Nia Tero PNW Art Fellowship / Funding

June 19, 2020

Organization Name: Nia Tero

Organization Location: Pacific Northwest Art Fellowship

Type: Calls & Submissions | Funding

Fee: Free



Nia Tero’s inaugural Pacific Northwest Art Fellowship will bring together creatives working in many visual disciplines, from diverse international Indigenous affiliations (inclusive of people with heritage from Central America, Pasifika and Amazonia), at any stage of their artistic development. Nia Tero is proud to provide Indigenous artists working in the Northwest this opportunity for professional and personal support as part of their growing network of fellows that spans the globe.

In acknowledgement of the invaluable contributions of cultural practitioners in our communities, Nia Tero is offering two tiers of funding to reach as many people as possible. 20 finalists will receive $300 honorariums. The six selected fellows will each receive an unrestricted award of $6,000 and will participate in a yearlong series of cohort engagement sessions.

Nia Tero is eager to launch this Fellowship now, when millions of cultural workers are experiencing significant income loss due to Covid-19. Even as Native populations are being hit especially hard by the pandemic, Indigenous makers are rallying to provide solace and sustenance during isolation. Whether through video streaming, social distance pow wows, creatively crafted masks, virtual beading circles, free coloring pages, or educational activities for kids, artists are finding innovative new ways of connecting us. It is clearer now more than ever that art and culture are fundamentally tied to the well-being of Indigenous peoples, which in turn ensures the health of the lands we steward.

About Nia Tero

Nia Tero believes Indigenous peoples uphold many of the planet’s healthiest ecosystems, rich in biodiversity, and systems essential to the security of global food production, fresh water, and ultimately, the Earth’s climate. Nia Tero also believes that the peoples who call these places home are the best guardians of their cultures’ vital birthplaces, and that supporting the rights and livelihoods of Indigenous peoples, and following their leadership, is critical to the health of our planet as a whole.


To ensure that our partnerships and shared commitments endure, Nia Tero will support improvements in their “enabling conditions,” including policy frameworks, ecosystem and social monitoring systems, capacity building for self-expression and long-term financing. Further, they will help propel locally relevant enterprises, infrastructure, storytelling and other projects integral to the well-being and earning power of Indigenous peoples and local communities. For more information, visit ​​ or contact Tracy Rector, Managing Director of Storytelling at​

Fellowship Activities

Engagement sessions will be designed collaboratively with the six selected fellows and held virtually six times over the course of a year. Activities may include:

●  Guidance from established artists and leaders in Indigenous communities

●  Studio visits with in-depth discussion about individual participants’ works in a supportive

critique environment

●  Professional development workshops on subjects requested by participants

●  Collective learning and knowledge sharing, with the opportunity to be nurtured and

challenged by peers

●  Lasting networks and relationship building in the Northwest arts community


●  Application Available – May 8, 2020

●  Deadline for Applications – June 19, 2020, 11:59pm PST

●  Selection Panel Meeting – Week of June 29, 2020

●  Notifications – Week of July 6, 2020

●  Contracting – Starting July/August 2020

●  Fellowship Activities – September 2020 – August 2021


●  Open to Indigenous artists living in Washington, Oregon, or British Columbia – including residents of those places that belong to Indigenous communities outside of the Pacific Northwest, and outside of what is currently the United States

●  Any visual art medium – including painting, drawing, design, photography, digital, film, sculpture, beadwork, leatherwork, ceramics, weaving, carving, regalia, clothing design, jewelry, cultural objects, utilitarian objects, tools, installation, performance, and anything else applicants consider their art form

●  Applicant must apply as an individual artist

●  Applicant must be 18 years or older

Artists are encouraged to provide documentation of social and familial ties to an Indigenous community. Examples of documentation include: tribal enrollment card, letter from a federally recognized Alaska Native village or tribe identifying the applicant as a member, a letter from a federally recognized tribal enrollment office identifying the applicant as a descendant, documentation from a tribe denied federal recognition but socially and historically acknowledged, letter from an Indigenous community member, or self-attestation of Indigenous connection with verification in another form including recounting oral histories, personal essay,

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etc. We know this is a complicated issue. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss alternative ways to verify Indigenous ancestry.

Selection Criteria

Artists will be selected on the basis of the following criteria:

●  Strength of past work as demonstrated in the submitted application materials

●  Perceived commitment to a regular art practice

●  Connection to culture, environment, and/or Indigenous identity through artwork

●  Connection to cultural preservation

●  Perceived impact of the Fellowship program on the applicant and their practice

●  Perceived contributions to the diversity of perspectives in the cohort as a whole

●  Representation from diverse career stages, with two fellows selected per category:

emerging (0-5 years of active or professional art making), mid-career (5-15 years of professional art making), or established (15+ years of professional art making or recognized as an important community contributor as a creative)

Selection Process

Nia Tero’s goal is to make the application process as streamlined and accessible as possible. Individualized application support and feedback are available upon request. Selections for both funding tiers will be made by a panel of interdisciplinary Indigenous community members. The group will review submissions individually, then convene virtually to select finalists and fellows through conversation-based consensus building.

How to Apply

Submit the following by June 19, 2020, 11:59pm online at​ –

●  Name, contact, medium, career stage, and demographic information

●  Indigenous affiliation, and documentation or personal essay

●  Artist Biography (500 words max)

●  Statement of Interest (500 words max)

●  Up to 10 samples of past work, with descriptions

●  Checklist of interest in Fellowship programming options

Questions / Artist Support

Contact Project Manager Asia Tail at ​​ or 253-336-6477. Asia is available to answer questions about the opportunity, provide individualized consultations, and offer other support when possible. She is facilitating the artist selection and application process but will not be a voting member on the selection panel.

Spanish translation and application available. T​ raducción y solicitud en español disponible.

Opportunity Website

Calls And SubmissionsFundingNative ArtistsPNW