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SWAIA’s Artist Fellowship Winners Include 4 Native Youth, Ben Harjo Jr. and Others

Cash Awards and Exposure for the SWAIA Fellowship winners! Check out the art and talented Native youth!

The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) -- the non-profit organization that produces the Santa Fe Indian Market -- has announced this year’s Indian Market artist fellows in the Design, Discovery and Youth categories. The artists receive monetary awards, booths at the Indian Market and significant exposure.

Discovery category Fellows receive $3,500, plus a complimentary booth at Indian Market the year they win. Their fellowship funds may be used to purchase materials, equipment and cover research expenses in their artistic endeavors.

This year’s Discovery category Fellows are Feather Metsch (Odawa), Melissa Melero-Moose (Northern Paiute) and David McElroy (Choctaw).

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The 2016 Design category Fellowship winner is Benjamin Harjo, Jr. (Seminole/Absentee Shawnee). Harjo is a visual artist and a distinguished alumnus of Oklahoma State University. Two of his paintings, Twins of Flight and I Could Have Been a Peacock will be used by Christus Health Plan (an Indian Market sponsor) to create two 11x17 promotional posters that they will give away during Market.

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Twins of Flight will also be the featured art on commemorative T-shirts, and I Could Have Been a Peacock will be featured on collector tote-bags. Both of these items, along with many others, will be sold at the Indian Market merchandise booths on the Plaza and at the Convention Center.

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“Being recognized by SWAIA as the 2016 poster artists was a great surprise. I feel very honored and thank the selection committee for their support of all our artistic endeavors,” said Ben Harjo Jr.

This year’s four Youth category Fellowship winners are Sam Slater (Navajo), Gracie Aragon (Acoma Pueblo), Jordyn Atencio (Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo) and Apaolo Benally (Navajo).

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SWAIA Youth Fellowships are intended to help promising young artists with the purchase of supplies or research projects to assist them in enhancing their skills. Youth receive a monetary award of $500. They must be 18 or under at time of Market, and must already plan to attend with an adult.

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“Since 1980, the Fellowship Program has afforded us the opportunity to recognize and support both emerging and established Native artists,” said SWAIA’s Chief Operating Officer Dallin Maybee.

Follow ICTMN’s Arts and Entertainment, Pow Wow’s and Sports Editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling