Lakota Funds was recognized for Outstanding Support of the Arts to Native Nations with Lands in South Dakota at the 24th Biennial Governor’s Awards in the Arts presentation banquet in Pierre, which was co-sponsored by Arts South Dakota and the South Dakota Arts Council.
We were selected through an open nominations process as the first-ever recipient of this award for our demonstration of strong arts traditions and revitalization in Native communities.
“Supporting art entrepreneurs has always been an integral part of our work. It is an honor to be the first to receive this award, and amazing to see two Native organizations on the list of select awardees that represent leaders in South Dakota’s arts movement,” says Tawney Brunsch, Executive Director of Lakota Funds.
The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School, a cultural center in Pine Ridge, was recognized for Outstanding Support of the Arts by an Organization or Business. This lifetime achievement award recognizes leadership in supporting and encouraging the arts and presenting projects by South Dakota artists for public education and enjoyment.
Other award recipients included:
- Dwayne “Chuck” Wilcox for Distinction in Creative Achievement
- Dr. Ronald M. Reed for Outstanding Support of the Arts by an Individual
- John F. Colson for Outstanding Service in Arts Education
Shayna Ferguson, Branch Manager of the Lakota Federal Credit Union, valued partner of Lakota Funds, accepted the award on our behalf at the awards ceremony. Ferguson highlighted how the collaboration between Lakota Funds and the Credit Union, as well as First Peoples Fund and ArtSpace (two national nonprofit arts organizations), is driving the development of innovative strategies that support Native artists on the Reservation in a whole new way.
Those strategies include eliminating distance and travel barriers through the launch of the Rolling Rez, a state-of-the-art mobile bank and art training center. Most recently, the collaboration resulted in the groundbreaking of the Oglala Lakota Artspace and Business Incubator, an 8,500 square foot facility that will provide a centrally-located space for Native artists to work, learn, and connect.
“We believe artists are important contributors to our economy. Working with artists and other entrepreneurs can be really rewarding, especially when you begin to see their hard work paying off and how the community grows and changes. Our Governor’s Award in the Arts is truly icing on the cake,” says Brunsch.