Updated: May 19, 2021 06:25 PM
Created: May 19, 2021 03:57 PM
Not only has AICHO been dubbed a "regional cultural treasure," but the organization is being awarded $500,000 to continue its work.
This week, the McKnight Foundation announced Duluth's American Indian Community Housing Organization is one of 10 Minnesota recipients of a $12.6 million initiative to "honor organizations that have made a significant impact on our cultural landscape over decades."
AICHO's former Cultural Arts Coordinator Moira Villiard said the grant was a total surprise, but she said it will be in good hands.
"It's interesting to just look back on the last 10 years that the arts program has existed here," Villiard said. "I think this building opened up in around 2012, and the amount of change and transformation that's happened for ... Native artists' lives in this region because of this space has been just incredible."
Villiard hopes it will give the organization some breathing room and allow it to emerge from the pandemic more financially stable.
"AICHO's always been putting a lot of money into supporting artists and in sometimes really unconventional ways. When I got connected to AICHO as a teenager, they paid to frame all of my artwork at my first ever art show. And that's a level of detail that is kind of above and beyond," she said.
AICHO staff and the board have not decided exactly how the money will be spent yet, but the grant is unrestricted and will be distributed over the next five years or more, according to the McKnight Foundation.
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