‘Traditional Arts of Bears Ears’ is First Utah Project to receive ArtPlace America grant

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Published December 7, 2016

SAN JUAN COUNTY, UTAH – On Tuesday, ArtPlace America announced that Utah Diné Bikéyah’s “Traditional Arts of Bears Ears” project is one of 29 programs chosen, from almost 1,400 applications, to receive funding through its National Creative Placemaking Fund in 2016.

ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund is a highly competitive national program – funding just 2% of initial applications – that invests in communities across the country in which artists, arts organizations, and arts & culture activity will help drive community development.

“Creative Placemaking seeks the full and robust integration of arts, culture, and community-engaged design into the decisions that define the ebb and flow of community life. These grant recipients embody what this looks like at its most effective best,” said Rip Rapson, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation and Chair of the ArtPlace President’s Council. “The sheer volume of applications for these grants suggests the growing updraft of creative placemaking efforts throughout the nation.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to be adding this dynamic set of projects to our portfolio this year,” says F. Javier Torres, Director of National Grantmaking. “The thoughtful and innovative strategies in this year’s projects are truly indicative of the vital role that artists and arts and culture organizations play in strengthening local policy, and the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities.” The complete list of the 2016 projects for ArtPlace’s National Creative Placemaking Fund may be found here.

UDB’s “Traditional Arts” Project Five Native tribes are partnered with Utah Diné Bikéyah to promote a sustainable economic future in San Juan County, Utah through culture, community, and the arts. UDB will support community- www.utahdinebikeyah.org [email protected] led dialogues around a future dependent not on extractive resource development, but instead driven by local sustainable economic solutions and the strengths of the diverse Native American citizens and their ties to the Bears Ears landscape.

Importantly, this project aims to include all county residents (SJC is 53% Native American) and the five Tribes as we aim to address some of the greatest challenges that exist in the state of Utah. Such challenges range from persistent poverty, to low educational achievement, and a lack of basic community infrastructure (i.e. we have hundreds of homes with no running water, electricity, or access by improved roads). This project will highlight individual artists and traditional cultures and their ties to the Bears Ears landscape.

Willie Grayeyes, Board Chairman for Utah Diné Bikéyah explains, “Our arts heritage in San Juan County is unbroken, dates back thousands of years, and has numerous threads that we plan to weave together in a new way. These traditions keep us strong as people and tie us to the natural world. This ArtPlace grant is a tremendous honor to receive and we look forward to partnering with everyone to strengthen our community through traditional arts and place.”

Octavius Seowtewa, Leader of the Zuni Cultural Resources Advisory Team (ZCRAT) explains, “Every Zuni person is an artist. In fact, it is impossible to separate Zuni culture from Zuni arts. It is who we are.” More information about the “Traditional Arts of Bears Ears” program can be found here

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This BBSNews article was syndicated from Native News Online, and written by Native News Online Staff. Read the original article here.