Seeking New Leadership
October 18 2023
When I last wrote over a year and a half ago, Seven Fires Art was embarking on a couple of very exciting projects on the Pine Ridge reservation: Opening an office, and supporting the development of the Stronghold Gallery and Art Center. I won’t mince words. Doing business on the reservation is very difficult. Neither project panned out. I’d be glad to share more information about what happened with anyone who inquires.
And so, as has happened many times in the history of the nonprofit, my focus returned to the website as the single most efficient way to benefit the most artists, and the reality is, that despite the setbacks, there is more momentum than ever!
Now with the following assets and more, Seven Fires Art is brimming with possibilities for the future:
well-established online presence and store
over 3000 followers on social media
growing list of customers and supporters
more artists served
new ways of bringing income to artists
greater connections with state and local agencies
sales and payments to artists steadily increasing
solid history as a South Dakota-based 501c3 corporation since 2013
However, after having done nearly all the work myself all these years, I am significantly burned out, eager to pursue other interests - and even if I wanted to, this thing has grown to be more than I can manage alone! And so it is time to find another organization or group of individuals willing to take on the Seven Fires Art Mission!
Ideally, the group to merge with Seven Fires Art would be a Native-run organization with a similar focus and mission.
Having had some experience with churches that try to do good on the reservation, I also think it would be a great opportunity for a larger church to take an alternative and significant approach to helping.
Another possibility is that a team of professional individuals located anywhere in the country could do it, since most of the work is already done virtually (except the physical inventory really requires that product photography, inventory, and order fulfillment all be in the same location).
Seven FIres Art has a proven model of generating an additional stream of earned income for Indigenous artists and assisting with their art businesses. In the right hands, Seven Fires Art might become something similar to the successful online shop for the Southwest Indian Foundation.
I am not a business person. If I can bring the nonprofit this far, I know that a group of ten volunteers who know what they’re doing could do great things!
Here is a link to an outline of the jobs required to fulfill our current Mission. I invite you to consider how you might contribute and I welcome your input!
If you know of a Native-run or other organziation whose mission coincides with ours, or if you think you might be the person to assemble the group to continue the mission, or if you'd just like to discuss this further, please give me a call at 515 231-8192 or email Natalie@SevenFiresArt.com.
I am grateful for the experience and for the opportunity to serve the Oyate. I am grateful for each one of you, our wonderful customers and supporters! And I hope together we can build on the momentum and find the best path forward!