$100K Grant Supports Indigenous Artists

September 03, 2019

In exciting news, the Oregon Community Foundation has awarded a $100,000 Creative Heights grant to PNCA to commission eight Indigenous artists to create installations to cover “Chieftain” heads carved into the travertine above the eight doorways in our main corridor.

As noted in the proposal for this grant, “This use of the Native American character and icon, as sports mascot and in these architectural details, reinforces what lead artist on the project Sara Siestreem (Hanis-Coos) calls ‘the acceptability and elevation of colonial entitlement to Indigenous property.’” The need for the project was clear.

Mack McFarland, who is organizing the project with Siestreem, has said, "This project is a physical manifestation of the endeavor that PNCA’s Equality and Social Justice Action Committee has undertaken: to recognize and address our blind spots in the fight for equity. These works will be a way to embed PNCA’s commitment to an Indigenized future into the physical and psychic structure of the institution, and acknowledge an Indigenous presence and the many peoples and histories that lived on this land before the process of settler colonialism."

Siestreem has 20 years’ experience in creating and administering public art projects and institutional reform around decolonization. In addition to Siestreem, the other confirmed artists to date include: Greg Archuleta (Clackamas/Chinook/Santiam Kalapuya/Shasta); Lillian Pitt (Wasco/Warm Springs/Yakama); Greg Robinson (Chinook); and Shirod Younker (Coquille/Coos).

The project is expected to take a year with the works being installed in Fall of 2020.