Arapahoe Artist Received Inaugural Native Art Fellowship from Arts Council

Colleen Friday, the recipient of the Wyoming Arts Council’s inaugural Native Art Fellowship.

           Colleen Friday of Arapahoe is the recipient of the Wyoming Arts Council’s inaugural Native Art Fellowship.

            The Native Art Fellowship is an award of merit open to Native artists based within Wyoming working across any artistic discipline or medium. This fellowship is designed to raise the profiles of the highly talented Native artists in Wyoming and celebrate their artistry. Friday will receive a $3,000 award and the opportunity to showcase her work publicly in the state. 

Colleen Friday is a Northern Arapaho artist and ecosystem scientist from Arapahoe. She traces her first artistic influences to her mom and older sisters’ beadwork, and the intense discipline of sorting and stitching tiny beads during evening hours grouped around a table and the laughter of Native women. Friday works in many mediums, from beads to stencils, to aerosol mural painting.  She mixes elements of contemporary art and street art with geometric Arapaho symbols and portraits of historical figures. Her studies in rangeland ecology, environment and natural resources have become more interwoven in her creative work. Her most recent project focuses on beadwork as data visualization representing geography, water, and the biodiversity of plants harbored in tribal lands.

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“The Wyoming Arts Council is excited to highlight Colleen’s amazing work through our inaugural Native Art Fellowship. Through this fellowship the Arts Council looks forward to amplifying the work and voices of Indigenous artists and this award serves as another step in our initiative toward stronger equitable grantmaking practices. We look forward to seeing how this fellowship will support Colleen as an artist, and the work of other Indigenous artists as the program progresses,” said Michael Lange, Executive Director of the Wyoming Arts Council.

An honorable mention was awarded to Marcus Dewey of Arapahoe, WY. 

The jurors for this year were Molina Parker (Lakota), of Red Shirt, S.D., and Adrienne Benjamin (Anishinaabe) of Isle, Minn. 

For more information about the Native Art Fellowship visit the Arts Council website wyomingartscouncil.org.