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One of the Ai Weiwei-designed buildings at the Forge Project, where Forge Fellows will work.
One of the Ai Weiwei-designed buildings at the Forge Project, where Forge Fellows will work.

Forge Project Announces Inaugural Residencies in Support of Indigenous Artists

The Forge Project, a new, Hudson Valley, New York–based initiative aimed at supporting Indigenous artists, has awarded its first fellowships to four Indigenous creators. Architect Chris T. Cornelius, artist and filmmaker Sky Hopinka, ecologist and writer Jasmine Neosh, and language preservationist Brock Schreiber will each receive $25,000 and a studio residency of varying duration. 

Founded by philanthropist Becky Gochman with executive director Candice Hopkins, who is a citizen of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, director of education Heather Bruegl, a Stockbridge-Munsee descendent and member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, and Zach Feuer, the Forge Project is meant to serve as “a point of influence for the broader art world.” In addition to the fellowships, which are solely funded by Gochman, the initiative will offer educational programs aimed at fostering dialogue about decolonization. The Forge Project is also putting together a collection of works by Native American artists, of which it has amassed about one hundred to date, in an attempt to address disparities related to the representation of Indigenous artists.

“There’s a great imbalance between how works by Native artists are valued versus works by non-Native artists, and many Native artists don’t even have gallery representation,” noted Hopkins. “Part of what Forge can do through the collection is try to address that gap in value, make their work more public and give Native artists their due.”

Of note, the artist residencies are to take place in a modular guesthouse in Taghkanic, New York, that was designed by Ai Weiwei in 2006 for art collector Christopher Tsai, along with the nearby main house, which contains spacious art galleries that will house the project’s newly acquired Indigenous art collection. The compound’s structures, made of metal and occupying thirty-seven bucolic acres, are the only ones designed by the Chinese artist/activist in the United States.