Everson Awarded Creatives Rebuild NY Grant for Collaboration with Haudenosaunee Artist Natasha Smoke Santiago 

Natasha Smoke Santiago

The Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse is proud to be among the notable organizations to receive an Artist Employment Program (AEP) grant from Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY). Designed to support employment opportunities for artists, the program is funding 98 collaborations involving a dynamic group of 300 artists employed by community-based organizations, municipalities, and tribal governments across New York State. CRNY has awarded a total of $49.9M in funding to support artists’ salaries and benefits, with an additional $11.7M in funding provided to the organizations holding employment. 

The funding award from CRNY will allow the Everson to engage Haudenosaunee artist Natasha Smoke Santiago for a two-year residency. During this tenure, Smoke Santiago will have the opportunity to expand her catalog and implement community partnerships, programming, special events, and art-making opportunities that will center on Haudenosaunee art and culture. Her work with the Everson will also dovetail with her efforts to explore and preserve Haudenosaunee food culture by collaborating with Indigenous chefs, farmers, seed-keepers, and healers. 

A Rochester-native brought up within Haudenosaunee culture, Smoke Santiago’s work explores her native culture, contemporary life, the miracle of pregnancy, and the beauty of the natural world through mainly ceramic forms. Selected from an initial pool of over 2,700 applicants, Smoke Santiago is one of very few artists practicing today whose work attempts to resurrect and elevate the Iroquoian style of pottery. 

In addition to the funding to cover Smoke Santiago’s salary and benefits, the Everson also received $60,000 in unrestricted funds to assist with staff oversight, supplies, materials, travel, marketing, and fundraising. 

“If we are to truly rebuild our amazing state, we must celebrate artists’ contributions not only to the economy but to what makes us human,” says Creatives Rebuild New York’s Executive Director Sarah Calderon. “The incredible work being funded through CRNY’s Artist Employment Program underscores the importance of direct support for both individual artists and the organizations that hold their employment.” 

To learn more about Smoke Santiago’s collaboration with the Everson, visit everson.org/news and see updates on her residency by following the Everson Museum of Art on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok

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