First Peoples Fund Announces 2021 Awards to Culture Bearers and Native Artist Entrepreneurs


February 3, 2021

First Peoples Fund, the oldest national organization dedicated to supporting Native American artists and culture bearers, recently named five outstanding individuals from across the country as recipients of $10,000 unrestricted cash grants to continue their vital cultural work in Indigenous communities.

2021 Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Award

The Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Award, named after the founder of First Peoples Fund, recognizes exceptional artists who have worked selflessly throughout their lives to weave their cultural knowledge and ancestral gifts into their communities. These practicing artists are nominated for the award by their students, mentees, fellow artists and other community members. Many honorees have gone on to receive prestigious recognition in national and international juried art exhibitions, the National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship and numerous Governor's Awards, among many others.

2021 Artists in Business Leadership and Cultural Capital Fellows

First Peoples Fund has also selected 23 artists through its Artist in Business Leadership and Cultural Capital Fellowship programs. Awarded annually, both fellowship programs include a $7,500 cash award and aim to increase artists' capacity to succeed and create an impact in their communities. While the Cultural Capital Fellowship places emphasis on supporting individuals whose work focuses on passing down ancestral knowledge, the Artist in Business Leadership Fellowship nurtures and guides the business development goals of Native artists. Fellows receive $7,500 project grants, technical support and professional training over the course of the year.

To date, First Peoples Fund has awarded 423 fellowships to 324 artists from 117 tribes in 33 states and 2 Canadian provinces. In addition to its fellowship and grants programs, FPF also helps support the inclusion of the arts in communities through values-based artist workshops, community arts classes, youth programming and nationwide partnerships with other organizations invested in the arts. Since 1999 the organization has awarded over $5.5 million in individual and organizational grants, as well as fees and honoraria to artists.

First Peoples Fund fellowships and the Community Spirit Awards are supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the HRK Foundation, the Margaret A.Cargill Foundation, and the Jerome Foundation.


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