The Story: Ancient Traders Gallery, located on Franklin Avenue, is closing, according to gallery manager Heid Erdrich. The Gallery was established in 1999 and has been housed since its inception in the Ancient Traders Market building run by Great Neighborhoods Development Corporation. Erdrich said that the Mitakuye Oyasin (All My Relations) Native Arts Programming will continue in a new location.
What’s at Stake: Some critics claim that Great Neighborhoods, which was formerly called American Indian Neighborhood Development Corporation, has been moving away from Native programs for a few years. Others say that the move was a necessary step in light of today’s economy.
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UPDATE: from Heid Erdrich, Director/Curator, All My Relations Arts
While I can’t speak for GNDC, I can say that All My Relations Arts’ staff and volunteer advisory board members have welcomed this move. It was not unanticipated; with the support of GNDC, we have been building our independence in the hope that we would find an appropriate parent organization to which All My Relations Arts would be an asset. With the support of our funders, and the board of GNDC, we have made a terrific match with the Native American Community Development Institute.
Our ArtsLab partnership, begun in 2008, centers on building our organizational capacity to just such a point and just such independence.
We see this as a positive move and one that will only increase our ability to forge our identity as an American Indian arts program while continuing to honor our mission.
All My Relations Arts of NACDI will continue to provide quality arts programming and educational arts experiences for the neighborhood and for everyone. Our next exhibit, Original Green, begins at Mill City Museum in May and will also be exhibited in Phillips at a location TBA in late 2010 or early 2011.
UPDATE Jan 28, 2010
Here’s an article by Steve Brandt at the Star Tribune about the controversey that occurred when American Indian Business Development Corporation (AIBDC) renamed their organization to Great Neighborhoods Development Corporation in 2008. “There’s been mission shift, mission shift,” quotes Brandt of Kelly Morgan, a Native American woman who organized meetings at the time criticizing the shift in focus away from its Native roots.