The Indigenous Arts Initiative (IAI) supports a rotating series of Indigenous art labs that provide Indigenous artists an opportunity to hone creative skills, expand professional networks and gain leadership experience through collaborative, mentor-based programming at the University of Kansas.
As a partnership between KCAIC, KU Film and Media Studies, the Spencer Museum of Art, and the Lied Center, the IAI offers a series of collaborative workshops, masterclasses, and public events in Lawrence, Kansas, that conclude with the annual KU Indigenous Cultures Festival. In addition to training and mentoring emerging artists, the goal of the Initiative is to enhance Indigenous leadership at the border of artistic and community practice, while strengthening ties between the State of Kansas and Indigenous communities. Each year, mid-career Visiting Artists are selected from a range of mediums, including visual art, film, and dance to instruct and mentor artists from across the region.
IAI Visiting Artists will present a three-to-four-day workshop in their respective mediums. At the end of the workshop period, each Visiting Artist will choose one or two proposed projects from among their participants, in consultation with the IAI Committee, to mentor the emerging artists as they complete their new work. Completed works will be showcased at an exhibition in 2022.
All artists welcome to apply, however approved Indigenous applicants will have priority.
Filmmaking Workshop: Nanobah Becker – October 7-9, 2021
Filmmaker Nanobah Becker’s workshop will explore how incorporating Diné values has strengthened her storytelling. Nanobah will also share information about how a director can effectively work with collaborators (cinematographer, actor, producer, etc.) to elevate their work.
Nanobah Becker (Navajo) is an award-winning filmmaker and producer whose work has screened at numerous international film festivals. She is the recipient of the National Video Resources Media Arts Fellowship and was selected for the Native Forum Filmmaker’s Workshop at the Sundance Film Festival.
Photography Workshop: Cara Romero – October 6-9, 2021
Chemehuevi photographer Cara Romero creates evocative portraits that reflect the diversity of contemporary Indigenous experiences. During this four-day workshop, Romero will ask participants to consider how photographs tell stories, connect us with collective histories, and foster a sense of community and belonging. Under Romero’s guidance, participants will work together to develop a collaborative project, which will culminate in a staged group photography shoot on the final day of the workshop. In addition, each person will use workshop time to brainstorm an individual project using newly gained expertise.
Romero aims to share both artistic and practical skills in photography, aesthetics, lighting, editing, and project planning and management. She also hopes to promote dialogue about shared cultural identity, critical thinking, and problem-solving that will be more broadly applicable. This workshop welcomes photographers of all skill levels; no previous experience or personal equipment will be necessary to participate.
Dance Workshop: Carlos Rivera – October 6-8, 2021
Body + Spirit = Land Connection
Throughout a series of movement exercises based on traditional and contemporary dance techniques, the participants in this workshop will develop a reunion with the land, leading them to make strong ties with their bodies and the land where we stand, walk, and dance.
Led by Carlos Rivera, an artist with plenty of experience as a performer, choreographer, and director, he will share some of his experiences, creating a conscious relationship with the land, movement, and human bodies.
Cuerpo + Espíritu = Conexión terrestre
A través de una serie de ejercicios de movimiento basados en técnicas de danza tradicional y contemporánea, los participantes de este taller desarrollarán un reencuentro con la tierra, llevándolos a crear fuertes lazos con sus cuerpos y la tierra donde nos paramos, caminamos y bailamos.
Dirigido por Carlos Rivera, artista con amplia experiencia como intérprete, coreógrafo y director; el compartirá algunas de sus experiencias sobre la creacion de una relación consciente con la tierra, el movimiento y los cuerpos humanos.