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Change Labs Opens Artist ‘Rezidency’ Opportunities to Native Visual Artists

Construction is underway on Change Labs, the 4,000-square-foot entrepreneurship and co-working space coming to the Navajo Nation in Tuba City, Arizona, in early 2020. While that’s in progress, the business accelerator will open Change Labs Studio, a way to jumpstart the Change Labs community while they’re waiting on their forthcoming hub. This 600-square-foot “studio” will debut on the Hopi side of Tuba City in April.

A new cohort of entrepreneurs and artists in “rezidency” will begin their training in July 2019, working from the studio space in Tuba.

This week, Change Labs has announced that it’s now accepting applications for its inaugural “Artist Rezidency” program.

Over the past four years, the virtual version of Change Labs has engaged Navajo and Hopi artists by hiring them to design marketing materials for local indigenous entrepreneurs.

Now that Change Labs has a home, it’s making its Artist Rezidency program official.

RELATED: Change Labs, a Silicon Valley-Style Co-working Space & Business Incubator, Is Coming to Tuba City on the Navajo Nation

From now until April 26, 2019, Change Labs is accepting applications for its inaugural “Artist Rezidency” program in Tuba City, Arizona. All practicing Native American visual artists over the age of 18 are eligible to apply for this unique 1-year rezidency program. The selected rezident artist will receive:

  • 48 hours of entrepreneurial training and ongoing business counseling
  • 100-square-foot studio space in Tuba City throughout the rezidency
  • Up to $5,000 in art supplies
  • $40,000 stipend 

Heather Fleming, Navajo, Change Labs Co-founder

Change Labs is an organization that supports and enables Native entrepreneurs starting businesses on Tribal lands. Many Native entrepreneurs across the Navajo and Hopi nations struggle with the day-to-day tasks of operating and growing a small business. In addition to the lack of infrastructure, many small businesses lack marketing collateral such as a business logo, business cards, a web presence, or professional signage. In response, Change Labs seeks visual artists who want to use their artist talents to benefit tribal communities by:

  • Supporting a small group of Native American startups with their creative expression and marketing collateral
  • Creating one public artwork that illustrates the intersection of entrepreneurship and Native American culture

The inaugural Change Labs Artist Rezidency Program is in partnership with Catapult Design and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and is one of 60 NEA “Our Town” grants awards supporting projects across the nation. “The variety and quality of these “Our Town” projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”

Jessica Stago, director of business incubation at Change Labs

Jessica Stago, director of business incubation at Change Labs, added: “Native artists create signs for entrepreneurs in our program, help them refine their logo or craft a business card. These seemingly small activities make the world of difference for our business owners. Some entrepreneurs tell me that seeing their new logo or sign is the first time they actually feel like a small business owner. Instilling pride in our people and helping them reach more customers is critical and this inaugural program is an opportunity to build on the relationship between Native artists and small business owners in our communities.”

The deadline for applications is Friday, April 26, 2019. Applications will be accepted online through the Change Labs website or via email. For more information and to access program guidelines and application, visit https://nativestartup.org/rezidency.

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