Heritage Center is a space for change... literally

Spring 2011 Red Cloud Country

A $100,000 grant from Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), a partner of the Ford Foundation, will allow The Heritage Center to plan for programmatic enhancements and modifications to its historic building, all while strengthening its relationship with the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The Center was among 12 grantees out of 700 applicants nationwide whose projects were selected by LINC.

LINC’s Space for Change program provides organizations with funds to do the critical planning necessary to turn an ordinary artistic space into a living, breathing facility. Risë Wilson, program manager at LINC, says the projects that proved outstanding were rooted not only in the internal needs of the organization, but also took into account the role of the cultural facility as an essential community asset.

“This was definitely present in The Heritage Center’s proposal.”

Wilson also notes the program is about much more than providing funding support—it offers a range of opportunities for peer-to-peer learning by connecting artists and organizations.

Just off the heels of a comprehensive cataloguing of its collection of contemporary Native art and historical Lakota art, The Heritage Center will leverage the grant to evaluate and plan for programmatic enhancements and modifications to the historic building it calls home. The Center will address expanding and creating artist work and performance spaces, and specific environmental controls to better protect and display its irreplaceable artwork, an incalculable loss to the nation’s heritage if not properly preserved.

Creating a physical location suitable to archive these cultural treasures is a critical priority, notes Peter Strong, director of The Heritage Center. The program will also help grantees plan methodically and create more than just buildings, but dynamic engines of culture and change, says Judilee Reed, executive director at LINC.

“These grants invest in the vision of compelling projects that will ultimately benefit not just artists, but a larger geographic community as well,” she says.

And that’s the goal, says Strong.

“It is a special opportunity for our organization to continue to strengthen our relationship with the Pine Ridge Reservation, actively engaging the local Lakota community in programs that foster cultural, artistic awareness, appreciation and economic development,” he says.