museums, arts organizations, and cultural institutions in the United States and Canada to collaborate with the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), Smithsonian Institution (SI):

  • To identify local and regional Native artists well qualified to research Native cultural objects in museums and other collections in the region; document their research; receive training in arts management, marketing and career strategies, and business and leadership skills; and network at the local institutional level.
  • Then to support the artists empowered with new artistic skills and techniques as they share—in their home communities or on-site at the museum or cultural arts organization—the value of Native knowledge through art. Organizations do so by hosting a Youth Public Art Project or Artist’s Community Workshop.

This program aims to rebuild cultural self-confidence, enable local indigenous artists to think more broadly about themselves and their art, and conduct local community art projects that inspire and reflect artistic diversity.

The program’s primary objectives for local museums and cultural arts organizations are to engage indigenous artists in focusing on artistic process through research in local collections, create opportunities for local artists to meet and consult with staff members, host public art programs that present indigenous artists as voices of authority on their art, and break down stereotypes about Indigenous art.

The program’s secondary objectives include to mentor young artists in collaboration with elders; convene local artists for networking and to share ideas and resources; affirm that Indigenous arts hold value and knowledge; and through indigenous arts, offer communities a means for healing and new ways to exchange cultural information.

Two museums/cultural arts organizations will be selected each year.

KEY DATES

Applications for Individual Artists and for Museums and Cultural Arts Organizations are not being accepted at this time. Please email alp@si.edu if you would like to be notified when a new call for proposals is open. Thank you for your support and interest in the National Museum of the American Indian Artist Leadership Program.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

  • Applicants must be arts organizations, museums, and/or cultural institutions with sound fiscal management, including established methods for accepting cash receipts and making disbursements, documenting and reconciling income statements, and documenting and reconciling payments. Applicants must have been in operation for at least five fiscal years and be nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations committed to serving the indigenous communities in the United States and Canada.
  • Applicants must demonstrate access to Native cultural materials supporting local Native artists; have staff to provide financial and logistical support for local Native artists; have access to local arts-management professional trainers, training facilities, and computer equipment; and have access to local video professionals.
  • Applicants must be able to send at least one mid-career Native staff person or Native consultant to travel to Washington, D.C., in November-December 2015 to meet with NMAI staff and tour NMAI facilities. Upon proper invoicing, the applicant will be provided with a reasonable reimbursement for travel expenses, including airfare, airport transfers and baggage fees, lodging, and per diem. One additional staff member may attend the Washington program at the expense of each selected organization.
  • Applicants must be able to collaborate with local security agencies to ensure that security background checks are successfully completed on individuals directly involved with youth.
  • If selected, applicants must provide a DUNS number.
  • Applicants must be in good standing with U.S. Government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and able to register in the System for Award Management (SAM), a database of individuals and companies that do contractual business with federal agencies. Registration in SAM is necessary to ensure payment of contractor invoices.
  • Applicants must be able to provide a certificate of liability insurance from their insurance carrier in the amount of $1 million to cover general liability, automobile liability, and worker’s compensation and employer’s liability to cover the applicant’s staff and/or consultant while on SI property.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Washington Visit

Each of the two organizations selected will send one mid-career Native staff person or Native consultant to visit the NMAI Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, Maryland, and the NMAI on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to meet with NMAI staff in specialties such as collections, registration, conservation, photo services, photo and paper archives, media archives, library, publications, public affairs, administration, and media production, and to receive an overview of museum management, professional development, and video oversight and direction. Up to one additional staff member is invited at the expense of the selected organization.

Staff/consultants taking part in the Artist Leadership Program for Museums and Cultural Arts Organizations Individual Artists will also be able to meet with participants in the Artist Leadership Program for Individual Artists and will be invited to join them for arts management training.

Each selected organization will provide a PowerPoint presentation to NMAI staff during the Washington visit. This PowerPoint presentation should provide information about the location of the organization, goals and objectives of the institution, outreach capacity, reasons for applying to the ALP, potential outcomes, and the meaning of the ALP experience in Washington, D.C., for the organizations staff/consultant.

NMAI will provide a detailed itinerary prior to the staff member’s arrival, give an orientation, and offer administrative assistance for presentations to museum staff.

Call for Artists

Each selected organization will next present a Call for Artists. Upon review of the regional and local artists who respond, the organization will host a minimum of four regional Native artists, both contemporary and traditional, to perform the following activities:

  • Conduct research in the collections of the host organization and other local museum institutions to gain a higher understanding of the process of their art.
  • Meet with the host organization’s staff.
  • Visit other galleries in the area.
  • Conduct art talks or other public program activities at the host organization, and/or other local museums or galleries.
  • Participate in arts-management training.

The artists selected for the program will receive assistance from the host organization in making appointments for training and museum research visits. While at the host organization’s site, artists will also be provided professional training services that may include grant-writing; creating PowerPoint presentations and web portfolios; identifying marketing and career strategies; and developing business and leadership skills. Training sessions are to be community based at the host organization’s site and may include up to 15 participants, including the selected artists.

Each host organization will provide a detailed itinerary prior to the artists’ arrival, give an orientation, and offer administrative assistance for presentations to museum staff. Local travel and hotel lodging costs associated with the trip will be reimbursed to each artist by the organization. Organizations are to provide the artists with funds for travel, artist fees or honoraria, supplies/materials, and per diem. Organizations are strongly encouraged to seek outside financial or in-kind resources to help support program goals and objectives.

Artists’ Community Projects

The next part of the program enables the selected organization to support each artist, on-site at the cultural institution or as he or she returns home, to facilitate a community project sharing the knowledge learned from the experience and from research conducted at the host organization or other institutions in the region. The artists’ community projects should be completed within six months following the organization site visit.

Organizations are encouraged to engage community members and leverage local resources to facilitate community projects in the arts for local artists and young people.

Youth Public Art

After visiting the host organization, each artist who chooses Youth Public Art Project on-site or in his or her community will identify a local youth group to design, develop, and complete a public art project that will result in a finished artwork—such as a sculpture, mural, theatrical production, musical performance, or video—that will serve the local public. The goals of the Youth Public Art Project include offering an opportunity for program participants to mentor young artists in collaboration with elders, sharing ideas and resources and exemplifying the values and knowledge held by local Native artists while offering the community a means for healing and for sustaining cultural information.

Suggested themes for Youth Public Art Projects include youth identity, suicide awareness, substance abuse, bullying, gangs, racially insensitive mascots, language revitalization, sustainable environments, or developing an exhibition for the organization. Each artist will provide ten art or production lessons to at least five community youth during the project.

Artist’s Community Workshop

After visiting the host organization, each artist who chooses to do an Artist’s Community Workshop will plan and manage a free workshop for a community of artists to share knowledge and demonstrate skills gained from collections research at the selected organization. Each artist will select the workshop location, create the agenda and syllabus, obtain materials, and facilitate advertising and registration. Each workshop should provide one to three days of instruction to at least ten community members interested in learning artistic skills.

Suggested themes for workshops include skills that the artist has mastered, new techniques learned as a result of the collections research visit, or new or revised cultural art techniques in support of an exhibition in development at the selected organization affirming that indigenous arts hold value and knowledge.

Video Documentation

Each selected organization is asked to identify a local video contractor to document the staff visit to Washington, D.C., and the artists’ community projects; interview individuals key to the community projects; and produce a video—seven minutes or less in length—documenting the community projects. Completing the video usually includes taking part in two rounds of review and revision, securing video participants’ signed release forms, acquiring music rights and permissions, and closed-captioning the final approved video. Approved videos will be posted on the NMAI YouTube channel.

The purpose of this video is to share with a larger audience the meaning of the staff visit to Washington, D.C.; the setting and location of the host organization; and the impact of the community projects. Examples of videos by artists and organizations who took part in the NMAI Artist Leadership Program in earlier years are viewable here.

FINANCIAL AWARD

Two museums or cultural arts organizations will be selected each year to take part in the Artist Leadership Program. Each organization selected will receive a contract award to cover project costs, including artist fees, training services, supplies, and video production and materials. Award recipients are responsible for appropriate federal and state taxes on this award amount. Additional support to cover travel expenses to Washington, D.C., for one mid-career Native staff member or Native consultant will also be provided. Up to one additional staff member is invited at the expense of the selected organization.

Award recipients are asked to provide the following during the course of the project:

  • The organization’s Call for Artists and a summary of the response.
  • An email evaluation of the training session and community workshops.
  • An email sharing audience comments made during public or staff art talks.
  • A final evaluation report by the organization on contract activities, accomplishments, and discoveries; a financial accounting of expenses.
  • A project video, no longer than seven minutes, of Youth Public Art Projects and Artist’s Community Workshops that shares with the NMAI’s YouTube audience the meaning of the visit to Washington, D.C., the setting and location of the selected museum/organization, and the impact of the community projects for the participants. Completing the video usually includes taking part in two rounds of review and revision, securing video participants’ signed release forms, acquiring music rights and permissions, and closed-captioning the final approved video. ALP awardees will be provided Video Documentation and Production Guidelines and NMAI/SI release forms for video participants.
  • Evidence of outside funding for community projects and identification of local community resources involved in the projects.

Museums and cultural arts organizations selected to participate in the Artist Leadership Program must provide a DUNS number and must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM); registration in SAM is necessary to ensure payment of contractor invoices.

As a contractor, the award recipient will be responsible for making staff airline reservations and purchasing air travel to Washington, D.C. The name of a recommended hotel in Washington will be provided by the NMAI. Award recipient staff will be responsible for paying their hotel bills upon departure and for paying all their meals and incidental costs, including any taxis, airport transfers, and baggage fees. Upon proper invoicing, the museum or cultural arts organization will be provided with a reasonable monetary reimbursement for travel-related expenses, including airfare, airport transfers, and baggage fees, lodging, and per diem. It is recommended that SI contractors secure a U.S. bank account to receive invoiced amounts and a credit card with a balance and limit that will cover all travel costs. Reliance on debit cards is strongly discouraged.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Applications for Individual Artists and for Museums and Cultural Arts Organizations are not being accepted at this time. Please email alp@si.edu if you would like to be notified when a new call for proposals is open. Thank you for your support and interest in the National Museum of the American Indian Artist Leadership Program.

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