RESIDENCY WITH AGUA CALIENTE BAND OF CAHUILLA INDIANS, Palm Springs

MISSION: The goal of this residency program is to create awareness and to make relevant the history and culture of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and other Cahuilla peoples through the lens of contemporary art creation. 

OVERVIEW: With indigenous communities dissipating into a swelling technology-driven world, it is the responsibility of the culturally aware to preserve and to document that which would otherwise be an overlooked community. We want to focus on the small local communities, to learn about them and attempt to document their rich traditions through an exhibition of artworks created by artists that have directly experienced the community. Our current undertaking focuses on the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians whom we are collaborating closely with in a joint effort to benefit its native community and to push the limits of contemporary art practices. 

The Residency Program would allow for a carefully selected artist to create an interpretive body of work that would reflect upon his/her residency within Agua Caliente country for a one-month period. In order to qualify for the residency, the artist must have good visibility in the contemporary art world and with minimal amount of prior knowledge pertaining the native group. By prioritizing artistic intuition, we could ensure a lucid and engaged dialogue between artist and muse. While this may seem counterintuitive, it is crucial that the resulting body of work is visceral and created through a contemporary lens in order to evolve an art practice that can be sustained into the future. 

The funds that would be rewarded to our project would go towards financing the artist’s residency and for the cost of artist and exhibition materials. Any revenue that is accrued from the sales of the artwork would benefit local charities such as the Palm Springs Animal Shelter. When the project is seen to completion, within one year we will be able to generate widespread interest for the Agua Caliente Tribe and promote growth by highlighting the integrity of the community’s cultural traditions. This is a project that is as innovative as it is vital for the preservation of the unique indigenous peoples and the sustainability for their cultural ingenuity. 

ABOUT THE TRIBE: As a sovereign federally recognized tribal government, the Agua Caliente Tribe has resided in the Palm Springs, California region since 1896 and currently serves over 400 members within 31,500 acres of ancestral land. However, with an increasing urbanizing force from the west, the Tribe faces the challenge of conserving their cultural fabric. All dialects of the Cahuilla language, for example, have been extinct since 2008 when the last native speaker had passed. Immediate action is necessary during this delicate moment of transformation. For this project, we are collaborating with tribe member Bob and his wife Jackie Preckwinkle to move forward in our efforts. 

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