Justice Through the Lens of Native Artists

Call for Native Art

Application Deadline:

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

General Information

About First Nations Development Institute

For more than 42 years, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations), a Native-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has worked to strengthen American Indian economies to support healthy Native communities by investing in and creating innovative institutions and models that strengthen asset control and support economic development for American Indian people and their communities. First Nations began its national grantmaking program in 1993. Through mid-year 2022, First Nations has successfully managed 2,702 grants totaling more than $54.7 million to Native-led nonprofits, grassroots community organizations, and tribes across the U.S. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.

Initiative Background – Justice Through the Lens of Native Artists

First Nations is committed to examining and calling out long-standing misconceptions, deficits-based frameworks, and inequities facing Native communities that have resulted in the underrepresentation of Native people in policymaking and resource-allocating entities.[1] The well-documented, deleterious effects of the pandemic on the health and well-being of Native people have renewed attention to these inequities and increased efforts on some fronts to address them. To this end, First Nations is currently examining Native truth and justice, what these concepts mean to Native people and communities, and what pathways to healing could entail. This conversation will include discussing policy and other recommendations to advance Native justice on Native terms.

First Nations believes that including the perspectives of Native artists is essential to building a movement to advance Native justice because art is an integral part of Native culture, serving as a way to visually address complex issues, emotions, and ideas while preserving and perpetuating Native knowledge systems. First Nations aims to construct an artistic narrative that considers what justice looks like or means to Native artists. These narratives will serve as a means to engage in a broader discussion about achieving justice in Native communities.

[1] See First Nations’ Knowledge Center at https://www.firstnations.org/knowledge-center/ for the following reports: “Reclaiming Native Truth: A Project to Dispel America’s Myths and Misconceptions” (2018), “Growing Inequity: Large Foundation Giving to Native American Organizations and Causes – 2006-2014 (2018), “Community Foundation Giving to Native American Causes” (2018), “We Need to Change How We Think: Perspectives on Philanthropy’s Underfunding of Native Communities and Causes” (2018), and “Searching for Inclusion in Philanthropy” (2020).


Download a PDF of this RFP here

Call for Native Artists & Art

As part of this work, First Nations invites Native artists who are American Indian, Alaska Native, and/or Native Hawaiian — and who are U.S. residents — to submit artwork or an artistic production that depicts or reflects Native justice in their communities through the artist’s eyes. First Nations will also conduct up to two interviews of selected Native artists to learn more about each applicant’s artwork/artistic production and perspective on Native justice and will develop artist profiles that may be shared publicly with First Nations’ stakeholders and in a virtual exhibit.

For this initiative, First Nations is seeking Native artists engaged in traditional and/or contemporary artistic mediums, including, but not limited to:

  • Creative Writing, Music, Song
  • Cinematic Arts
  • Multi-disciplinary Arts
  • Architecture
  • Performing Arts
  • Traditional Native Arts
  • Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Pottery
  • Photography
  • Fashion


Artists under the age of 18 are eligible for selection but will be required to submit a parent/guardian consent form with their application (see Parent/Guardian Consent Form).

Culturally sensitive materials such as ceremonial objects will not be considered. Should any materials derive from a protected species, the artist must comply with all current laws and regulations of Tribal, State and Federal agencies. Materials and finishes must be safe for in-person and/or virtual viewing.


Application Form

The online application form will ask applicants to provide the following information: contact information; tribal affiliation; brief artist biography (recommended 200 words or less); artwork name; brief artwork description or artist statement that describes the applicant’s artwork and relates it to the applicant’s vision for Native justice (recommended 300 words or less); dimensions of the artwork (if applicable); art medium; the applicant’s ability to participate in up to two interviews and/or complete a survey; and confirmation that the applicant agrees to First Nations’ Terms of Use Agreement. The online application requests that applicants upload their artwork or artistic production as an image, document, or link that allows First Nations to view the artwork. The online application also requires parents or guardians of applicants under the age of 18 to upload a signed Parent/Guardian Consent Form to authorize the participation of the applicant.

Selection Timeline

  1. The application opens Tuesday, January 3, 2023.
  2. Application forms must be completed and submitted online on or before Wednesday, February 1, 2023.
  3. Applicants will be notified regarding the status of their applications by February 15, 2023.
  4. Individual interviews of selected artists will be conducted in the second half of February and early March 2023.
  5. First Nations will develop and disseminate the virtual exhibit by May 2023.


Selected artists will receive a stipend of $4,000 that: 1) compensates the artist for a license for use of the artist’s artistic production by First Nations (see Terms of Use Agreement); 2) supports the artist’s participation in up to two individual and/or group interviews about the artist’s work and its relation to the broader Native justice movement; and 3) supports the completion of one survey by the artist (tentative). First Nations will incorporate the end product of this initiative into a virtual exhibit that examines justice for Native communities from the perspectives of Native artists.

Note: The $4,000 stipend is considered taxable income. Applicants selected will be responsible for the taxable portion of this amount.

Application Deadline and Selection Notification

Applications must be received by First Nations on or before Wednesday, February 1, 2023. First Nations will notify applicants about whether they have been selected for participation in this initiative by February 15, 2023.

Selection Criteria

Selection Process & Use of Artwork / Artistic Production

Application forms are due on or before Wednesday, February 1, 2023. First Nations staff will review each application form for eligibility criteria and overall fit with the purpose and intent of this initiative and select 10 artists for this initiative. Selected artists will receive a $4,000 stipend to participate in the initiative. First Nations will notify applicants about whether they have been selected by February 15, 2023.

Prior to submitting an application form, please review the Terms of Use Agreement. Artists who are selected for this initiative will be asked to verify that they agree to the terms.

Grant Requirements

Application Attachments

Image or Record of Artwork: Applicants must upload a file in the application form that shows their artwork or artistic production. Depending on the type of artwork or artistic production, this may be an image (high resolution of at least 300 dpi) using a .jpg, .tiff, or another type of document such as Word or .PDF (for written work, etc.). If it doesn’t make sense to upload an image or document showing the artistic production due to the type of art being submitted, the applicant may provide a link to the artwork that First Nations can view.

Parent/Guardian Consent Form (required for artists under 18 years old): Applicants under the age of 18 must upload a signed Parental/Guardian Consent Form. This form indicates that the parent/guardian consents to artist’s completion of the application and participation in the Initiative’s activities and events (e.g. virtual interviews, survey, and virtual exhibit). It also indicates that the parent/guardian and artist have reviewed and agree to the Terms of Use Agreement.



For questions about this initiative and/or the application process and requirements, please contact Michelle Gauthier by email at mgauthier@firstnations.org or by phone at (303) 774-7836 ext. 226.

Start Application

Complete the online application form on or before Wednesday, February 1, 2023. We recommend that you complete the online application in one sitting to avoid losing any information entered in the form.