For the third time, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis will award $120,000 in fellowships to today’s best Native American artists. Five Fellows and a distinguished artist who has made a lifetime contribution to Native American fine art each will receive $20,000 in a program designed to identify, reward and showcase Native American fine artists in the United States and Canada. The museum is now accepting nominations through July 15, 2002.
The Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art, inaugurated in 1999, includes a major exhibition of work by the selected artists and a master artist named by the Eiteljorg Museum, purchases of their art for the Eiteljorg’s permanent collection, and a benchmark publication for international distribution.
The program is funded in part by a $490,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. and occurs every two years.
“In a time when fellowships and grants for artists are dwindling, the Eiteljorg Fellowship is competitive with virtually all awards for ‘mainstream’ artists, and certainly it is now the gold standard in Native American art,” said author and art historian W. Jackson Rushing III.
“[T]he charge of the Eiteljorg Fellowship is to build an awareness and appreciation for the finest and most compelling of contemporary art being produced by artists of Native American heritage: In this they have succeeded, possibly beyond their, or anyone else’s, expectations,” wrote arts reviewer Julia Pratt-McQuiston, NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis.
As part of the program, Eiteljorg Museum staff will recognize a Native American master artist for his or her lifetime contribution to contemporary fine art. The inaugural master artist (in 1999) was George Morrison (Chippewa). The 2001 master artist was Allan Houser (Chiricahua Apache).
An exhibition of works by the Fellows and the master artist opens at the Eiteljorg on Nov. 8, 2003. The exhibition, from which the museum will purchase works of art for its permanent contemporary collection, will open with a gala and surrounding educational programs and networking opportunities. The Eiteljorg is in negotiations to bring Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d’Alene), award-winning poet, author (“Indian Killer”), editor, screenwriter (“Smoke Signals”) and director, as the gala keynote speaker.
Artists may enter their own work, or artists can be nominated by someone else. All applications and nominations must be delivered to the Eiteljorg Museum by mail by July 15, 2002. For more information on eligibility requirements or for a complete application, call Jennifer Complo McNutt at the Eiteljorg Museum at (317) 636-9378, ext. 162, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art opened June 24, 1989. Harrison Eiteljorg (1903-1997), an Indianapolis businessman and philanthropist, worked with officials of the city of Indianapolis and of Lilly Endowment to build a museum to house his collection of Native American objects and Western paintings and sculptures. To his collection were added the holdings of the now-defunct Museum of Indian Heritage. The Eiteljorg Museum is the only museum in the Midwest to combine Western art and Native American art and artifacts.
Lilly Endowment is an Indianapolis-based foundation that supports the causes of community development, education and religion.
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
500 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204