Supporting the development of Indigenous fine arts through economic vitality
Iapi Gallery will be focused on creating economic opportunities through the arts in order to foster the development of tribal cultural and artistic resources. As the work of Indigenous artists gains worldwide prominence, Iapi Gallery will highlight multidimensional perspectives of Indigenous artists engaging critical approaches to creating and exposing our deep relationships to each other and the world around us. Indigenous artists face challenges to getting their work in front of audiences, few venues that support Indigenous artists and a lack of knowledge about Indigenous art. These are challenges that Iapi Gallery can help overcome by creating a venue for Indigenous art to be sold and collected - a place where people can learn about contemporary Indigenous art through beautifully curated shows. There are many incredibly talented artists in our communities who would greatly benefit from opportunities to get their work in front of collectors – Iapi Gallery will provide this. It will be a place for exhibitions and performances, linking collectors and appreciators of Indigenous art with the best contemporary Indigenous artists. It will also be a cultural hub, where artists and community members gather for events and workshops. My solution will benefit Oceti Sakowin communities to start with, and as the business grows, it will also support artists from other tribal communities, focusing on representing Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and international Indigenous peoples. Iapi means “they speak” in Dakota, it will be a place where Indigenous artists’ expressive acts are fostered. With a focus on connecting high end art collectors to Indigenous artists, through exceptional exhibits and performances, Iapi Gallery will highlight the diverse work being done in sectors of the Indigenous art world. Iapi Gallery is not only filling a hole in the industry, but providing much-needed resources to Indigenous artists to develop their culturally-based artwork, thereby expanding the evolution of our art forms. Iapi Gallery also has a community component – the space is also used as a place to gather for events and workshops such as youth workshops and artists talks. In order to be successful, Iapi gallery must have a venue located in a place where high end collectors can easily see the works - an urban space such as Boston or New York. Since real estate prices are high, financing will be necessary in order to get the gallery off the ground. There is a lack of Indigenous-focused art spaces, Iapi Gallery will be filling an important niche while providing economic opportunities for artists living in tribal communities.
Our solution's stage of development:Idea
Where our project is located:Boston, MA, USA
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Medford, MA, USA
How we use technology in our project:
Iapi Gallery will be a state-of-the-art gallery, equipped with the capability to show unique art pieces that engage sound, video and film, performance, VR and more. Since today's Indigenous artists are fluent in many kinds of new and emerging technologies, alongside their customary traditional techniques, Iapi Gallery will be uniquely suited to showcase their works. We will also make use of telepresence technology to communicate with artists and community members back home and in rural tribal communities.
What makes our project innovative:
The greatest deficits in the Indigenous arts world are a shortage of venues to show work, a lack of understanding about Indigenous art in mainstream art spaces, and economic hardship. By creating a space for high end collectors to purchase unique and beautiful works from individual artists, and a focus on educating our customers about what makes Indigenous art special, Iapi Gallery will contribute to addressing these issues. Iapi Gallery will stimulate the economy of our communities, and foster the evolution of our art and cultural forms.
How our project will be accessible and affordable to our community:
Iapi Galleries will equitably partner with Indigenous artists and will provide opportunities for high end collectors to see and purchase their works. We will travel home to our communities to meet with artists and see their work in development, and bring their work to the urban space where Iyapi Gallery will be located.
I seek to provide opportunities for people to learn from Indigenous artists. As a student in the Art, Culture and Technology program at MIT, I have organized a panel discussion of Indigenous artists and an Indigenous artists speaker series. Before coming to MIT, I built strong networks of Indigenous artists from all over the US and Pacific Rim through my years of work as an artist, an arts administrator at the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center, and an intern at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Iapi Gallery will expand upon these networks.
Our future project goals:
Iapi Gallery is in the idea phase. The next steps towards implementation inlcude, creating a business plan, obtaining financing, and finding an excellent location. Iapi Gallery will connect with artists to represent from Oceti Sakowin communities, and as the business expands, from other tribal communities regionally, nationally and internationally. By building and developing relationships with collectors, Iapi Gallery will be able to create and fill a market demand for high quality Indigenous fine art.
Highlights from our project:
Since Iapi Gallery is still in the idea phase, we are working towards next steps that will garner support. However, as sole proprietor, my career as an award-winning artist with an international career, has allowed me to work in spaces, such as the Venice Biennale, that have fueled my desire to continue working to advance Indigenous arts.
Why we are applying to Solve:
I am applying to Solve because I believe this solution, while a simple idea, is profound because it addresses several key issues facing Indigenous communities: 1) the need for economic opportunity, 2) a way to foster artists and culture bearers who are doing the important work of cultural preservation, revitalization, and evolution, and 3) educating the general population about Indigenous peoples through the arts. By working with Solve to develop this project, I can get support to overcome some of the challenges to implementing this project, in order to make it even more successful. Thanks for your consideration!
The organizations we are currently working with:
Iapi Gallery is currently in the idea phase, and is not currently working with other organizations yet.
Organizations we would like to partner with:
It will be necessary to work with tribally-focused art organizations to identify Indigenous artists to feature at Iapi Gallery. Partnering with organizations like tribal museums, cultural resource offices, and tribal colleges will also be helpful for this purpose.
- Erin Genia Artist