Minnesota Historical Society Welcomes Three Artists for 2023 Native American Artist-in-Residence Program

For immediate release

Release dated: 
January 24, 2023
Media contacts: 

 Allison Ortiz, 651-259-3051, allison.ortiz@mnhs.org
Jack Bernstein, 651-259-3058, jack.bernstein@mnhs.org
Rita Walaszek Arndt, rita.walaszekarndt@mnhs.org

Minnesota Historical Society Welcomes Three Artists for 2023 Native American Artist-in-Residence Program

Three Encouragement Grants awarded to support artists with cultural arts and research

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Jan. 25, 2023) – Three Native American artists will have the opportunity to expand their understanding of traditional art through the 2023 Native American Artist-in-Residence program (NAAIR) from the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS). MNHS collections will also benefit from the knowledge these artists will provide about the construction, style, and meaning of various items.

The artists will serve a six- to twelve-month paid residency to study the collections at MNHS and other institutions. They will then develop community-based programming in their home communities, as well as with the public at large. The 2023 Artists-in-Residence were selected based on the recommendations of a panel of experts in the field of Native arts, culture, and education.

The 2023 awardees are: 

Autumn Cavender, a member of the Upper Sioux Community, is a midwife, quill worker and digital artist. She will use her residency to learn more about Dakota design elements, especially when it comes to materials related to child rearing and children. “These traditional designs are more than just cultural ‘motifs.’ Dakota art and design is used to encode data of ancestry, cosmology, birth, and place,” said Cavender. Workshops sharing the histories of these design elements, as well as the construction of umbilical and parfleche bags, will take place in Cavender’s home community. 









(Above photo: Quilled medallions by Autumn Cavender) 

Fern Cloud, a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, is a textile and quill artist as well as a hide painter. She also specializes in traditional doll making. With an understanding that the majority of hide paintings are in museums and in collections, she hopes to study the traditional forms and methods, and to revitalize the art of hide painting. Cloud plans on collaborating with several Native-led organizations and schools to share what she has learned about hide painting during her residency. Cloud stated, “I believe creating a whole picture of the buffalo and how many ways they provided for us is taking the finished robe to another dimension of connectedness.” 








(Above photo: Buffalo hide painting by Fern Cloud) 

Fern Renville, a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, is an artist who is bringing her experience with fiber art, pottery, and weaving to study the art of her Dakota homelands. She will use her residency to study and learn the specific process of Dakota weaving from examples such as woven bags made with nettle fiber and buffalo hair. “I’m particularly interested in finding the natural affinity and overlap between storytelling and weaving,” said Renville. Harvesting the nettle plant, the preparation and its final art form requires knowledge of Indigenous plants as well as cultural teachings. Renville plans to share what she learns from her residency with the community at numerous public events through storytelling and by explaining her knowledge of net weaving.














(Above photo: Woven basket hanging in woven nettle fiber by Fern Renville)

Encouragement Grants
In addition to the Residencies, three Encouragement Grants were awarded to support artists to continue with their cultural arts and research. These grants consist of a stipend and a paid research visit to MNHS collections. The 2023 Encouragement Grant awardees are:

  • Brook LaFloe from the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, who would like to study the cultural materials related to Ojibwe children. 
  • Caitlin Newago from Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, whose art focuses on Ojibwe floral traditions and wants to learn more about quillwork. 
  • Wade Patton from the Oglala Sioux Tribe, who would like to learn more about Lakota beadwork and ledger art. 

NAAIR is made possible in part by a grant from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies.

About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves, and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs, and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories, and connects people with history.