UCROSS – Ucross, the artist residency program in northern Wyoming, recently welcomed recipients of the Spring 2022 Fellowships for Native American Visual Artists and Writers. Acclaimed visual artist Savannah LeCornu and former Montana Co-Poet Laureate ML Smoker will be in residence for the next two weeks, receiving uninterrupted time and space on Ucross’s 20,000-acre ranch at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains.
LeCornu is a visual artist and theater maker originally from Ketchikan, Alaska who resides in Bellingham, WA. She is part of the Tsimshian (Wolf Clan), Haida, Athabascan and Nez Percé tribes and the Nisga’a First Nations. LeCornu draws and paints primarily in traditional and digital formats; his art is centered on the depiction of indigenous peoples and art forms.
A poet, Smoker is Nakoda, Dakota, and Lakota from the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana. She was the Montana State Co-Poet Laureate from 2019-2021, alongside Ucross alumnus Melissa Kwasny. In 2021, Smoker was named a Fellow of the Academy of American Poets.
As part of their Ucross scholarships, LeCornu and Smoker will each receive a residency that includes a studio, lodging and meals by a professional chef. Ucross will also award each artist a $2,000 prize and a stipend to cover travel costs, as well as the opportunity to showcase their work publicly.
LeCornu’s work will be featured in a future exhibition at the Ucross Art Gallery. Smoker has already presented his work.
On March 25, she gave a reading at a reception dedicated to Ucross Uninterrupted at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Presented every two years, the awards represent Ucross’ commitment to supporting contemporary Native American art and voices.
“We are thrilled to welcome Savannah LeCornu and ML Smoker to our ranch and facilities, and we are honored to provide them with uninterrupted time and space to focus on their creative work,” said the Ucross President. , William Belcher.
LeCornu is best known for her “Still Here” series, which highlights the perseverance of contemporary Indigenous peoples, as well as her “Indigenize series”, which returns Indigenous names to stolen lands.
Smoker’s first book of poetry, “Another Attempt at Rescue”, was published by Hanging Loose Press in 2005. In 2009, she co-edited an anthology of human rights poetry with Kwasny titled “I Go to the Ruined Place”. She received a regional Emmy Award for her work as a writer/consultant on the PBS documentary “Indian Relay.” A children’s graphic novel she co-wrote will be released in late April.
In 2022 and 2023, recipients of the Ucross Fellowship for Native American Visual Artists and Writers are supported, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The next call for applications for the Ucross Native American Fellowships for Visual Artists and Writers opens June 1.